Friday, July 28, 2006

Rebecca's Journey - 76

Dear Friends,

We're in the mist of "full summer" here. Temperatures in Belgium have been in the mid to high 90's F (upper 30's C) for the last two weeks. It is a great break from our long winter, but witheringly hot!

Bill & Susan Hightower are here for several months. They, and their children, have been a delight. Judy is back in the States for this period. Susannah and Annie are here, and I've been traveling some.

In early August, we'll be in De Hann at the beach hotel/hospital where we've spent a week each of the last several summers. Stephen will be here for several weeks, including this time away.

From Rebecca: "I've been through a period of not sleeping well for the first time since my accident. I was becoming more and more tired. The other morning Melissa Christensen, a young friend (16 years old) was helping with my morning care. I said to her: 'O, Melissa, I'm just so tired.' She said: 'O, Rebecca, that's great! The Lord must be developing new endurance in you. That's what it says in James. Our trials develop endurance.'

"I said: 'O Melissa, say it again!' She said it, and I said once more, 'I think I need to hear it again. Please say it once more.'

"That night I was again too warm in my bed. (You see, when I'm in my bed, and I get too hot or cold, there is almost nothing I can do about it myself. Since I have only partial use of one hand and arm, I'm just able, in a limited fashion, to push my covers down a little. I do have a button that I can push and call either Annie or Susannah, depending who's on call that night. But I hate to do that. As my care-givers, who also have many other responsibilities, they are often weary. I know what it means to them to be awakened, so I try not to call them if I can possibly help it.) That morning, I could tell by the light coming through the drapes and the bird songs that it was very close to the time when they would come to get me up. Sometimes someone comes a little early, so I began to pray for this. Often I spend that time in fruitful prayer, but that morning I could only pray for someone to come! In the midst of my prayer the Lord said to me: 'You're looking for deliverance, not endurance,' - after all the lessons of the day before!

"You can imagine that as they were preparing me to go down into the garden for my time with the Lord, I asked to have my Bible open at James 1, that I might meditate on those words to which Melissa had referred.

"This portion of Scripture is underlines and marked, with many notations, because it is one that has meant so much to me through the years. I've studied it particularly in the JB Phillip's translation. At one point I memorized it. But that morning, as I meditated on it, I saw a picture in my mind. I saw myself with a circle drawn around me. It was a circle that represented the extent of my faith. Within that circle I was comfortable and my faith was strong. Then I saw the Lord take me outside that circle into another area. I was shaky and uncomfortable. I realized that my faith level wasn't up for this new experience. I had to endure being uncomfortable until He worked in me a new level of faith. In the process, my circle was getting bigger and bigger.

"'O Lord, give us willing hearts to recognize the trials that you send as opportunities to grow in faith and endurance, as we become all that You would have us become.'

"Let me quote for you this portion of Scripture from the Phillip's

"'When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you that quality of endurance.
But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed and you will find that you have become men of true character, men of integrity with no weak spots.'"

Love from us both,

Paul & Rebecca

PS Bill & Susan and family will be returning to the US mid August, so the house across the street will again be empty. Please pray with us about who should live there in this next season. Bill, Susan, and their children have been a wonderful blessing, a great help with Rebecca's care, and a joy to be with.

PPS There will be two new girls coming early in the autumn to help with Rebecca's care - such a blessing. We're looking forward to meeting them and having them here. Please be praying for them and for all the adjustments that take place with changing staff.