John and I went for a long evening walk last night, to enjoy the lingering light of our first hot summer day. We both struggled. Feet swelled and backs jolted with aches and pain. Energy fell below what we have always known before and it felt so discouraging. We came home and settled in for the sweet shalom of the Sabbath.
This morning I opened my prayer journal from last year, and "happened" upon the page for July 27, 2016. I know the Spirit led me there to re-examine what God revealed to me about aging. I wrote:
"Aging is becoming real to me. I am only 65 - but already there are signs of this "tent" breaking down; torn meniscus in my knee, pain in my muscles, so much less energy! Life has been heavy and hard the last five years. The glorious Wedding began these five years of so many crises.
"But recently I watched a video of David Davis - Pastor of the wonderful Kehilat haCarmel congregation in Haifa, Israel. He was preaching after coming back from near-death to cancer. He said that he believes - and in his near-death experience God showed him - that our aging process is difficult, with much affliction because we are being transformed into Messiah's image. Oh, how you suffered, Yeshua! Your submission and sacrifice made You perfect. Your suffering was the process of holiness. Your resurrection assured your people of eternal life with You; but our journey to get there also includes suffering and submission.
"I have now watched some people in my life - including both my parents - suffer in faith and in joy, never losing their focus on You and the destiny they were moving toward: eternal life with You, where all suffering ceases and all tears are wiped away!
"Through those lens I begin to see why believers who love You are suffering so much right now. It is not all attack of the Adversary. Much of what we are going through is so that we will draw deeper and deeper into God, submitting the pain and the sorrow, disappointment and illness, to Him, knowing and believing that it is all conforming us to the image of His Son, our Redeemer King, who first suffered for us.
"David Davis' limbs quivered and fought to stay upright as he delivered his message. His voice strained to be heard in its weakness. His eyes beamed Christly-light through heavy lids. Looking at his cancer-ravaged body, I thought of Isaiah 53: 'He had no beauty or majesty that we should be attracted to him; nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.' So there he was, on the stage at Kehilat ha Carmel , where he has stood, and where we were greatly blessed to meet and hear him, proclaiming the True Gospel to Jews, Gentiles and Arabs, bringing them together to worship Messiah King Yeshua. And he showed that he will do this until his last breath!
"God's saints do not have it easy. Perfection is not attained on the road of comfort.
Philippians 1:29: For it has been granted to you on behalf of Messiah not only to believe on Him but also to suffer for Him.
Pastor David Davis passed into Glory on May 8, 2017. His suffering in this life has come to an end and he is fully transformed into the perfection of the One he served so selflessly and passionately in the Land of Israel!
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