August 10, 2005
And he [Elijah] came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?... 11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him. 1Kings 19:1-13.
For many years, my home has served as a cave. When I became ill with trigeminal neuralgia, I found refuge in my home’s protection. It offered me shelter from the winds that caused electrocution-type pains to strike the right side of my face. My house provided solace from noises that also aggravated the neurological disorder. Yet as time continued, this cave began to reek of isolation. Because I seldom left my house, I began to feel lonely. I no longer felt confident interacting with others, especially in a group. Because the pain grew more severe when I brushed my teeth or washed my face, my desire to leave my shelter began to diminish even further. Several years into the struggle, I realized that I did not want others to even look at me.
When the pain reached its highest peak, I was healed by the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ. I stopped taking my pain medication immediately. I expected to spring back to where I had been seven years before, but my expectations were askew. I remained home, adjusting to life without medicine and without pain. Although I could brush my teeth and apply cosmetics, I remembered the pain every time I began to groom myself. God was faithful, and His mercy brought me through this process unscathed. I recognized the face in the mirror, but my personality had changed so much that I no longer knew what to expect from myself.
I spent months after my healing just getting to know who I had become. During this time, I had much time to spend alone with God. I knew that no amount of praise would be adequate, but I wanted to worship my Lord and Savior. As I became more accustomed to life without constant pain, I began to venture out more. I quickly learned that I had to pace myself. I also began to wonder about God’s plan for my life.
I realized that I had many decisions to make and knew that I would not be happy if I were not in God’s will. As I began to seek God’s design for my life, the Bible passage above quickened my spirit like a lightening rod. I realized that no need for me to hide existed. God’s love, not my home, protects me. For many years, I went outside only with a scarf around my face in an effort to combat the scalding wind. Through God’s mercy I had endured the wind, survived an emotional earthquake, and I had been healed from the fiery pains that raged in my face. Now the time had come for me to stand on the mountain.
As I ascended to a spiritual mountain top, I noticed how exposed I might be once I reached my destination. The top of this mountain has room for only one person, so I stand on it alone. Just as no one could experience my pain while I fought for my healing, no one can experience my victory. When I first stood alone on this peak, I thought I might lose my balance and plummet. Although I have been met with challenges since arriving at this summit, God has sustained me. I have faltered but have not fallen. The mountain on which I stand might be high, but it is solidly comprised of resilient resources: redemption, prayer, faith, love, and the Word of God. I wait here for God’s still small voice. I am not a prophet like Elijah. I am an ordinary person who received a miracle, and I will forever proclaim God’s mercy.
Have you read With Great Mercy?