My beloved Friends and Family,
On July 7, 2020 I spoke at a camp to about 125 girls about what it means to trust God when you don’t know what He is doing. For about the last 6 months I have wanted to write thank you notes to many of you for the support and love you have showed my family over the past year. July 27, 2020 will be a year from the time of me being in the hospital. Sometimes it feels like just a few months ago my family began our crazy journey that we will never forget. I want to share with you what I talked about and lessons that God taught me over the last year.
To refresh your memory, on July 12, 2019 my dad had surgery for stage 1 Kidney Cancer. Thankfully this cancer was contained to his kidney, and he is healed now and back to work and doing well. Then on July 27,2019 I was taken to the hospital by my mom because I had double vision and my balance was terribly off, I couldn’t even walk alone. While I was in the hospital I couldn’t open my eyes due to terrible headaches and I couldn’t really talk because I had slurred speech and no one could understand what I was saying, but I tried anyway because I’m a talker at heart and love conversation with others. However, I could hear everyone and understand everything that was going on the whole time. One day early into my stay my dad asked me a question that I want to share with you and spend some time on today. He said to me, “ Britt, how can I help you and make sure that there is purpose in you being in the hospital?” This question left a lasting impression on me. My father who was still in his recovery process was asking me, how he could be my voice when mine was so hard to understand. Now I want to bring this question to you. I want you to stop for a second and put your name in this question and ask yourself “how can I make the most out of what God is trying to do?” I want to walk you through a John 9 and tell you about the blessings that God showed my family during this time of uncertainty for my family.
Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
1“As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. 8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?”9 Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.”
There is a man who was born blind, and he normally sits on the road and begs. No one pays attention to this man except Jesus. Here is the first thing I want us to pause on. 1. Jesus notices the least of these.The disciples often asked many things of Jesus, they were human and often failed Jesus, but they were His close friends that He shared many things with. During the time that Jesus walked this earth, people with disabilities, the blind man included were viewed as a burden to society. Jesus and His disciples could have easily walked by the man like so many people had before but Jesus stopped and cared for Him and noticed Him. In the time of being in the hospital there was so much unknown and at times it felt like God was extremely far away. After I was out of the hospital and rehab, I developed a blood clot in my leg at home. I was put on medication and went to have an ultrasound to make sure it was dissolved. When we got there the tech asked “Why are you here today?” I was changing for the exam so my mom answered her questions. This tech knew exactly what my mom was talking about, as her daughter had the muscle version (I had the nerve version) of this virus years ago. You guys, I knew that God saw me in that room. He gave me that tech in that moment to encourage me, and let me know that He was faithful and everything was going to be okay. He noticed me and my family.
One of Jesus’ disciples asked him “ Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he be born blind?”I don’t think they told us what disciple this is because this question is so ridiculous. Can’t we just all admit that 2. Bad things will happen.With this question I think that we can conclude the disciples were looking to place blame as to why this man was blind because it was common in this time to think that. I wanted to blame someone for my dad’s cancer and I wanted to blame someone for why I was in the hospital. We might look to place blame on someone, blame ourselves, or blame God for the situation that we are in. Instead of initially placing blame what if the first thing we did was to look at how we can trust God in what He is doing and give Him the glory for whatever our situation is. Jesus made this clear with his answer to the disciples “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in Him.” Jesus is telling the disciples that no one has done anything wrong, but from this mans blindness God will be seen and God will get the glory. Sometimes we will go through really hard things in life, or we were born like the blind man with really hard things in our life and God never tells us why we have to go through that hard thing.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says “ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. When we call on Him God is our source of comfort. He understands our pain, our suffering, and our uncertainty. When I was in the hospital someone from my church family came to visit because he had recovered from the muscle version of this virus. He and his wife came to bring comfort and to tell me that I was going to be okay and get through this. This act of comfort means so much to me today, and every once in awhile when I see him we are able to talk about our experiences. To this day it still brings so much comfort.
