"You know what I admire so much about you? The amazing way in which you inhale and then you exhale and then you do it over and over and over. It's truly awesome!"
What would your response be if someone came up to you and made that declaration?
You'd probably wonder if they're crazy, but humbly say thank you as you gently remind them that you actually have no choice. If you were to stop inhaling and exhaling (i.e. breathing) you would summarily die. Your body has no other option but to keep doing that which keeps you alive.
A movie script makes sense life doesn't
Over the past decade my life has felt like a tv series. God has had me on a journey in which systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) has played a major role.
If you are not aware, according to the CDC
"SLE is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own tissues… there is no cure for lupus."
The script for this series has included many hospital admissions, guest appearances from several secondary illnesses and varying levels of physical disability.
I've had series regulars that God has used to show me immeasurable kindness and favour. There have been cliff hangers and page turners and seasons with the lowest of lows and mountain top highs.
Unlike tv and movie actors we never get a table read with God. He alone knows the script inside and out, however, very early in this journey He made it clear to me that my script would have me sharing my story (I consider it His) with others and encouraging them through my experiences.
God never lies. I have had the pleasure of meeting with, sharing with and encouraging others in different formats, forums and in different countries. Very often I receive feedback in which people tell me they admire my ability to trust God and to hold on to Him in spite of what I'm going through. I receive the compliments, I humbly say thank you, but I always wish to make people understand that it is the only plausible option. The moment I stop believing, trusting and holding on to God it would be like trying to stop myself from breathing.
I have to do this or I will not make it. I am no hero or saint, I simply have to keep breathing.
Where is God in all of this?
In speaking about this with a dear friend of mine, author Diane Batchelor whose memoir "God In The Mean Time" highlights her journey as an AVM survivor, she said to me, "I constantly work to break down the misconception. As far as I’m concerned it’s GOD’s faithfulness that has kept me faithful."
You see God allows various ones of us to journey down very specific paths so that He can carry out a great refining work in us, but also so that we can encourage others who may also find themselves traversing down similar paths. He is right there with us for every step.
My ability to trust God and cling to Him during my times of adversity is not a superpower I have honed, it is God's hand of grace and as my friend said His faithfulness that allows me to be so.
Just as in the example I gave earlier, I have no choice because I know that if I were to ever stop I would die; like breathing.
"But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it." (Romans chapter 8 verses 10-12)
The Spirit of God raised Jesus Christ from the dead and brought breath back to His body. That same Spirit resides in any and all of us who name the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour. The ability to remain faithful, to trust, to keep looking up when you're down and to exalt His name in the midst of your trials is not an honour bestowed only upon superheroes of the faith.
It is the Spirit of God which is in every believer that allows anyone to keep on 'breathing' in spite of what they're experiencing. He empowers us to do it (2 Peter chapter 1:3) but too often we become distracted, discouraged and disengaged, we stop breathing and end up in a state of spiritual hypoxia.
The same power
I am in no way mocking anyone who has commended or encouraged me. Positive messages, phone calls and conversations have many a time been rays of sunshine on some very gloomy days, however, I want every believer who is going through tough times to know that if we can then you can too, because of the same power that lives inside of us.
Danelle M. Pinnock first emerged as a writer when she began chronicling her journey with God, through a debilitating sickness. Her authentic reflections provided encouragement to many and resulted in her first publication “31 Day Devotional- Quiet Time.”
This full time homemaker, a proud Jamaican, lives in Kingston with her husband Raul and their two children Levi and Zhuri. Along with her freelance writing, she is a worship leader at her church and serves with her husband, a cancer survivor, on the marriage ministry team.
Visit her website, (danellempinnock.com) to learn how God guides a woman with a background in Chemistry, Business Management and Public Health to skillfully pen His methods and His ways through sickness, marriage and parenting.