Believing for Life in the face of death
A couple days ago, we celebrated the life of my three year old niece, Anna.
A week ago she took her last breath on earth and first breath in heaven. She is now enjoying the fullest life that anyone who follows Jesus will get to experience. I’m beyond thankful for the hope we have in Christ; we know that Anna is now free of all cancer and pain, and for that we are so thankful.
But our hearts ache… for two reasons.
The first is obvious… we miss her. Even though the separation is temporary, it hurts, and anyone who has experiences the loss of loved one knows what my brother, family and all of us are walking through right now. There will be so many small things that will remind us of her in the days and years to come; pray that grace comes to walk along side us as those memories come.
The second reason is because we long to walk in the fullness of what Jesus paid for on the cross — not just in the afterlife, but in this life. Many mistakenly accept everything that happens as God’s will, rather than understanding that God has given us authority to bring God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. Disease isn’t God’s plan; He is the author of life and abundance. While we lost this beautiful girl to cancer, we don’t have to settle for that as an acceptable or inevitable outcome. The Bible is full of God’s promise of life to those who would fully trust and rely on him. As believers, we don’t have to sit back and just take the attack of the enemy — we are given the authority, in Jesus name, to push back the kingdom of darkness
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. — 1 Corinthians 4:20
Too many Christians have chosen to settle for less than God has promised us. We don’t know why we didn’t see Anna raised from the dead when we prayed, but we do know that God has and does still do that in the era in which we live. What has happened in all of our hearts is a renewed passion to see God’s people live in the power of the Gospel that we profess. That’s not to say that we don’t in part, but I think that some parts of the Gospel are easier to walk in than others, and this area of healing and deliverance can be an untouched area of most individuals’ walk of faith. While we didn’t see Anna’s cancer get healed, I have prayed for people who have had messed up backs from multiple car accidents, and we’ve seen them stand up straight for the first time without pain! And I’ve seen people who were deaf begin to hear again in the name of Jesus! And there have been many other miraculous responses to the name of Jesus in prayer.
Don’t settle for the curse of sin, when Jesus gave us the promise of life.
Imagine how much more influential the Church, world-wide, could be if we didn’t just talk about past stories of God’s power, but created new stories for this generation to talk about?! New showcases of God’s glory and goodness? So, with that in mind, my prayer is the same as the great Apostle Paul prayed years ago…
17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms… — Ephesians 1:17-20
Also, I want to give a shout out to my brother and sister-in-law. Daniel and Heidi have walked through this season with their daughter with a determined faith and persistence to lay a hold of all God had. Now on the other side of this prayer that felt un-answered, Daniel and I were playing a few games of bocce ball and continuing the talk about the power of God and our determination to walk in the power of the faith we profess. Love you Daniel and Heidi; we’re praying for grace to cover you and guard your heart through this season. Praying God will bring his new mercy to you daily and at the right moments. Thanks for leading your family and thousands of others to boldly believe for life in the face of death. This is not the end, this is not final, we will see Anna again, and we will walk in the full life that Jesus came to give us.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. — John 10:10