“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27. This is the peace that Jesus can give.
my friend Jenny, … she has this peace.
Though unexpectedly, in one day 5 1/2 years ago, for some unknown reason, (not sure exact causes, virus of the spine, etc.) she became paralyzed from the neck down.
Jenny has peace, even though she has a tracheotomy and needs help with breathing, thus making communication difficult,
And even now, Jenny still has peace, even though – unable to be home, around her family and her girls, because of need of a new home health care rotation and provision for it, she has been in a hospital for 9 weeks!
AND being in a hospital, brings on multiplied complications, so Jenny now has issues with excess fluids from simply being in a bed, unable to get in her ‘chair’ and move more. Just last night, Jenny had to be rushed to ICU for a procedure to clear out the fluids.
DESPITE ALL OF THAT, not to mention the fact that if she is cold, she cannot pull a blanket up, or if she is thirsty she cannot lift and take sip of water to her lips – despite all of that, (and I am a witness of this), Jenny has the peace of God!
She has a ‘peace of God, which surpasses all understanding’ (Phil 4:7). And especially, which surpasses all my understanding and the nurses and even the social workers who have been unable to help her to get home. Who make comments like, “I don’t know how she does it?” or “I almost broke out in tears, when I had more bad news for her, until I saw how well she is taking everything…”
Well, I know that it is God in her. But she doesn’t just KNOW God. She lives in His presence. It’s as if I am able to witness visuals of many truths about God and a life of faith, through her life! Through extreme affliction, this woman has spoken these words to me: “I consider it a privilege that God would choose me for this trial.” Now, that is a life of faith.
God has shown me so many ‘pictures’ of His truth in Jenny’s life:
For one, many of us know the story where Martha was having Jesus over and others, and she was busy and getting everything together, working hard; she was ‘distracted with much serving’ (Luke 10:40), and she approached Jesus and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42.
You see, Jenny is not busy, she is ‘with the Lord’ and He is ‘with her’. She ‘believes God’ and she is not ‘anxious for anything,’ unlike me. She has a peace that passes all understanding! When I ask, “Jenny, what can I do to help you get out of the hospital? Do you want me to make some calls, etc.” Jenny’s reply, “Just pray.”
So much has been taken away from Jenny, however, she has chosen to remain at the feet of Jesus and it will ‘not be taken away from her.’ God is showing me so much gentleness, as well. Jenny IS Phil 4:5:“Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.”
Gentleness is not an easy quality, especially when things aren’t going our way or when we need other people’s help. We are not always gentle. I have prayed for years, “Lord, help me be gentle! Help me be gentle in my responses with my kids and with my husband.” I am not ‘naturally’ gentle.
However, I must let the gentleness that comes from this woman be known to you! Her voice is quiet, it is gentle, and it is always expecting the work of the Lord! She always sees the Lord working for good even when things seem to be getting worse – from her perspective, she is encouraged and feels God is bringing her closer and closer to healing.
Jenny is Psalm 62:1, 5: “Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation… My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him, He only is my rock and my salvation; …” Her expectation is in God and in Him alone. I have prayed endless times, “Increase my faith!” Could God possibly have answered that prayer by giving me this special friend?
She is a picture of the sheep who knows her ‘Shepherd-King’s voice, as in John 10:3,4 when ‘the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” So much so, that when we were reading in Song of Solomon chapter 2, I mentioned that the maiden in the story reminded me of her. In the verses, the maiden was talking and said,
“My beloved spoke, and said to me: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, And come away. For lo, winter is past, The rain is over and gone, The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come…” Song of Sol. 2:10, 11, 12.
Jenny then told me that her name, ‘Jenny’ means ‘fair one’! These words were written for Jenny. “Rise up, my love, my fair one. For lo, winter is past…”
And, I believe these words are for me as well, and perhaps you: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, And come away. For lo, winter is past, the rain is over and gone…” How so many of us feel like our ‘winter’ has lasted forever, that the ‘rains’ of life never cease to pour. However, Jenny, whose very name means, ‘fair one’ believes with all hope, all expectancy. And her faith has helped increase mine and hopefully yours as well!
This verse has come alive to me, “But since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak…” (2 Cor. 4:13). Jenny spoke with faith, and now I believe with her and speak! And this is what I speak, simply the word of God, it says it all:
“Knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus,…For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many,
may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God!” ( 2 Cor. 4:14, 15. exclamation point mine!)
Yes, Thanksgiving is abounding in us even when the circumstances don’t change, because our God has poured out His grace to sustain us, His sufficient grace is now spread through the many, (that’s me and you) through this life who trusts God. I trust God with more fullness and have a more thankful heart, how about you? How can we not?
We can say together, “We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair…always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body….” 2 Cor. 4:8. But how much more so for Jenny.
Jenny continues to turn to the Lord in her not so ‘light affliction’ and in so doing she is a picture to many of us, of what a work of the Spirit looks like. There is no beauty in earthly standards, but there is a far exceeding beauty. We witness this truth,
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…” 2 Cor 4:16,17.
My response? And perhaps yours…
“we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Cor. 3:18.
All I can say is, “Dear Lord, Thank you for Jenny, and her willingness to wait on You and to trust You and hope in You. Have mercy on her Lord Jesus and heal her so she can walk right out of that hospital, never to need that chair again. And thank You for using her life to ‘spread Your grace through the many, causing thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God!’ We love You and thank You, in Jesus’ name, Alleluiah, Amen!”