…If we really believe that GOD HIMSELF wants to work [a problem out or a Fruit of the Spirit] into our lives, as Christians, we need to trust Him to do it and walk it out in faith, believing that He’ll provide what we need to git ‘er done….
FAITH IS PRACTICAL! FAITH = ACTION! Faith meets us in our everyday lives. It’s not mystical, though it is a mystery. Faith is given freely by a loving God, and He won’t hold back if we ask Him for more faith…yet we have to be willing to open our hands and receive the gifts of God….
We CAN do what God CALLS us to do, through His power, if we believe and set our hands and hearts to do it, even if it’s as crazy as building an ark without power tools.
In fact, God says that faith without works is dead.
The last month has been FILLED with challenges I never anticipated. My surgery has been scheduled and re-scheduled three times; I had to redo all the research and preparations for my surgery with each new hospital; my bladder and legs have been very unhappy; and last but certainly not least, I was told that my Medicaid would no longer be effective in December, when I’m scheduled to have surgery and be hospitalized.
The reason my Medicaid was being stopped was because my SSI was stopping. The SSI was stopping because my “income” from SSDI was going to increase only for the month of December because SSA had made a mistake and not paid me enough during the earlier months of 2013. For December I would receive an additional $220.00, raising me above the cap for SSI and Medicaid eligibility. I pleaded for help, asking SSA NOT to pay me the additional $220.00 so that I could keep my Medicaid coverage, but my plea fell on deaf ears and bureaucratic red tape. I wasn’t allowed to have the total spaced out over several months either to keep me below the income cap.
Without Medicaid, I am expected to pay 20% of the total cost for all of my healthcare bills, hospitalization, surgery, the cost of the SCS (Spinal Cord Stimulator) itself, medications, and PCS (Personal Care Services). The total (20%) for just the surgery and SCS alone would be $30,000.00. Hospitalization could easily top $20,000.00. Medications would be over $2,000.00. I’m not sure what 20% of PCS would be, but I know that isn’t cheap either. My best guess would be, all-together, around $60,000.00 – $70,000.00 that I’d be responsible to pay – not chump change! It comes as no surprise that a person living solely on SSDI would be unable to ever repay such a financial debt.
I felt really crushed with this news. Six months of HARD WORK had been poured into the SCS implant, and I felt like the words “MISSION IMPOSSIBLE” had been stamped across every mountain along the way. What a blessing it was two Sundays ago to hear a message preached at church from 1 Samuel 24 about how we should respond when those in authority over us do wrong. This message truly encouraged me in my response to a governmental system that treated me as a number rather than a human and that would do more harm than good because of its inflexibility. In some way, I felt even blessed that I had the opportunity now to respond in a godly way to this challenge, for His glory and the edification of the church through my witness. Sure I cried at the news!! But I didn’t allow myself to stay there because I knew this was an opportunity to show my friends — some of whom were perhaps even more angry/upset about the news than I was — that God will rule, whatever the outcome, above the earthly authorities and their decisions.
So the last two weeks have been dedicated to finding out whether or not I actually have Medicaid coverage for December and preparing for the surgery. Hours of phone calls resulted in many different answers from SSA, Medicaid and Medicare. I was told by several sources to cancel the surgery or move it to sometime next year.
I decided to get counsel from my pastor and friends who encouraged me to keep the surgery on the books for December 13th. I prayed daily that God would show me what to do, give me favor with government officials, and give me peace about either pursuing the surgery or rescheduling. As I continued to pray and take the counsel I’d received into consideration, God gave me a peace a few days ago about continuing on with the plan to have surgery in December. I had a peace that God would provide. I didn’t know how He would provide; I just trusted that He would.
I was reading a picture Bible with a friend. As I flipped through the pages, the pictures showed Biblical stories of countless “Missions Impossible” becoming “Missions Completed”. In fact, the entire Bible is MISSION IMPOSSIBLE!! Think of it! It starts with a God who has neither beginning nor end, creating everything out of nothing, with the plan to allow His creation to reject Him so that He can show His love in the most self-sacrificing way possible – by dying for those whom He created! In 1 Samuel we meet David, the youngest boy in his family, chosen as King of Israel, and the unlikely shepherd boy who overtook Goliath with only a sling and a stone. Along the way we watch the nation of Israel, small and insignificant apart from the presence of the Lord who saves a remnant repeatedly and allows Israel to triumph against armies up to nine times their size. Noah builds an ark and six people are spared the destruction of God. The entire Bible is ironic, but my favorite list of impossibilities made possible by faith is contained in Hebrews 11. I thought about this for a full day. I prayed on my face before God, sang songs of worship in my apartment (a bit nicer than singing in the shower), remembered how God has delivered me time and time again, and decided I wanted to respond in faith.
