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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

All We Need is A Flicker of Hope

Here I sit, ten days away from the new year, wondering where the past seven weeks have gone. A storm that rolled into my life towards the end of October has not yet ceased in its fury. It has crashed upon my health but deeply impacted other areas of my life, too. And it has distracted me from posting to this blog as much as I would like.

God must have something good for me in 2012, because the trials have been so absurd and profound that even those who don't believe in demons would have to concede that this unrelenting hell is a bit out of the ordinary, even for those who deal with the hardships of chronic illness on a daily basis.

So I'm trying to look on the bright side, but I gotta admit, endless suffering has a way of stealing hope from the heart.

Ordinarily, when I spend time with God in prayer, or peruse the notebook of amazing and multitudinous (but unfulfilled) prophecies that He has given me over the past several years, (which include many promises to restore my health and all that has been stolen from me over the past decade), I am encouraged.

But hope deferred makes the heart sick, and I have told God repeatedly over the past two months that I don't "have it in me" anymore. People have always told me that I'm a fighter, and indeed, I am a strong soul. But for the first time in my life, telling God to heal me or take me off the planet has become more of a routine prayer than I'd like to admit.

I'm not suicidal, nor have I ever had the inclination, but even the strongest of the strong can only endure so much suffering without wishing they weren't stuck in this broken and busted up Garden of Eden anymore.

I know God uses me for His purposes. I have published five books on healing and medicine, and I minister healing to the sick on a regular basis. I can't leave this planet because I know I'm being used, but I could use a bit more happiness and comfort in my days. I need to be well, instead of being holed up in my house, living the lifestyle of a woman fifty years my senior.

I've gone through intense seasons of physical and emotional suffering before. Much of the past decade has been blacked out by these tremendous trials, but what has made the latest one unique-and perhaps more difficult- is the lack of hope I have experienced through it.

It's just been too long. I've confessed my lack of faith to God, prefacing my tirades to Him with, "I'm sorry, God, but I just can't muster up what isn't there. I want to believe you, but the despair is winning right now."

I took the matter to Him again last night, and He responded by giving me an image of a lit match flickering in the darkness, wavering and weak, as if ready to extinguish at the slightest puff of wind. The match represented my hope.

And then, it was as if God was saying that He could create a fire from that faint light in my heart. He didn't need me to have grandiose hope. He knew I was tired, and that I have been through too much. Few people can endure a severe chronic illness for years and still have sky-high hope for better days ahead. My feelings were normal and He wasn't going to punish me for not "believing more." That revelation in itself increased the size of the flame of my little hope match.

Because our society is so performance-oriented, it's easy to slip into believing that unless we have the right thoughts towards God, He can't heal us, or bless our lives. I'm probably more guilty of that than most people. And when circumstances don't change, you can't help but wonder what you are doing wrong.

But sugar-coating despair with words that we think God wants to hear, or to convince ourselves that God is going to bless us, does nothing but shove that hopelessness further down into the soul, where it begins to fester and silently torment us.

We can't increase hope by our own strength, any more than we can muster up faith by affirming God's truths. Neither strategy works, and while speaking words of truth and carrying out right actions can sometimes change the heart, it is also true that out of the heart the mouth speaks, and when the heart is broken, the mouth responds accordingly. When hope is gone, we don't need a bridle on our tongues as much as we need surgery in our hearts.

The good news is, when only a glimmer of hope remains, God can take that faint light and make a fire from it- which burns out the dross of unbelief, pain and every defiance of God's promises.

For many days, I cried out to God in despair, fear gripping me because I couldn't kick-start the hope that I have always maintained. And while I have yet to experience God's warmth upon me, the light within me has become a tad brighter, because I know that it is He who will rekindle the fire. I can't do it. My wilderness is too cold, and I'm too tired.

Yet I must seek His face and spend time in His Word...because only by immersing myself in the reality of Him can this hope return. Hope is a byproduct of spending time in His presence It springs up naturally from a soul and spirit that are in communion with Him. It also eventually makes manifest that which was initially hoped for.

All that I, that we, have to do, is seek His face. Let the enemy or the world not delude us into thinking there is another way to peace. There isn't. He is the restorer of all things. It doesn't matter that only a flicker of hope, or faith, remains. It is enough for Him to work with.

Tonight, as I light a Christmas candle, and study its dancing flame, I am reminded that Jesus Christ came to earth to be a light for every soul on the planet. His light brings hope to our hearts, and shines brightly within us, that we may transfer this same hope into the hearts of those around us.

Silent Night, Holy Night, All is Calm, All is Bright...


  1. Connie, I'm so sorry you for all you're enduring. Although I don't know the details, I relate so much to what you've written here. I am actually feeling the very same.

    Thank you for sharing your heart. I needed to hear this. And you are so right; His light does bring hope to our hearts. Thanks for transferring some of it to me. And thank you for expressing, what I call, your broken hallelujah. I think it's beautiful and touches the very Heart of God! I'm praying for you. You are loved.

