Saturday, January 9, 2010

pressing on toward the goal...

I am following Natalie's progress, Andrew's progress, Keller Boys, David, Brandon, and some others that have asked us to pray. Some of sent it to pass on to those in Jake's community...some that ask me to just pray. Honestly to be asked to pray is such a privilege, isn't it? Yet I feel so inadequate in my prayer life. I feel so unworthy and so selfish walking into the presence of God and saying - here you go do this. For so long I have seen prayer more as just fellowship with God, spending time with him. And frankly I really do not thing I have done that great a job of it. Yet in the midst of the shadow of death, fearing evil, I cried out to God and begged for mercy, for healing, for Jacob to be healed.

I am realizing that it is not enough for me to get on my computer and just follow the progress of my friends for that keeps them as virtual. I want to physically be transported into the hospital room and pour my heart out to God. Now I do not really need to do that - by the nature of God - it is up to me to enter the presence of God with that very passion that same heart that I prayed with in the bathroom at Valley Medical Center in San Jose is available here and now. I can pray for David in Idaho, Natalie in Southern Cal, the Keller's in San Francisco... So amazing that we have a God who hears our hearts, knows our passion, and loves our prayers.
Perhaps my prayer first should be that I have more passion. Not just a desire but a broken heart of surrender that pleads with God for what is on my heart and that I sense is on his heart - healing is very close to the heart of God.
Paul from prison shared share his passion this way...
"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his suffering, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all of this, or have been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ took hold of me."
Even in the midst of suffering and uncertainty going on around him Paul desperately sought knowing Christ. He was mesmerized by the power that was unleashed in the Messiah rising from the dead. He knew that suffering was more than just an individual drama but it held a fellowship - a common bond - that connected us to Christ. Paul made this weird statement that is I think easy to glance over but is highly, dreadfully deep. Living our lives in a way that sees the spiritual connection of suffering and the power of resurrection, radically transforms us.
Jacob will never, ever be exactly the same. What happened to him - his near death experience - changed him. He has scars and wounds that will heal but that alter him physically. The choices he will have in life will now be made in the context of an altered body. We are still waiting, watching, working through rehab to but it also affects him mentally and spiritually. Each time I read other's journals I relate to what we have and are going through this Jake. There is fellowship in suffering - a common bond - a relationship because of the shaping of character.

Okay here we go - Paul next says this: "I take hold of that which Christ took hold of me." There is a correlation between suffering and taking hold of Christ. Not just because we cling to God in the foxhole begging to be spared from death but because Jesus, the Son of God when through tremendous suffering to the point of death on a cross (see Phil 2) and in complete humility took on suffering and then demonstrated the power of God through resurrection - not just to say God is more powerful - but to establish this ability for forgiveness of our sins. The suffering ushers in redemption.
The suffering or tragedy has the power to take hold of us and change us. We choose if that is going to draw us closer to God or away from him. Even now in this midst of this long road of recovery - though we are not facing death - we are facing suffering - does it draw me closer to God - to the power of the resurrection?
A little further in Phil 3 Paul says: "forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
We are not done yet. Thanks for hanging with us and for praying for Jacob and so many others in the fellowship of suffering.
Tom (daddy)


Tim Aagard said...

I want to to thank you and your family for the persevering work you are putting into this blog that calls God's people to step on the gas of their spiritual lives in prayer for those around us who are suffering and experiencing trials. Most of us have prayer habits that are weak. There are very few true prayer warriors. We have all heard 50+ sermons on prayer. We know all the prayer scriptures. We have lots of prayer information. What I think is missing is few believers have heart to heart connections with those who are setting the example in strong prayer habits. The system is set up for pews and expert driven one-way communication. There is very little example driven teaching going on, but here on this blog it's happening, complete with honest struggle throughout the process. I don't think most saints realize the modeling that is going on here. The purpose of the modeling is for the rest of us to follow the example. The goal of your work is not to warm our hearts and feel blessed. It's for reproducing the work of Christ into our habit patterns. I know you are looking for changing lives. Change doesn't happen unless we throw off the things that are hindering it. Heb. 12:1 We can't run with the same habit patterns that have only allowed us to crawl or stroll. I was quite shocked when God showed me what was "hindering" me from running and keeping my heart preoccupied with comfort zone enhancement. Keep going in what you are doing here. The saints need this far more than they need more lectures on prayer, particularly if we grow in our willingness to offer a personal word of response to your example driven lessons. Our God is a two-way communication God. He never communicates one-way. He is always eagerly looking for a response from us. That's the way it is designed for us believers as well. The little box is aways here on this blog for God's people to respond from hearts growing in faith.

Saints - Is your prayer life increasing from the modeling done here? Give the teachers some response on what you are learning.

Mari said...

I agree that this experience of a tragedy involving someone so dear to us, and the diligence of you leading us all daily through the blog as to how to pray each day, and the modeling of your whole family with such transparent honesty, and the strength of the community together... has really taken my prayer life to a whole new level! When Jake was still in a coma and his life so uncertain, we were on our knees day & night pleading for his life along with so many others. As we were led to pray and saw miracles unfolding, it caused my faith (which I thought was already really strong) to continually increase and urge me on to pray with even more boldness & perserverence. As the news spread to friends & family all over the country & world, and our community of prayer grew, the bond became so strong and God's presence so real & evident that I knew I was understanding first hand the meaning of the power of prayer! I can truthfully say that I now can pray for others, like those you have been posting who I don't know personally, with that same fervent faith because of what I have learned through this experience & your purposeful & transparent leading & modeling through this blog. So THANK YOU SO MUCH Tom & Debbie & family for perservering in posting this blog & continuing to lead us in truth & how to pray for each step along Jacob's journey, and also in stretching us outward to others you post in need of our prayers too! You have taught us so much & blessed us, and we sincerely love & appreciate you!