This morning I woke up early and put some food in a cooler for a friend and I to eat lunch and have a snack. I knew I needed some more concrete answers regarding Medicaid coverage, and I prayed that God would give me favor at DSS so that I could see someone face-to-face who would help me. When I arrived and checked in, I kindly but firmly told the woman behind the counter, “I’ve brought my lunch and I don’t intend to leave until someone can help me with the information I need to know.” Help came only 15 minutes later! The sweet woman who came to help had spoken with the head supervisor of DSS who knows me by name, and together they confirmed that I WILL have Medicaid coverage in December because my gross “income” from SSDI is exactly SIX DOLLARS below the income cap for Medicaid cutoff. Yes, SIX DOLLARS. I told her, “That’s God. He told me He would provide, and He has. I was six bucks away from losing Medicaid, but I’m six bucks away, and God loves making the impossible possible.” That six bucks made all the difference.
Faith is active. When the Holy Spirit speaks and tells us to do something or tells us God will provide for a specific need, faith says, “Ok Lord, I’m trusting you and thanking you in advance for what you’re about to do, and I pray that you will show me what you want me to do in this process.” Having faith doesn’t mean we “check-out” of the process, fold our hands and sit back in our rocking chairs with a cup of hot tea and a novel!
I was thinking of Exodus 14 today. What an interesting passage. The Israelites were “let go” by Egypt’s Pharaoh who had held them as slaves, but Pharaoh changed his mind and began pursuing them again with his entire army. This time, God’s people were quite trapped. Pharaoh’s army was all behind them and the Red Sea was in front of them. The only way out was THROUGH the Red Sea. Understandably, the Israelites freaked. Paraphrase mine…. The Israelites began saying to Moses “What the heck are you doing, Moses?! Did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness?! It would have been better to remain slaves of the Egyptians!” Sadly, their fear overcame their sensibility and they actually believed that their hell-on-earth lives in Egypt could be better than the Lord leading them out to freedom.
I love what Moses says tells them to do in response to the situation:
1) Do not be afraid.
Moses didn’t know how God would deliver Israel, but he did know that God would deliver Israel; there was no other option if God was going to be true to His word and promise.
2) Stand still.
In other words, “stop in your tracks”! If you despair, you will be weak-kneed. If you are fearful, you will flee. If you are impatient, you will move ahead of the pillar of fire. If you presume, you may dive into the Red Sea before it has parted. Standing still and praying requires expectant waiting upon the Lord. It involves listening for His direction. Therefore, it is not inactive or lazy. Perhaps it is more challenging than any of the other commands given to God’s people in this passage.
3) See the salvation of the Lord.
Moses displayed confidence in the result of God’s promise of deliverance and salvation.
God’s commands to Moses are no less important:
1) Stop praying and DO.
God speaks to Moses saying, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.” There is a time to pray, and a time to act. It can actually be against God’s will to stop doing and to only pray in a particular situation. This was a time for action, and Moses could pray along the way. “There is a time for praying, but there is also a time for holy activity. Prayer is adapted for almost every season, yet not prayer alone, for there comes, every now and then, a time when even prayer must take a secondary place,” said Charles Spurgeon. I love Spurgeon’s example here. “There is a favourite sin, of which he has long been guilty; he does not give it up, but he says that he will pray about it. God says to such a man, ‘ “Where fore criest thou unto me?” Give up thy sin; this is not a matter for thee to pray about, but to repent of.’ The man says, “I was asking for repentance.” Ask, if thou wilt, for repentance, but exercise it as well.” (Spurgeon) Believers should not use prayer for procrastination! If God has already shown us the way we are to go, we are wise to get about it.
2) Have courage.
While not stated precisely, I think it’s safe to read a command of courage in God’s word to both the Israelites and Moses. If you’re not called to do anything, you don’t need much courage. But all of the responses above, including “stand still,” require employing meek courage given by God.
God makes situations seem impossible to resolve because in doing so, He gets all the glory when He shows that nobody else could have done His job. He loves a response (from believers and unbelievers alike) of “Only God could have done that!” He may save us by 20 seconds from a car accident, a job rejection letter, the help of a stranger, or even by SIX DOLLARS. But He will never fail to deliver on His promises.