If we are searching for the blessings God has given us, and trying to trust Him and remind ourselves of how faithful He has been, we will be able to gain comfort in your situation. When I was in the hospital not able to open my eyes from terrible headaches, and frustrated when I spoke because no one could really understand me, I could have shut down and become very negative about being in pain. Trust me sometimes when it was just my parents around or the night nurses when I was trying to sleep I complained and cried about my pain. However most of the time I focused on God as verse 5 tells us I focused on the light of the world. I knew that he had been faithful with my dad’s cancer, he had been faithful in my job, and provided comfort so many other times in my life. I knew that I had to trust Him in the hospital because He was going to make a way for me when I did not understand what He was doing. I didn’t know how long I would be in the hospital bed, or not able to be understood, but I knew that I was never going to be alone through it all. 2. When you look for God, He will show you the way. Bad things are going to happen to you, but when you look for where you see God in your situation He will show you the way. My dad’s cancer, and my hospital stay were really bad things that happened to me. However, there were so many times that I looked for God and found blessings in my situation.
In the rest of the passage we see Jesus put the mud on the mans eyes, and he tells him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of the blind man. He walks to the pool that I’m sure he has washed in a few times in His life. When the water hits his eyes, he can see for the very first time. The birds of the air, the fish of the sea, himself maybe in the reflection of the water, for the very first time. When I read this passage I always wonder what the no-longer blind man saw first and how he reacted to the world for the very first time. In early January I was able to relate to this man in a way. My mom was driving me home from her bowling league. I began to realize as I was riding along that there was one car in front of us instead of two. There was one stop light, two tail lights, and the list goes on. I began to start moving my head trying to make two of everything because it has been about 6 months since I was able to see one with both eyes open. My mom began to question me and I told her everything was fine. However, when we got home and I stepped out of the vehicle in the garage I realized I saw one garage door into our house and one step. I began to cry, I told my mom “I think I see one.” I will never forget this day, and how I felt. It was such an odd experience and I felt if I spoke it out loud I would jinx it. I felt that I would go to sleep and the double vision would come back. However, I can tell you that as I am writing this to you I see one! I have some double vision in my peripheral vision, but I am able to continue on with life as I was. My eyesight is better than 20/20 which is what it was before all of this happened.
In verse 10 we see the blind man telling others “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” If we read too quickly through this passage we will miss the most important part. When Jesus tells the man to wash, the very next statement was, “So I went and washed…” Not, “I argued with Jesus because the mud on my eyes smelled,” Not, “I backed away slowly until I was far enough away to run from the crazy man.” It was simply, “Jesus said it, so I did it.” And because He chose to trust, God chose to give him his sight. From the moment I was laying in the hospital bed, I knew that I was not in control of my body or any of the doctors or nurses around me. I knew that no matter how hard I tried my situation in that moment was not going to change. However, what I did know was God was faithful and I could trust Him because His word says Proverbs 3:5-6 trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths. While I was in the hospital my mom played worship music in the hospital 24/7 because she knows it is something I love and it helps keep me in positive spirits.This was one way that we made sure God was in our situation. Every nurse, doctor, hospital employee, and visitor who stepped in to my room heard the words of the songs playing. We talk about Him, we make His name known. Even in the midst of the situation, when we have no idea what He is doing, we talk about Jesus.
Here is the thing, it is okay when people ask “how you are doing,” to say, “it is a hard day today, but I know Jesus will get me through it,” or you can even say “I’m having a really hard time seeing Jesus today, my situation feels so heavy.” Many of you in this room have felt like the burden God has called you to carry is too heavy. If that is you, let me tell you that you were never meant to carry the burden alone. We are called to give our burdens to God in Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved. Not only that even if He does ask us to carry the burden He asks us to rely on others. Galatians 6:2 bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. When we talk about the things that God has placed in our lives we can help others see Jesus more clearly. One of the reasons that I wanted to share this in a letter to you is because you supported my family in a time that was one of the hardest and darkest places for us. You loved us with the love of Christ and showed up in so many ways. From hospital visits, to prayers, to cards and flowers, you were such a testimony to not only my family, but the hospital staff that were in and out of my room. I will never be able to thank you enough, or with a dry eye.
As I close out this letter I want to pose the question to you “how can you make the most of what God is trying to do?” Covid has brought along a lot of craziness in our life. Things are not how we planned them or what we thought it would look like. However, I know that God is faithful and in control. I want to leave you with this verse Numbers 6:24-26 May the Lord bless you and kept you, the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you, the Lord lift up his face toward you and give you peace.” Thank you for your support in a time of unknown. Thank you for being the body of Christ, and the hands and feet of Jesus. I love each and everyone of you so much, you are such a blessing to me.