Good morning, Beloved Family,
Your letter blessed me this morning “Lonny.” Not because of the extreme health problems you face, but your resolve to stand fast in the face of them. I have often thought that death is no threat, but dying can be a real pain in the ass. It is struggling with a failing, damaged or defective body that is the trial, not slipping away to be with the Lord; at least for those of us who cling to the Blessed Hope: our Lord Jesus and His promises to spare us from the wrath to come.
I have been very sad since “Naomi” said “Goodbye” two or three days ago. The initiative was completely hers. We made no demands on her except that I believe God led both you and me to confront her on her unbelief. We do our brothers and sisters in Christ no favors if we let them struggle along in bitterness and unbelief.
When someone complains of some problem, whether it’s a health problem or a broken toilet, we are not wired to just respond by patting their hand and saying, “There, there, poor sweet baby.” Guys respond with solutions to those problems. The problem in this case presented two major obstacles to a solution though: her unbelief and her bitterness. I say this as someone who recognized it because I have been there. I am a saint by the power of God, not because of anything that dwells within my flesh.
Bitterness is a poison, one specifically warned about by Paul as posing a threat to an entire body of believers. Not to judge her, but I know Naomi clings to hers. She told me that her mother is very bitter, yet Naomi remains closely bonded to her. The Lord led me to leave my own 94yo mother and extended family in the rear-view mirror because they refuse to walk with God. I suggested nothing to Naomi that God had not already done in my own life.
Over the many months that I have known Naomi, I have gleaned one detail after another, and the Lord has shown me much about her. She clings to her very bitter mother, and has no lack of bitterness in her own heart as she blames God for her bad marriage, every bad thing that ever happened to her in her life, her bad health, and her daughter “Katy’s” prolonged illness and death.
Because of her bitterness against God, she misses out on many of His blessings. She lives in misery, but justifies this by a single passage out of Ecclesiastes that she has twisted beyond recognition. Solomon essentially wrote a line, ‘with much knowledge comes sorrow’, that equates to ‘ignorance is bliss.’ Naomi claims she prayed for ‘special knowledge’ from God that no one else has and that is what makes her so fricking miserable; that special knowledge.
This (according to her) is the reason that the promised fruit of the Spirit, which includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control does not apply to her. She’s a special case and she even put out a fleece to prove that her misery was the result of Satan’s assaults, not God’s dealings. Apparently Satan has considerably greater leeway in attacking her than he did Job.
With this recent down-turn in her health, her cries of distress were inevitable and so, led by the Lord, I set out to address her unbelief and bitterness, and help to free her to walk in newness of spirit and in the joy of the Lord. Time is running out and the Lord said it was time for her to surrender her heart in faith. There was no “or else” in this leading. I had no intention at all of cutting off our relationship. There is no rancor coming from this direction.
In trying to free her, I only pissed her off…again. She has been fighting me over the joy of the Lord for months. I pray it was seed sown and that she will return to us, but for now, the Lord has directed me to stand back and let Him work. We may not hear from her again. That is between her and God.
Enough on that subject. Time is running short, the entire planet is marching inexorably toward the Tribulation and it is more important than ever for us to keep our focus on Jesus. What amazing days we are seeing!
“Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; 2 through whom we also have our access by faith into this grace in which we stand. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only this, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope: 5 and hope doesn’t disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5: 1-5 WEB
This is how we can walk with God, filled with joy, even in these dark days. We love you. In Christ, Jerry