    Christmas Blessings,

  2. I agree with Michelle here Connie...your broken hallelujah is what we all share and it touches us all and it does touch the Heart of God. I have struggled some in the past couple of weeks with depression which is new for me. Usually a day or two of being down but not the deep sadness and depression I have felt this year. Some of it is due to the anniversary of our son Kevin's death and the death of my mother in law, but the rest is the death so to speak of dreams. It is difficult to not dwell on another year being gone and a battle still being fought. BUT we are NOT alone in this. I do like the verse that says to rest and not worry because the Lord will fight the battle for you. He is fighting right now for you need only rest in His loving arms and give Him your small light of hope. He will make it a bonfire! Praying for you friend and rejoicing in the servant of God you are.
    Renee from the prayer group

  3. Connie & Friends

    Sadly we are being tested here on earth for the life we will be granted in the journey. There are so many unanswered questions we all have. We endure with so many struggles and so many questions. Each must endure and know the Kingdom of our Savior is in front of us. Patience & Faith guide us all, but they must sustain in our darkest moments. Faith is a really difficult understanding sometimes because it offers so many unanswered questions. The darkness we are in, brings light to those who trust, with faith & time prevails with understanding! Pray with your struggles and without incessantly and your faith will be rewarded! Prayer & Patience is a must for eternity not on this earth. Yahweh Blessings to you Connie and friends! Mark

  4. Dear Connie, and fellow travelers sharing the dusty and bumpy road on the journey of life,

    I can certainly hear the anguish in your prose, Connie, and I feel the unselfish outpouring of support from your blog followers. I hope you find some solace in their expressions. Your heart’s flickering flame is perhaps burning just a little brighter for their efforts..? I truly hope so. Please know that I, also, send you warm & heartfelt wishes of support during these troubling times in your life.

    You are so wonderfully gifted in your ability to convey your thoughts into the printed word. In fact, I found your “flickering” metaphor for hope to be most decidedly endearing. I sense, however, from the other responses that perhaps your tormented verbal rendering of your personal pain may have somewhat over shadowed the final thesis of the rest of your message. Which, I might add, you are the true embodiment. When you finished your blog entry by writing:

    “His light brings hope to our hearts, and shines brightly within us, that we may transfer this same hope into the hearts of those around us.”

    …I could tell that you were intending to pass along a more lasting teaching than to just share your discomfort broadly and simply wait for catharsis through sympathy from others’ responses. In my opinion you were, in a certain manner, simply lighting the way to your own path, and everyone else’s, by sharing the warmth within your heart with others. And I believe this because I have seen you exhibit it through your own actions.

    The only time I have ever met you was at a gathering of mutual friends, a mere two days before you penned this blog entry. We had chatted for several minutes and exchanged the usual pleasantries of polite people before my prior commitments forced me to have to leave the gathering early, not even knowing your last name let alone the breadth of your work and personal struggles, but what was abundantly clear to me was that you are very special, indeed.

    What I mean is, in spite of your deep and agonizing personal struggles and chronic afflictions, when you entered the home where the holiday party was being held you brought along with you an aura positive energy which you, in turn, passed along to all you engaged. Your obvious striking looks have their own affects on a crowd, of course, but what I’m talking about isn’t skin deep. It was the way in which you chatted with others, many of whom were not your equal in either intellect or poise, but you were nonetheless amiable and listened intently to them and shared your altruistic warmth and you showed genuine interest in their troubles while at the same time you masked your own underlying angst. In essence, you gave more warmth from your heart that night than you ever asked for in return from anyone else.

    And that, Connie, is what makes you a sincere conduit of the Christian ethos. We are all implored by the Faith to walk in the shadow of the philosophies of Christ and embrace the light rather than to simply give lip service to the words of the testament. You, however, have demonstrated a mastery of both.

    By the way, “Thank You” for that nice chat the other night it made a great impression. I see by your multitude of books that you are making the world a better place by using your Chronic Lyme Disease struggles to inspire others. I take my hat off to you for that..! It takes a strong person, with even stronger convictions, to be so embolden while all the time your body is telling you to surrender to the fatigue and malaise that is omnipresent.

    All I can say is keep inspiring… And I’ll try to embrace your edict a little more often and share some of the flicking flame from my own heart for the good of others, as well.

    Very “warmest” regards,
    Randy Swan

  5. Hi All! Thank you and may you be blessed for your kind words towards me. For some reason, I am not being notified when people post comments to my blog, so I am just getting around to reading these! (One month later).

    Michelle and Renee- I'm sorry you have been through so much heartbreak, lately, too. So many prophets have said that this has been a rough season for God's people. Just tonight (Jan. 28th) Leif Hetland, an international minister, said that the trials in the latter half of 2011 were extraordinary for 80 percent of those who follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. This (2012) is supposed to be a year of refreshing and perhaps we have that to look forward to! Much love and many blessings to you all-

  6. Hi Randy,

    Wow- I just saw your heartfelt response to my post. I apologize for the delayed reply. Thank you for taking an interest in my struggles, and for taking the time to pen such compassionate, encouraging words. I don't know that I deserve such accolades but it encourages my heart to know that I am blessing others. I receive great comfort from people like you, who see God at work in me and who, by their kind words, are part of the reason that I am able to continue to do what I do. I am thankful for you and all those who lift me up- through their words, faith and actions. May you be richly blessed in all that you do. I was greatly humbled and encouraged as I read this tonight! Connie