Feb 7, 2007

Hope does not disappoint us

Today, I noticed for the first time that Ian's right eye appears completely normal. Up to this point, it's been a crazy eye. The pupil would wander and wouldn't always be in sync with his left eye, and it would never completely close. I noticed today that none of that is true anymore. He looked at me with both eyes in sync, and when he closed them they were both completely closed. He also uses his left hand fairly consistently to stroke his beard and feel his face and neck. Small things like this show progress and are encouraging.

I've been wrestling with a Scripture passage from Romans 5. It says, "...we...rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us..." I've been wrestling, because, quite honestly, I don't want to rejoice in my sufferings (or difficulties). I don't like them. I don't like what's happened to Ian.

In a message by Dave Harvey that made an impact on me, he said that faith looks up (to God) and faith looks back (to His faithfulness). It occurred to me that hope looks up to God, too (the source of the gift of a bright future), but hope looks forward (to the day when we'll be with Him). It looks forward so that earth's pleasures and difficulties pale, and their hold on me decreases. These difficulties have definitely produced in me a greater focus on the day when I'll be with Christ in heaven, and I trust the same has happened for Ian if he's aware of what's happening to him.

Lord, help us (especially Ian) to rejoice in these difficulties, because they sharpen our focus on the Day that matters most. That hope does not disappoint us.



Anonymous said...

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick". Our hearts are often "sick" due to our sorrow over what Ian is presently enduring. Yet, when we are able to look at the true source of our only hope, in both this life and the next, we have peace. Thanks for your honesty and guidance to point us to Christ yet again. GLA

Anonymous said...

Your family is constantly on my mind. Thank you so much for taking the time to keep us updated. Ian, and the people he loves most, will be daily in my prayers.
-Rochelle at GCC

TimKurtz said...

Steve, Thanks for sharing this. I continue to pray for Ian. -tim

Ellen T said...

Just so you know...I do read this blog almost daily and I appreciate all the little things and big things that you share. It gives me hope and paints a picture that is becoming more and more complete.
I love that he is able to close his eyes and focus. I love that God is teaching all of you so much and such rich insights.
Thanks for faithfully sharing!!

Tori said...

I am so glad to hear the good report on Ian's eye. What a blessing.

I have to admit that I also don't like what has happened to Ian, the Murphy family and Larissa and sometimes just cry for all of you when I think of how hard this trial is and cry out to our Father regularly asking Him to remove this trial.

Then I remember that His ways are not my ways and that we deserve far worse than this. I remember how many people have posted on this blog how this trial has brought them closer to the Lord and how your faith, trust and hope in the Lord has encouraged them to press on through their difficult times. I remember that this world is not our home and as you said, we look forward to the day when we will be with Him.

I pray for you all daily that the Lord will give you grace, mercy and strength to trust in Him for all each day brings. I also pray for complete healing for Ian...and quickly too.

Thank you all for your heroic example of trusting God in the most difficult of times and for pressing on. The Kingdom has surely been impacted by your example and God has received much glory.

Ian Lotinsky said...

Thank you for keeping us updated and letting us know how to pray for Ian and all of you who are closest to him. I am filled with increasing faith each time I read.

I was recently studying that same Scripture. In addition to finding out that the variation of the Greek word for "in" used in that specific verse means "in the midst of" and not "because of," Matthew Henry explains in his commentary: "Tribulation worketh patience, not in and of itself, but the powerful grace of God working in and with the tribulation. It proves, and by proving improves, patience, as parts and gifts increase by exercise. It is not the efficient cause, but yields the occasion, as steel is hardened by the fire."

This was extremely helpful for me, as I sought to not only understand the verse, but to agree with it in fullness of faith.

God is gracious.

Anonymous said...

I have been praying for Ian ever since I heard about his accident. Your faith in God through this whole time is very encouraging to me.

Moriah Freeman CCL