Over the months of Susana’s battle with cancer, we have gotten hundreds of comments and emails from people all over the world bringing hope, encouragement, and prayers. It has blessed us tremendously and often times it was a scripture verse that was very timely for either myself or Maria. But on occasion, we have also gotten some emails, facebook messages, and blog comments that indicated that we just needed more faith to believe, and that if we just had that faith, Susana would be completely healed on this side of heaven. As a matter of fact, the day Susana died, we had messages from people declaring in the name of Jesus that Susana WOULD NOT die. We had people telling us that all we had to do was declare this and she would live. I got an email the day before she died from somebody telling me that God told them to write me and tell me that I just need to lay my hands on my daughter and specifically say, “I rebuke this sickness in the name of Jesus” and that she would be healed. As if the hundreds of thousands of prayers that have gone up to the throne of God around the world on Susana’s behalf were not received simply because of wrong grammatical usage. I mean, we ourselves have cried out to God thousands of time and asked Him to heal Susana. God is our great love and He calls us friend. He is good. He is a wonderful Father. So, this person thinks though that because we failed to use the word “rebuke in Jesus name” that somehow God’s hands were tied and He wouldn’t act. Friends, that is not the God I know and love…and quite honestly, I don’t believe that is the God of the bible. I know people meant well by sharing these things, and I don’t hold anything whatsoever against them. We’re all on a journey in our further understanding of God’s ways and His love. And I hope that what I write is just a way of perhaps bringing greater clarity to the great God we serve.
God had Susana’s time orchestrated from the beginning of time. He knew that He would call our little girl home just before her 5th birthday. And He knew that in doing this, He would bring great glory to His name. Now, I don’t understand fully how this is all bringing glory to His name. I have seen Him glorified in some pretty amazing ways through this already (people coming to faith in Christ, people returning to Christ, people brought nearer to God in their faith more so than they have ever been, etc), but unfortunately my eyes are limited in what I am able to see. But one day, when I see Him face to face and also see my sweet Susana, then I shall see perfectly how greatly glorified He was. For now, I continue by grace to do what He calls me to do…walk by faith and not by sight…trusting in His unfailing love…even amidst our greatest loss.
Jesus was always challenging people’s view of Him in the scriptures. There is this one story that used to always trouble me where He healed a paralytic . He asked one question that, to me, was very difficult to know the answer…until now. Here’s how the story goes: Jesus sees this paralytic lying on the mat, goes up to him and says, “Take heart son, your sins are forgiven.” Notice he didn’t do anything about his physical condition at that point. But he did everything about his eternal condition. The pharisees are outraged as they hear Jesus make this claim to forgive sins, so Jesus then asks them this question, “Which is easier to say, ‘your sins are forgiven?’ or to say, ‘get up and walk?’ ” And then Jesus tells them that to prove that He has authority to do the harder one, which is forgive sins, He proves it by additionally doing the easier thing in telling the man to get up and walk…and the man was healed.
But that question always confused me. “Which is easier?” I always struggled with understanding which was the right answer. But now I finally understand. I always thought that Him saying, “Your sins are forgiven” was the easier one because nobody could really “see” if that miracle came true or not, whereas saying “get up and walk” determines right on the spot whether He is a miracle worker or not. So, for so many years, I just kind of struggled with that passage, not sure if I really knew the answer that Jesus was intending for us to know.
But now, I see it so clearly. Which is easier…to heal so that a person’t life is extended, but for a time? Or to heal so that a person’s life is extended for eternity? Yes, Jesus did the greater by first and foremost saying, “Your sins are forgiven.” And then to give them proof that He had such authority to do the harder one, He did the easy one, the one that they could “see” that very moment, by healing the man. Amazing! The greater miracle by far was the healing of the man’s soul, not His physical healing. Jesus displayed His glory a million times over by healing the man’s soul so that He would never die, but live forever in the Kingdom of God. If all He did was heal the man physically, well…that would be good, but the man’s soul would still be in question. So, God certainly would have done the greater thing by forgiving the man’s sins and promising him eternity even if He never healed his physical condition.
Let’s transition this to the question of faith in that story. Which would have taken more faith? To believe in the goodness and love of God by having the man’s sins forgiven yet still be left completely paralyzed? Or to have the man “see” a miracle and get what he wants by being able to walk again immediately? The answer is simple…it would take more faith to believe in God’s goodness and love with a certainty of sins forgiven, yet a certainty that he will never walk again.
And now let’s transition that to our situation with Susana and the faith that God has given us. And let’s recall the statements that have been made, with well intentions of course, about how we just need to have “more” faith to “see” Susana healed. Is that really true? Remember, what would have taken more faith? To believe in the complete goodness and love of God because He has prepared eternity for Susana, yet was taking her away from us? Or to “claim” Susana’s healing in the name of Jesus so that we could “see” her healed and have what WE wanted on this side of heaven? Isn’t it a no-brainer that the greater faith required is to believe that He is so amazingly good and wonderful even as our daughter is breathing her last breath? That God has given us a faith that shouts, “Though all is stripped away from us here on this earth, You alone are good, for You have purchased us with Your blood and we will live in eternity forever with You.” Yes friends, I do believe that, by His grace alone, we have not had “less” faith as some seemed to suggest, but rather we have had the greatest measure of faith that He has ever given us. For, it really is an easy faith to “claim” what we want for US in Jesus’ name rather than embrace what God wants for HIM to be glorified even if it means tremendous loss for us here on this earth. I know that some people have meant well by encouraging us to have “more” faith so that we could have seen our daughter healed, but I don’t think that’s how God was seeing it.
Isn’t it always true that Jesus calls us to walk the harder path? Doesn’t all of scripture bring truth to that? The bible is themed with the more difficult route in obtaining the blessings of God. It is never as easy as “claiming it”. That’s just not the gospel. It borders on idolatry. The gospel is not my ticket to get what I want. the gospel is His grace that shows me that, through Jesus, I don’t get what I deserved. Big difference.
I want you to look at this short video below. It is challenging. It might offend some, especially those that have taken the belief that by believing in Jesus, we can “claim” those things that we want to make our lives “blessed.” I only share this video as well as write this post in order to try and give greater clarity to the truth of the gospel and the faith that is needed (and only given by God) to embrace such a gospel. Please look at this video and ask the Lord to bring conviction to your heart to the truth of the gospel.
You see, our little girl has “gone through the windshield.” And only by the “more” faith that God has given us can we truly say, “God is enough. God is enough.” And that is what I believe brings great glory to God.
Our hearts hurt so bad right now. It has been one week since the Lord called Susana home. I have cried every single day. But, I have also worshiped the Lord every single day. I have sang of His greatness and glory. I have affirmed His goodness through the scriptures. We talk about our plans to return to Haiti and continue bringing the message of His love and goodness to those that are in great need. And we are truly excited to do that. We will love the orphaned child with a greater love. We will empathize with the grieving mother all the more. We will feed the starving children. We will make disciples. We will tell the world of His glory. And we will weep much. We will miss our little girl more than ever. We will talk about her with others. We will not pretend that she doesn’t exist anymore so as not to stir the pain in our heart. No, we will allow the Lord to stir the pain if He so chooses. We have been crushed for a purpose – to bring Him glory in the face of our suffering and anguish. And by His grace, we will do just that.