Mystery-Writing in the Sky

by | May 31, 2010

His Banner over us.

It is strange how sometimes what we fear and what we yearn for are merely opposite sides of the same moment. The moment I am now standing in is one that in a way God has been preparing me for for at least twenty years. There has been a yearning and expectant longing I have carried in my heart for the season we are now entering  and at the same time never far from the door I have had to face a fear, a dread of this same moment. Now I realise that they are one and the same.

Looking back I can now see that God has been preparing me for this day for about twenty years. Years ago when I was at the University of Cape Town I was standing in “Res Fellowship” and I was asking God to use my life. As I stood there I had a vivid vision of my hand pierced by a nail and I sensed the Lord say that he was going to powerfully use my life but that it would not always be easy and that I would one day raise a disabled child. In all honesty, I have never known what to make of that vision, I have largely tried to dismiss it as a demonic lie to bring fear into my life. In fact one of the greatest things I have battled over the last few days has been the idea that somehow what has happened is my own fault, that in fearing this, I brought it on myself.  All day on Friday this was one of the thoughts that tormented me, until God graciously spoke to that storm and stilled those waves. Late Friday night I received a call from another of my heroes, Bill Bennot all the way from Nashville, Tennessee. Bill has been my pastor for the last 16 years and together we have walked through many storms so it was wonderful to talk to him. I felt my boat was going down and I knew I could show Bill all the holes beneath the water line and he would not only get in the boat and bail with me, he would plug the holes if he could and not knock any more holes through with judgement or criticism. So I brought that fear, that experience of twenty years ago to him. There are times that man speaks but God answers and in Bill’s words Jesus spoke into my storm. He pointed to the disciples question in John 9:1

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”3“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.

It is inevitable I suppose for events such as this one to raise questions about God and his nature. I don’t have all the answers, but this is how I am processing these things. I don’t believe that it was “God’s will” for that man to be blind, or for Mystery to have Down syndrome, I also don’t believe it was someone’s fault. I do believe that God will display his goodness and glory through Mystery’s life and the rest is frankly well, a mystery.God is so gracious he has threaded his voice like a tapestry into these days weaving in encouragement, love and faith into our family from all over. If you are in our church, follow my blog or are near to our lives you will know that Mystery is literally the fruit of promises and prophesies we have been pushing in to for about 5 years. Soon after the birth of Jemima we felt that God wanted us to have more children and so began trying (although this is a popular euphemism for this process the actual endeavour is far more fun than this sounds 😉  ) for our fourth child. Strangely even though we had never had a problem before we struggled to fall pregnant. Months turned into years and as Jemima grew older I would have been quite happy to call it a day. I was very contented with our 3 beautiful children and if I had not felt that this child was more than just a child but a PROMISE we would probably just have decided that 3 was enough. However again and again God reaffirmed the promise through different prophesies, at different times and in different places until we could not escape the fact that God had another gift waiting for us. Finally, after more than four fruitless but undeniably fun 😉 years of “trying” Debbie fell pregnant. At our second scan we learnt that here might be a problem.(See my blog 2 December) During the pregnancy we received countless prophetic confirmations from different places concerning the special nature of this child and God’s plan for her life. (See my blog 24 Feb) Early in February God gave us her name, and as time passed we grew more and more expectant! Mystery is a prophesy, a miracle child, a gift and a child of promise!

When I first heard the diagnosis on Friday all of that appeared to come crashing …down. My sorrow, fear and anger made it very difficult to talk to God let alone hear him but he is so gracious and gentle that he will literally write his love on the sky if need be. In those first few hours I was assaulted by fearful, frightful and dark thoughts. As I peered into the future I did not feel that I had what I needed to make the journey that I had just started. Even as I looked at my daughter I feared could I be the kind of father she was evidently going to need, did I have what it takes to love her unconditionally, the wisdom to help her find her destiny in life, the courage to embrace her no matter what it takes. I wanted a way out but there was none. Early in the afternoon I went out to the shops and as I walked out I was confronted by a rainbow stretching over an otherwise dismally grey sky. Rainbows are special to Debbie and me and God has used them to mark significant events in our lives when we have needed to trust God when we were stepping into uncharted or fearful territory. Every time we see a rainbow it is our habit to make a declaration we first made when we got engaged with no money, no jobs and no clue on the basis of a promise, a word from God and a command to plant a church in Grahamstown. On that day I was trying to buy a R2900 engagement ring when I only had R200 in my account, we walked out of the jewellers to see a beautiful rainbow stretching over East London and as I looked at it Debbie declared “God is faithful to all his promises” Hoping against hope we went to the bank to check my account. R2oo. I asked the manager to check again. R200. The bank closed. We were still inside and I asked them to check once more, somewhat exasperated the manager went back and came back to tell me an amount of over R2000 had just been deposited by my Father in the United Kingdom. The Jewellers had a sale on, and so I spent every penny I had in the world and a beautiful woman became a part of my life from that day on. That story worked out great. Now twenty years later I was looking into the same sky reading the same message in the sky. Inwardly I said to myself “God is faithful to ALL his promises.” Even as I drove home friends were sending me text messages alerting me to the rainbow painted in the sky for us, for Mystery and I felt faith like a returning tide coming into my heart. This afternoon I had to take Mystery for a medical test. As I did I was startled as I became aware that my inner world had dramatically changed. I didn’t want out, I was in and ready to fight, and to expend what little I had for the little Mystery in my life. I don’t know where the faith and love came from because I checked that account several times recently and it seemed to be almost empty now it was overflowing. When I needed it, I was given what was necessary. A last-minute transfer from my Father, from his Kingdom into my world has made it possible for a beautiful lady to become part of my life from this day on.

God has been talking to me about Mystery, who she is and what he has in store for us and her.  I am daunted, humbled, expectant but increasingly excited. I recently heard Graham Cooke say with every problem God gives us promises, and with the promises come provision. That is the next part of this story. I will tell you about it soon. I hope you will join me on this journey. Please continue to pray for us, it is still difficult but your love and prayers have made such a world of difference.

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