Being asked recently to write a blog post on God’s provision—the wonderful, gracious, and delicious kind outlined in Isaiah 55, my mind immediately went to not just his provision, but his promise. Thinking about his promise brought to mind a beautiful blog post written by my friend Ashleigh.
Ashleigh McIntyre is a 24-year-old college student who has had Cystic Fibrosis since birth. She is currently awaiting a double lung transplant because her lungs, never fully functioning in the first place, no longer provide her with the air she needs to thrive. Her situation is as serious as any I can imagine, yet what strikes me about Ashleigh is her amazing balance of positivity in the midst of harsh realities and physical pain, and her soul-filled exploration of what God is doing in the midst of it all.
I have received her permission to share one of her blog posts, Possessing the Promise, found on her personal blog, The Good Life: Blessed, Loved, Thankful. I’m grateful to Ashleigh for sharing her journey so freely on her blog and for giving me permission to share it with you. I hope that as the Lord leads, you would pray for Ashleigh’s health as she waits for a lung transplant, and for God’s provision for all she needs.
Nancy Zugschwert, First Free Member and Blog Contributor
Possessing the Promise
By Ashleigh McIntyre, Student at North Central University, Minneapolis, Minnesota ©Ashleigh McIntyre 2017
I always believed that there were promises awaiting me that God was going to fulfill. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have always believed that one day God was going to heal me. I always believed that God had promises for me even beyond healing. Promises of a long life, a loving family of my own, and a ministry. A promise that he was always going to take care of me regardless of what the doctors said. I needed only to be patient and trust in the daily bread.
It seems as though life is a constant battle between the wanting and the waiting. My entire life has been a waiting game; a trusting game. Waiting on test results, waiting on progress, waiting on new treatment, waiting on mental, physical, and emotional healing in my life. Wanting so much for my life to look the way God had shown me, yet constantly waiting on the fulfillment of his promises. In today’s day and age, society has become a slave to instant gratification. This has caused us to become consumed with a false belief that God’s promises are always “yes” and will occur right now.
It is true that God’s promises are “yes”. I believe God is the giver of good gifts. I believe that God’s desire is to bless his children. There are countless Scriptures to support the goodness of God. It is the very essence of who he is.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11
Yes, the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Psalm 85:12
So, if God desires to give good gifts and fulfill his promises, what am I waiting for? Where is my promise? Where is my healing? Where is my breakthrough? These are questions that I often find myself asking. To be honest, these are questions that I am still learning the answers to. But, if there is one thing I have learned while waiting on the promises, it’s that the promise is a process and one that should be welcomed with open arms.
I want to take another look at the Israelites. Here we see that the people of God had been enslaved for hundreds of years when God sent Moses to deliver them from the hands of Pharaoh. They make it to the Red Sea where God parts the waters for them to cross over into freedom. Thus, the journey to the land that God had promised them begins. Now, we know the story. The Israelites grumble against God and continue to question his sovereignty and faithfulness so much that they eventually are banned from the Promised Land and are sent to wander in the wilderness for 40 years where they were forced to submit to God’s process.
See, I believe that the fault of the Israelites was not solely in their lack of belief in the promise, but rather in their refusal to submit to the process of the promise.
So many times, we read about the Israelites and criticize their cold, tainted, unthankful hearts, but I however, don’t fault them for feeling the way they felt. I can’t help but think that they had the same questions that I have had. The same questions we all have had. Where are you? Why did you bring me all this way to leave me here? Where is your faithfulness? Where is my promise? Why have you forgotten me? Why didn’t you just leave things the way they were?
They are God’s chosen people! Surely God had good things in store for them! They received a taste of the goodness of God through being delivered from slavery. Surely, they believed this new-found freedom was a sign that their promise was right around the corner! I can’t help but think they were so relieved, so filled with anticipation for what God was going to do next, so filled with hope because FINALLY God was going to fulfill the promises he had given them long ago. They got so caught up in the wanting that they forgot about the waiting. I believe there is a deeper lesson that can be learned through the Israelites: the process must precede the promise.
There is purpose in the process. We cannot expect to receive the promises of God for our life without having gone through the process. The process purifies our hearts and aligns our desires to the will of God for our lives. The process prepares us to receive the promise. God is more concerned about who we become in the process than he is about us possessing the promise. We must remember that the process is for our own benefit. There are lessons to be learned in the process. The process changes us. The process makes us. The process prepares us. The process purifies us.
There is pain in the process. As we enter the process of the promise, we must realize that there is pain in the process. The process provides necessary growth that requires a purging of self in order to purify our heart’s desires. So many times, we are like the Israelites where we lose sight of the promise because the process is too hard. Sometimes the process is painful. But there is purpose in the pain of the process.
There is provision in the process. Look at the way God provided manna for the Israelites while they were in the wilderness, while they were in the process. (Read my previous post about relying on the daily bread.) Sometimes the process can be lonely. Sometimes the promise comes in pieces, but there is a promise of provision in the process. God will never lead you where he does not intend on sustaining you.
How many times do we criticize the attitudes of the Israelites after they were delivered out of Egypt, yet we rob ourselves of our own “Promised Land?” How often do we prolong the promises of God by refusing to rest in the process? Something that I have learned in my life is that God’s promises aren’t always immediate, but they are always secure. God’s timeline is not always my timeline and God’s plans are not always my plans, nor should they be. The promise is a process and one that we often try and skip. There is nothing wrong with wanting to possess the promise. There is nothing wrong with praying for the fruition of the promise. I encourage you friends, continue to cling to those promises. Continue to trust God for those promises.
But don’t become so consumed with what God has promised, that you miss his process. Don’t get so caught up in the gift, that you forget the Giver. So often we want to rush to the promise when we need to rest in the process. If you want to possess the promise, you must also possess the process. There are lessons to be learned in the process. There are things God is trying to teach us in the process. The truth of the matter is, you can never prevent the promises of God. They will always prevail. But you can prolong his promises by refusing his process. There can be no promise without a process.
Read more about Ashleigh: North Central Student Awaits Double Lung Transplant