My son Jon was 9 years old at the time, and we were returning from a doctor’s appointment I will never forget.
In the previous three weeks, Jon had regressed so significantly that he could not go to school. All the tests came back unexplainably abnormal. The appointment lasted two grim hours. We left with a stack of sheets requesting blood work that would test for terminal, genetic, and neurological disorders as well as six more diagnoses.
The nurse’s parting words still echo in my mind: “I am so sorry. Taking care of Jon will be like taking care of 10 children.”
Spiritually, I was hanging by a thread, and at that appointment the thread snapped.
Hard work, prayer, more hard work, more fervent prayer . . . and we had ended up HERE? I said to God, “I can’t believe You are faithful, or loving, or caring, or a giver of strength to the weak, or comforting, or even listening. If this is what it means to walk by faith, I’m DONE . . . done praying, done trusting, done hoping, done believing.”
I know some of you are right there . . . you are D-O-N-E!
That day I told God I would give Him 20 seconds to answer me, or I’d be D-O-N-E with Him. I would choose to believe for 20 more seconds, then we were breaking up . . . so to speak. The green, neon blinking dots on the car’s dashboard clock silently clicked away . . . 18, 19, 20. Silence. Without anyone to talk to but God, I said, “Okay God, you’ve got 20 more seconds.” We got home 20 seconds by 20 seconds by 20 seconds.
Nothing miraculous happened on the road. Jon wasn’t supernaturally healed, but God was there 20 seconds at a time.
Your Next Few Moments
Some of you are looking at the clock, counting the seconds, and considering giving up on faith entirely. For the suffering, faith can boil down to one second at a time. It’s okay to admit that. This is faith on the most basic level. So few talk about it, but so many who suffer can only trust for one second at a time . . . and God understands.
Yet each second you allow to pass and choose to believe, God is at work.
Seven years later, the most significant changes in my life happened in those 20 seconds. I learned two truths that are the foundation of my faith today.
- God empties us of ourselves to accomplish His purpose. Job 23 speaks of being emptied out—which is not easy or painless. We often fight being emptied and are confused by it. Nevertheless, there is a purpose in it. (Read about Abraham in Genesis 18:25–32, Moses in Exodus 32:12–13, David in Psalm 22:14, and Paul in Philippians 2:17).
- God fills us with Himself to accomplish His plan. Paul wrote about this reality in Romans 5:1–5, which says:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (NIV)
Your Next Few Seconds
A few seconds can change your life. I ask you this question and would love to hear your response:
If God’s refining fire continues, am I willing to give Him a few more seconds, trusting He has a purpose and plan? You can leave a comment by clicking here.