Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Hi my Friends. I am honored and humbled by your response to my God story. I thank God for you and your acceptance of me. I did not want to share with you or anyone the accounts that I have invited you to read, it really was God’s leading. I don’t like to share intimate details of my life, and I did with reservations. Although, I must say through this experience, God has bandaged some wounds. Last weekend when this crazy idea came about, I thought, “No Lord. No one would care and no one needs to know. This is between you and me, us four (Father, Son, Spirit and Me) and no more.” None the less, I knew that it was God calling me to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that my labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).
I want to conclude this series with one of my favorite Bible stories found in John 9*. Jesus is walking with the disciples when He notices a man who had been blind from birth. The disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him (verses 2-3). I can relate so much to that blind man, I know you can too. So many times I have questioned God as to why I had to go through certain situations or even questioned Him about a current one. Am I being punished for something that have done or not done? Why are you allowing me to go through this? God, have I sinned? And that answer may sometimes be a yes, for I am not exempt from the consequences to my dumb actions, but most of the time the Lord’s response is, “Raquel, its not that you have sinned, but that my works may be revealed through you.” OHHH, I get it… I think!
We must continue with the story of the blind man in order to fully understand. The scripture tells us that Jesus spat on the ground and made clay with His saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay (verse6). I can’t help but feel at times, like the blind man, trials, guilt, shame, persecution feel like dirt and saliva. And I almost want to shout, “Really Lord? Is there any other way?” But we can’t question His methods when we know His track record, and it is always for our good.The Lord will use all kinds of methods in pursuing you. So, now that we are stained, tainted, filthy and beaten down, what’s next? Jesus gives the blind man a command, to go wash himself in the pool of Siloam (verse 7). I find his obedience both sweet and faith filled too. He went and came back seeing. What an awesome picture of the blessing that is produced, when in our own trials, as a lily among thorns, we wash oursleves with the Word of God and we step out in obedience. I love it!
What takes place next is where I can fully understand why I endured hardship, heartache, blindness, hunger, tribulations of all sorts. The people in John 9 notice the difference, they see a man who was born blind now being able to see. They question Him and He shares what Jesus has done for Him. The people take the blind man to the Pharisees for investigation and even call in His parents. It’s so cool, this man who once was an outcast, limited by his disability, depressed I’m sure, feeling useless and without a purpose, confused and worn out, was now joy filled with joy, boldness, courageous and even preaching! This man, redeemed, set free and given a new opportunity declared before all that He was once blind and thanks to Jesus, now he can see. He made statements like, “If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.” What this man may have seen as a God forsaken curse was really part of God’s divine plan and workmanship. Our lives should always reveal God's glory to a dying world. Ok God, I really get it. Let your will be done!
This wonderful story has helped me understand that the bitterness of my past happened so that God would be revealed. As insane as the following may sound to you, I prayed one year, “Lord teach me to suffer. Allow me to go through heartaches that I have not yet experienced so that others can see you in my life.” Let me tell you, that year was the last time I prayed that prayer. But I thank God for answering it. Not only did others see Jesus sustaining me and building me up but I learned how to depend on Him alone. He is all that I need.
On my trip to Italy, I learned a valuable lesson. To make a long story short, a native Italain asked me what I thought of Italy. I told him, “Italia is beautiful.” To which he responded, in the most respectful way, “No, you make Italia beautiful.” Those words impacted me in a tremendous way. Not in a fleshly, romantic way… I heard the voice of God speaking to me. I heard the Creator of Heaven and Earth say, that I, the woman who betrayed Him so many times, was still beautiful to Him. The lesson learned was that no matter what, I was, I am and will forever be worth dying for to Jesus. It reiterated to me, that no matter what I do, what I don’t do, what ever I say or don’t say God will love me always. It was a total Hosea 2* moment.
God has been so good to me. As a child I was born with a deep desire to help people but I went about it the wrong way. Jesus has given me purpose and a calling greater than anything I could have imagined: to go out and make disciples of all nations (that may be the supermarket at times, not just another country!). He has restored broken relationships. Like my sister and I, we are best friends now, by choice. I love my sister more now, than ever before. My love for her is an overflowing fountain that I know will never stop flowing. She is an amazing woman who loves God more than life itself. She is a blessing. I couldn’t ask for a better sister than her. Papi and I are a work in progress and our love for each other is expressed in a very weird way but it’s growing. Anorexia is a sin, an addiction, it blinds, it binds and destroys. I have to constantly renew my mind with His Word. The thoughts are always there, even though it's been over 12 years. Once you've tasted how good the Lord is, I think you don't care for the pleasures of this world... but the Spirit is willing and the flesh is weak so I pray pray pray! And God promises a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13) always! I am His workmanship and He is not done with me yet. My aim is that when I get to Heaven, to hear my Prince, My Jesus, Redeemer and Lord say to me, “compared to other women, You Raquel, my beloved, was a like a lily among thorns. Come in.”
My prayer is that you would have heard from God through my story. No matter where you came from, no matter where you are today- God wants to be revealed through your life. I would like to encourage you to share your story. I challenge you also, to take inventory of your life through Song of Songs 1:7:
“Tell me, my love, where are you leading your flock today?
Where will you rest your sheep at noon?
For why should I wander like a prostitute
among your friends and their flocks?”
Are you being Spirit led or self led?
Are you surrounding yourself with the flock of God or with the wolves, even with wolves in sheep’s clothing?
Are you being fed by the Shepherd?
Are you resting in His presence? In His promises? In His hope?
Or are you like a prostitute who sells herself short of her worth in God?
Are you wandering aimlessly through this life?
Or are you living the life God created you to live?
I am excited for all that God is about to do in You, through You and around You as you live as a Lily among Thorns. May you be captivated each day more and more by Jesus as you seek to know Him and make Him known. May He be revealed through every area of your life now and forevermore.
PS- You, make Italia beautiful : )
*Click here to read John 9 and Hosea 2:14