Part of the faith is accepting what the Lord chooses to have us go through.
And it just didn't set right. Something about it got me all twitchy. So I marked the email as read, and ruminated for a day.
The Lord doesn't choose to have us go through anything.
WE choose it.
Every last tiny bit of it.
He has a marvelous, wonderful, amazing and bounteous life planned for us . . . already created in the spirit . . . and it is up to us to choose to listen to and follow His will (as revealed to us directly through scripture and the Holy Ghost) to realize that plan in this world. Or, alternately, we can choose something that's not part of His amazing plan for us, and walk a path that's far beneath our privileges. In order to realize the good things God has in store, we have to turn towards Him, continually forsaking the things that aren't in alignment with His goodness and glory (a.k.a. repentance). We have to do as Romans 12:2 says:
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
. . . and allow the Holy Ghost to renew our minds (teach us His ways, character, and truth, removing veils of unbelief and incorrect thinking) so we can be transformed/transfigured into something more virtuous and glorified, one breakthrough at a time.
The trials and illnesses of this life are a consequence of the fall . . . and while that was necessary for the whole plan of happiness, that wasn't God's choice. It was Adam's & Eve's. And it's through the tutelage of the spirit, the revealing of personal revelation, that we learn what to do in order to allow us to walk in His best path for us.
We turn towards Jesus in humility. He comes and searches us out in our distress, in our wildernesses. And He walks with us, carries us, strengthens and cheers us on, whispering encouragingly in our ear or laughing joyously at the sky as we make our way back to the even greater blessings that await.
We do not stand in a position of helplessness, waiting only upon God to deliver us from trials and the conditions of sin and death in this world. Christ came, and won the victory. :o) He is all-sufficient, and mighty to save! (Oh, how I want to shout that from the rooftops!) The only thing I've been able to see, in scripture, that we must endure without certain hope of deliverance, is persecution from other people who don't know Him, for we do not have dominion over others. But in all other things, Christ won. He overcame sin and death. We all know the proverb about death and taxes . . . and yet, we know prophets were translated. They didn't taste of death. When we submit to God, and do what He really and truly wants us to do, we're on the path to become like Him to the point where He will take us up unto Himself, as well.
He is no respecter of persons. None. I stand in the very same position of opportunity and potential blessing as ANY other son or daughter of God who has ever been born on this earth, or who ever will be. The work I am called to do might be different--more ordinary, less impressive-looking--but I stand to inherit the same kind of glory they did, if I submit to and honor my God to the same completeness in the fulfillment of it. The only questions I need to answer are "How much do I desire to know my God? How much does my heart yearn for the things of His heart? For His will to be done on earth, as it is in heaven?"
I realize I just talked about submitting, after saying we don't have to submit. But hear me out. We are to submit in all things to the will of God . . . . but to nothing and no one else. If there is a person in a position of leadership that follows the will of Jesus Christ, then we will be in agreement, and participate together in the realization of God's will on earth. (How cool is that????) That's unity. It's not having the same political opinions, or philosophical perspectives, or anything else. It's about treasuring your direct line to God, listening to it earnestly, and following what we receive faithfully. Nothing else really matters, because we can trust Him. Utterly.
Jesus healed people of their infirmities right and left--and in Bountiful, he healed every one who came to Him. One by one, they came. And he healed them all. All who would come unto Him. I can imagine that there may have been a few that didn't approach Him, for whatever reason, that day. But I don't believe Christ wants anyone to be sick, or depressed, or hurt.
Healing takes faith--and as a teenager and young adult struggling with depression, I'm not sure I had faith. I didn't know the nature and character of God well enough to have that kind of confidence in Him. I trusted Him a great deal, but I didn't really expect Him to heal me. (See what I mean? I didn't KNOW Him. I had a concept of Him, but it was seriously skewed, despite my near-perfection in the performances of my faith.) I thought I was supposed to take my herbs and eat right, and then I would be healed through the things I did. But I didn't know enough about the principles of diet and depression to make a dent. And I didn't believe God would heal me without me doing all of the work on the physical side. So I continued in depression. And I saw no miracle, because I placed my own efforts on par with God's matchless power.
What made the difference this time--what continues to make the difference now--is that I am totally and completely willing to lay everything down for Jesus Christ. Everything. I know Him. He has made Himself known to me in ways that I cannot deny, and are so, so precious to me. He has shown me how vitally living, how exuberantly loving, how joyous and sunny His disposition is. He cares nothing for my imperfections and shortcomings, for I am clothed in His righteousness through His grace. Christ's driving desire is to be able to place His righteousness over me--to bring me out from under condemnation. I offered him my tattered beggar's clothes, held together only by virtue of near-constant darning, and in return He clothed me in royal robes of glory and peace and strength. So long as I walk in repentance, retaining a remission of my sins, I can continue in that newness of life, that continually refreshed newness of mind, a new creature in Him, inhabiting a completely new world--the Kingdom of Jesus Christ on earth.
And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee."
But there was certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, "Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?"
And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, "Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house."
And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion. (Mark 2:1-12)