Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Awards Presentation!

Presentation of Awards for Invisible Illness, Visible God
I'm honored and humbled to receive a Bronze Medal for the Devotional Category of the Illumination Book Awards. My husband Dave has been disabled by an “Invisible” Illness for 13 years now (he was eventually diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease). In fact, I find it staggering that nearly one in two Americans has some kind of invisible illness—something they deal with on a daily basis that others can’t really see, whether it’s cancer, asthma, learning disabilities, anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, chemical sensitivities, or any number of other conditions.

Sometimes a diagnosis comes quickly, and other times we can search for years, trying to find out what’s wrong with ourselves or a loved one.  Either way, the answers can come as a crushing shock. One day our world comes to a screeching halt—but the rest of the world continues on, largely oblivious.

In some ways, many more of us have an “invisible illness.”  Not all hurts come with a diagnosis. Anyone who has lived with the pain of broken dreams, unmet expectations, the death of a loved one, regrets, fears, worries—has lived with a private pain that the world just can’t see.

But God sees. God understands. God cares. And Jesus continually intercedes and acts on our behalf with power.  He is:
…one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life…
~ Hebrews 7:16
When I first read this, I was blown away because I realized that since Jesus is in me, then this power of an indestructible life is in me, and I could rest in that power. Something more powerful than my emotions, a peace that passes understanding! And since we are in Christ—this peace is a sure refuge. This inspired me to write Invisible Illness, Visible God: When Pain Meets the Power of an Indestructible Life.

We are not powerless. 

Jesus is our priest on the basis of the power of an indestructible life—an immense power to overcome immense pain. On our own we drum up despair, depression, thoughts of death—and he comes to save us with life-giving power. God offers us the ability to walk through the flames and come out more beautiful. God enables us to choose life over death, and to choose love over bitterness. We are weak, but his power rescues us. He is the better hope by which we draw near to God.

Often we want the physical miracle, the visible one—and sometimes instead he makes himself and his love visible to us. Pain meets the Power of an Indestructible Life, full on, face to face—and God calls us to fix our eyes on him.

The power of an Indestructible Life

His love endures forever—Psalm 107:1
His faithfulness reaches to the skies—Psalm 108:4
His righteousness endures forever—Psalm 111:3
His salvation lasts forever—Isaiah 51:6
His covenant is everlasting—Ezekiel 37:26
He betroths us to him forever—Hosea 2:19
He puts his Name on us forever—1 Kings 9:3
His sanctuary is among us forever—Ezekiel 37:26
He lives with us forever—2 John 2
He will swallow up death forever—Isaiah 25:8
He reigns forever—Psalm 9:7
He gives us his Holy Spirit forever—John 14:6
His word stands forever—1 Peter 1:25
He remembers his covenant forever—Psalm 111:5
He is a priest forever, he has sworn!—Hebrews 7:21

Imagine—Jesus never, ever stops interceding for you, his beloved, his delight.  He uses the greatest, most extraordinary power that exists on our behalf, to be our priest, our intercessor, our guarantee, our hope. He could condemn us and instead betroths us and unites us with him.

Indestructible life.  Forever.  That is the surety, the rock, of his covenant with us.

His mighty power encouraged me in my darkest days, and I pray that you also will draw strength from his power.

Invisible Illness, Visible God: Illumination Bronze Medal Winner


jani said...

Congratulations, Merry!

I pray this book will reach so many who need the encouragement that you've brought.


Lauren said...

Dear Merry, thank you for writing your family story and journey down to share with us! I am so encouraged this morning as I read your words. Just the reminder and hope I needed this week as we have been walking a very difficult road with my sister, Adele. So grateful for God's presence and peace in unspeakable ways, because Jesus and His mighty power are IN me. Thankful for my cousin, on the other side of the planet, who sent me your link♥

Merry said...

Thanks Jani!

Merry said...

I'm glad it was encouraging, Sprinted. Sorry you've been down a difficult road with your sister. Yes...greater is HE who is IN US!