Daily Reflection

“His silence was part of the rescue…” (Lysa Terkeurst)

I read a devotional last week that was about a woman (Lysa Terkeurst) who woke up one morning with her insides feeling as if knives were mercilessly carving their way through them. She was rushed to the hospital immediately and being a devout follower of God, she began crying out for the pain to be taken away. It wasn’t and not for five excruciatingly long days. During each of them, she wondered where God was, wondered if God even saw what she was going through, and wondered whether God even cared. Eventually, the doctors ran one final test after finding nothing in any of the previous ones and discovered that the right side of her colon had ripped away from the abdominal wall and twisted around the left side. It had been in danger of rupturing and if it had, she would have gotten the relief she sought, but at the same time, that relief would have been an illusion, as her body would have turned septic and led to a quick death. When the emergency surgery was completed shortly thereafter the discovery of the source of her pain, the surgeon told her that the cells in her colon were already in a state of autolysis, which is where the brain has signaled the body to start self-digesting itself. In other words, it was in a decomposition state and what happens when one dies. Basically, she couldn’t have gotten any closer to death and the incredible pain she went through was what saved her life in the end. Had God answered her prayer and taken all her pain away, she most likely would have gone home, her colon would have ruptured there, her body would have turned septic and she would have died.

I found great inspiration from Lysa’s story. While I’ve never dealt with her level of pain that was great enough to warrant an immediate visit to the hospital, I have known pain to a level that has made my life a living hell. There have been countless days over the years I’ve suffered from it, where I have cried out to God, asking for it to be removed, only to receive silence over and over and over again. But maybe there has been a reason beyond my understanding for this? Maybe God’s silence has been part of my own rescue? While the circumstances may indeed be very different in regards to Lysa’s story and mine, I have been told more times than I can count from various practitioners, teachers, seers, gurus, and guides that the pain I’ve been experiencing is actually my body healing itself. For as much as that has been hard to believe and accept, something deep within me has told me to keep on trusting in that, even when I awake on most days, wishing for an imminent death. Living with chronic pain and not feeling like God has been answering my prayers or even listening to me, has led to an incredible test of faith, one that I honestly don’t know how I’ve lasted this long. Yet, I have. And somehow, I keep on believing that maybe, just maybe, God’s silence on the removal of my pain and suffering for all this time, has merely been to continue driving me on the path I’ve been on for healing. One that is bringing a much deeper healing from within, and one that will lead to a resolution that only God has seen will achieve the very end result that would never have been possible if God had answered any of my many cries for it all to be taken away.

Dear Lord, I struggle immensely every day now to keep going. With no relief in sight and no tangible answers to my pleas for relief, I have wrestled with my faith and wondered if You even care. Yet, I choose to keep on believing and to keep on trusting, that maybe, just maybe, your silence has been part of my rescue, and for that I only pray for the strength to not give up on You or this healing. Amen.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Daily Reflection

“There once was a little plant that was small and whose growth was stunted, for it lived under the shade of a giant oak tree. The little plant valued the shade that covered it and highly regarded the quiet rest that its noble friend provided. Yet there was a greater blessing prepared for this little plant. One day a woodsman entered the forest with a sharp ax and felled the giant oak. The little plant began to weep, crying out, “My shelter has been taken away. Now every fierce wind will blow on me, and every storm will seek to uproot me!” The guardian angel of the little plant responded, “No! Now the sun will shine and showers will fall on you more abundantly than ever before. Now your stunted form will spring up into loveliness, and your flowers, which could never have grown to full perfection in the shade, will laugh in the sunshine. And people in amazement will say, “Look how that plant has grown! How gloriously beautifully it has become by removing that which was its shade and its delight!”

Today’s short parable was taken from a page in the “Streams In The Desert” devotional and is one that I can definitely relate to. For most of my life, I had plenty of things shading me from the harsh realities of this world. From once having an abundance of money, great health, close friends, Higher Power guidance, and deep support from spiritual teachers, my life has been entirely stripped of most of them now and become devoid of all that I once thought was needed to keep protecting me in my own shade of life.

Yet, somewhere in my depths is a similar belief like this parable, in that maybe each of those things were stripped from my life to help me grow stronger, to blossom more in the long run, and to become all that which God always intended me to become. It’s a hard thought I know, and one that I must step out in faith every day, as of late, to keep believing in, given how much I feel the world seems to be scorching me these days. But, in the end, I believe that my faith and belief in the meaning of this parable will deepen my spiritual roots and brighten my spiritual blooms to a level I’ve never known and that alone helps to keep me going, one day at a time.

Dear Lord, I may not understand why all the things I once thought protected me have been stripped away from my life. Yet, who am I to question Your actions? Because in the end, I have faith that maybe it is in all those things you have been stripping away, that were necessary to remove to help me become a beacon of Light for You. May I continue to trust in You God, no matter how much I may be feeling exposed to the harsh realities of this world.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Daily Reflection

“Man says, ‘Show me, and I’ll trust you.’ God says, ‘Trust me and I’ll show you.’” (Jeanette Zahler)

Haven’t we all at some point wanted that burning bush type of experience to prove that God exists? Well I sure have, especially as of late, given how great my pain and suffering has become. I mean, who wouldn’t want to walk by a bush suddenly and see it burst into flames, and then abruptly hear a calming voice that brings a level of peace and knowingness within them that has probably never been felt whatsoever in their waking life?

While I’ve never heard of anyone having this type of experience as of yet, I can say I’ve felt the presence of God in other ways in my past and when it’s happened, I really have felt a level of peace that’s hard to describe. And man, would I love to feel something like that these days. It’s been more than a year now without any real sense of connection to God, which has left me feeling a vast emptiness deep within and an ache I wish I could make go away.

I continue to want God to show up in some way, shape, or form in my life, just to reassure me that He’s still there and that everything is going to be ok, because I feel so afraid of what’s going on within me now. But is that true faith? As I’ve read that having true faith is trusting in God, even in the absence of all signs of His presence. The reality is that what I used to call faith was relatively conditional. You see, I used to have what I thought was faith when signs kept coming my way, when life felt grand, when my health didn’t feel upside down, when money was coming in, and when my biggest worries were pretty trivial in nature.

But, ever since my suffering has become as intense as it has, when it went from days, to weeks, to months, and then to years, when communication from God fell silent and all attempts to reach Him have gone unanswered, that great faith I thought I had was nowhere to be found. Believe me, I’d love to have some miraculous sign occur in my life right now to prove that God is still with me, but I know to have a deeper faith, one that is unshakeable, no matter what my circumstances, I must keep on believing, even when everything points to believing otherwise.

Ultimately, I think it comes down to fully trusting God, EVEN when life feels like it’s at its darkest, EVEN when all signs of God’s presence have seemingly disappeared, and EVEN when suffering feels like it’s at its greatest, because maybe it’s in those moments where true faith blossoms and when the true face of God can appear and be appreciated at one’s very core.

Dear God, my faith has wavered quite a bit as of late. With life often feeling so very dark for me, I’ve questioned Your very existence. I pray that You may help me keep the faith in You, even in these darkest of moments, so that when You bring me out of it once and for all and back into the Light, I may never question Your presence again.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson