I’ve been thinking a lot about what we learned about being strong and keeping a fighting spirit in the last couple months of Julia’s life. What is the difference between giving up in discouragement and despair on one hand, and, on the other, quiet, trusting acceptance of what God allows and what He gives?
Together, as losses piled up on top of one another, Julia and I plumbed the depths of God’s truth on the subject:
“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’ But you were unwilling…Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.Isaiah 30:15-18 (ESV)
The LORD God’s strength is poured into those willing to be still with Him in the testing – actively repenting of selfish concerns, fully surrendered to His will, quietly trusting in His sufficiency. To be strong and courageous with a never-say-die attitude and vigorous action is all fine and good until the enemy is up close and towers above you with dark, demonic hatred.
When David faced Goliath, he wore no man-made armor. “There was no sword in the hand of David.” (cf. 1 Samuel 17:32-50)
In these last few months, Julia, Jennifer, and I had no sword in our hand great enough to slay the giants we faced because of IPF. We only possessed a spiritual gift – trust in our heart toward God. It was GOD who slew the giant of fear with faith in Him and His promises. It was GOD who slew the giant of desperate longing for life with His everlasting promises. WE couldn’t and didn’t slay the giants before us, but God did. We grew to be still and content as we waited upon Him to release Julia from her suffering and bring glory to His name.
We learned through these last few months that the miracle of strength to face our Goliath was found in only one place: in quietness and trust.
The miracle is not that David’s stone found its mark and killed Goliath, but that David first fully surrendered to God. Without that greater miracle of surrender what God did next could never have happened. The miracle in time and space when giants fall is always preceded by full surrender to God.
Had David been stomped into the ground by the giant, he still would have been a winner because unlike all the other combatants who represented Yahweh, only he stood still and faced the giant in quietness and trust, going out in the name of LORD. Why do we imagine David yelled and blustered against the giant with bravado? Why do we equate courage with fighting and not quietness? God so clearly says the courage is born in quietness and trust in His holy name, not in our shining armor or clamoring bravado.