In 2010 pain and her retinue visited my cute happy family. Just when we thought our boat was sailing smoothly a sudden storm hit our tribe. My Daddy was diagnosed with a rare nervous system disease, Motor Neuron Disease; a condition that affects the nerve cells and leads to a progressive weakening and degeneration of all the muscles in the body, which eventually affects the ability to breathe. Things happened so fast, yet in slow motion. After a bit, we watched my super Daddy go from limping to being carried, and finally to being paralyzed and permanently bed ridden.
He was put on a ventilator machine to supply oxygen directly into his trachea so apparently, his speech was impaired. Sometimes it took about 30 minutes to grasp what he was trying to communicate to us, at least to a minimal extent. The entire process was excruciatingly painful for every member of my family. We faith-fully prayed, fasted, held vigils, praised, called for the elders of the church to anoint him (James 5:14-16) and needless to say, we spent more than all we had on physicians. We cried to God to heal him, we “reminded” God and gave him our strong reasons (Isaiah 43:26). We would say to God, “Lord, He has spent He’s life as a Pastor and Minister of your Word, please remember his labour of love!” We followed every possible Word-Based healing principle, but it seemed like the more we laboured in prayers, the worse he got.
We thought we were going to come out of the storm in a few months, but 3 months turned to 6 months and 6 months turned to a year, and a year turned to 2years and a couple of months. We watched my daddy’s strength and life ebb away with every passing breath. He became a frail shadow of himself. While we gave him all the love and care we could, we saw the fight and pain in his eyes and the deep desire to get up to spend at least one more moment with his family. After a long, relentless and intense struggle, on the 4th of February 2012, my Daddy took his last breath into eternity to be with Jesus.
This is only a summary of what happened in this storm my family faced. I am not telling you in order for us to throw a pity party or compare tragic stories or pain. I may not have experienced half of what you have, but no matter what you have been through or are going through right now, pain is pain! a storm is a storm! and GOD is GOD! I am telling you from a place of wholeness and a desire to encourage you and share a few lessons God taught me and is teaching me from this experience. It would be awesome to tell you that it is all over now but that won’t be authentic. Till date, the ripple effects of the waves are still palpable in my family, but I am thankful because the Grace of God has been more palpable.
In my definition, tough trust, is when you trust something or someone absolutely or completely, beyond any shadow of doubt always and in every situation, even to death. Proverbs 3:5 tells us to trust in the Lord with all our heart. Sounds amazing! but in real life what does it look like? It is so easy to trust when the boat is sailing smoothly, and the sun is shining its pretty face on us. It is so easy to trust God when he says yes to all our requests and we have all we need. But when the going gets tough, God answers our prayers but this time, with a “No” or “Wait” and a storm hits our boat we become fearful, confused and disgruntled. Our trust which was once ride or die becomes feeble and vague. Just like the disciples in the boat on their way to ‘the other side’ we enter full panic mode (Luke 8:22-25). What happens to our profession and confession of faith and trust in times when It “seems” like God has forgotten us or Jesus is fast asleep? This is when tough trust comes to the rescue!
Tough trust is what makes us stand firm and courageous at the terrifying risk and danger of being roasted to death in a furnace. Tough trust is what makes us look into the eyes of “a Nebuchadnezzar” like the 3 Hebrew boys and say with boldness: “…O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18) Tough trust is what makes us declare the Words of Job without flinching: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…”(Job 13:15) Tough trust is what makes us say the words of Jesus when He travailed and groaned at Gethsemane with submission; “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42). Tough trust stems from a heart posture of Love and rest knowing that “God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished..” (Philippians 1:6)
Obviously, tough trust is strong meat! It is not for the flesh, babies or the feeble minded. “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14-KJV) During the storm I shared earlier, my mind was far below feeble. Just like everyone else, I believed strongly that God had healed my Daddy and the physical manifestation would come to pass. But at that time, my faith was small as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20).
Yes, mustard Faith is great and can move mountains! But sometimes, to scale through some tests, you need more than the usual minimum requirement.
Tough trust makes you hold on even when things do not turn out like you expected. Tough trust makes you go full circle without giving up on God. In the end when my Daddy passed on to Glory, I understand it was not easy and it was undoubtedly one of my most difficult moment, but rather than trust God through the pain, I got angry, gave up and walked away. I am thankful God was patient with me, healed me and restored me back to himself!
I may not know exactly what you may be currently walking through, but our heavenly Father knows and cares. Nothing you have gone through, are going through or would ever go through surprises Him. He is the Alpha and Omega! He told us in John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” In John 14:27, he says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Beloved, “Cast your cares upon the Lord, for he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7) You are more than a conqueror! (Romans 8:37)
In part 2 of this post, I would be delving deeper into more lessons I learnt from experience and also inspirations and wisdom God has taught me about building and maintaining tough trust. Until then, thank you for reading. I love you! Stay firm in the Father’s Love!