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In her classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee quotes, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” (pg 30). While it is considerable to note that many are not literature fans or are unobservant of the racial segregation and discrimination around the world, the quote got me thinking about a deeper issue. 

As a Christian, it is one thing to walk through life with the perception that you understand what others are going through. When those trials hit you personally, however, they become much more real.

In Romans 8:18-25, Paul refers to these sufferings as opportunities for great expectations to come. 

I am convinced that any suffering we endure is less than nothing compared to the magnitude of glory that is about to be unveiled within us. The entire universe is standing on tiptoe, yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious sons and daughters! For against its will the universe itself has had to endure the empty futility resulting from the consequences of human sin. But now, with eager expectation, all creation longs for freedom from its slavery to decay and to experience with us the wonderful freedom coming to God’s children” (Romans 8:18-21, TPT).

Retrospective lenses can’t camouflage our hearts’ desire to skip turmoil and fast forward to pleasure. “To this day we are aware of the universal agony and groaning of creation, as if it were in the contractions of labor for childbirth. And it’s not just creation,” furthers Paul (Romans 8:22-23, TPT). 

As humans, we try to comprehend the fragility of life while living it. Still, the painful fact is that until we grow through endurance and suffering, our faith will remain stagnant, stinking up the pond, we swam away from in fear, shame, and embarrassment. And sometimes, we stay dead for so long we don’t realize that it’s our state of living that’s killing us.

And sometimes, we stay dead for so long we don't realize that it's our state of living that's killing us. Click To Tweet

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When my boyfriend got tested positive for COVID-19, I felt helpless, like someone knocked my legs out from under me, and there was nothing I could do because the reality was, I couldn’t. As a fixer control-freak, my faith felt shaken, and I didn’t know how to stand. Suddenly, what was on the news was in my corner. The fears I saw in others were now the horrors I saw in myself, my relationships, my family. 

Saved as a little girl, I had received the promises of Christ’s firstfruits of the Spirit that would keep me safe amidst impending doom. The truths that faith gives us hope amid unforeseen circumstances.  

We who have already experienced the firstfruits of the Spirit also inwardly groan as we passionately long to experience our full status as God’s sons and daughters—including our physical bodies being transformed. For this is the hope of our salvation. But hope means that we must trust and wait for what is still unseen” (Romans 8:22-23, TPT).

Yet over the years, my calloused heart has often become immune to the healing, saving, supernatural power, I pray and say I believe. I am all too guilty of uttering a prayer and then not knowing what I just said because I religiously repeated a monotone phrase without being religious at all.

While I don’t like to admit it, watching my dad suffer for a decade and not being healed, or suffering myself, I desperately need the Lord’s saving grace and hope. Lord, forgive my unbelief in the timing of your ways. Without realizing it, I have often lived a faith without much faith at all.

Faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1 as “assured confidence for that which we cannot see,” but how long had I been living with a sight that was blind? 

In the weeks during and following my boyfriend’s recovery, and as these thoughts clouded my vision, God spoke the song “God Turn It Around” to me. He said it before I even knew Ben had COVID.

Immediately, I felt confident that it was a peace that surpasses all understanding about the pandemic. My boyfriend was recuperating well, but “I’m praying God come, and turn this thing around” cooled my soul as a deer panting for water quenches its thirst in the streams.

The motions seemed to flow out of me with limited signing experience, and I knew God wanted me to share, but I was scared. Reaching out to a mentor, she encouraged me, and the Pastor was on board. I was set to perform two weeks later.

That Sunday, I felt the Holy Spirit pumping my veins with power and energy. I was eager to share what I was sure was a message about the turn around of COVID-19. When the Pastor asked me to sign the following week instead, however, I knew that God must have something else in mind. 

He’s in-control most when we feel the least possessive,” the Holy Spirit prompted. 

A few hours later, on December 6th, at 1:18 p.m., my boyfriend’s dad had a sudden and unexpected hemorrhagic stroke. Taken by the squad and flown by helicopter, he’s still in recovery today. 

“Are you okay?” my rhetorical question filled the space between my boyfriend and me, a mix of heat and nausea settling over my racing heart.

“Hey, Ben, we…” our worship leader called out to the side of his rearview mirror.

“Honestly, if Dad doesn’t make it, I’ll miss him and be sad, but I know where he’d go. God is good if he does, and God is good if he doesn’t. We trust God, and His will be done,” the reply rang out from both he and his mom to the worship leader.

Slinking down into the velvety seats of cushion, the boldness of their reckless faith scared me but convicted me to the core. I wished I could be eaten by the comfort of the car’s rich red seats and enveloped into a sea of transparency to avoid the confrontation of my heart. 

Did I really believe that what I prayed the good Lord would answer? Did I really believe our God could heal his father, knowing a miracle would be needed? How many prayers had I said and merely stated without believing? 

Things got real fast, and conviction hit like a ton of bricks. I had become doubting Thomas, and I didn’t want to reside as him any longer

It was at that moment, sitting in the front seat of my boyfriend’s car, on the way to the hospital, my eyes were opened, and I began to see clearly. God Turn It Around wasn’t about COVID-19, but about my boyfriend’s dad and family. All this time, I felt sure it was about sickness, but in His omnipotent and omniscient power, I realized it was for such a time as this.

God Turn It Around was for Roy, for them and their family, although unforeseen to me at the time, but revealed by God in His glorious and holy light. Yet, it was also about strengthening my faith that had weakened over time. It was not a coincidence, but His divine plan.

While I do not ever wish this tragedy upon his family, I am utterly astonished at what their faith is teaching me, how they are leading me to believe what I’m praying for without doubt but reassurance and confidence. 

“How are they not crying?” my mind puzzled. “They are strong and without tears, for I hold every one in the palm of my hand,” the familiar voice soothed my aching Spirit.

I’m again learning to believe what I pray for, not in shallow utterings, but the hope of our salvation. I thank his family for all they are and mean to me. 

  “But hope means that we must trust and wait for what is still unseen. For why would we need to hope for something we already have? So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment” (Romans 8:24-25, TPT).

Perhaps in meanderings, I am learning that God is always speaking, but in the blink of an eye, if I’m not expecting it, one can miss the splendor.

At each and every sunrise you will hear my voice as I prepare my sacrifice of prayer to you. Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on the altar and wait for your fire to fall upon my heart” (Psalm 5:3, TPT). 

In expectation, we wait, Lord, God Turn It Around, whatever that means, and however, you see fit.

What do you need God to turn around today? And if you wouldn’t mind praying, please continue to keep this loving and faith-filled family in your prayers as well. 

I know God is providing for them and have seen it with my eyes, but now I’ve also experienced it in my heart. God Turn it Around, not just around us, but within us as your Spirit lives within our beating hearts.

Agape, Amber