“No. No. No. This can’t be happening!”

These are the words that I screamed as I walked into my door room. I flung the door open and fell to the ground weeping. “No. No. No!” My two resident assistants came running to my room as they had heard the news. They walked in the door and looked at me helpless. There were no words that could console my fearful heart. I was crying so hard that I couldn’t breathe. I looked at my Bible College dorm angry at the One who had called me there. I had given up so much already. I gave up my talent and passion to follow this call and now this.

For days as administration and my family were trying to decide how to proceed, I laid under my violet comforter in a room that was miserably quiet, and wept. My roommate and best friend was living in a foreign country while my family was two states away. Filled with questions and trembling with fear, I managed to muster up only a few words to the Lord,

“Why?
Don’t you see all that I have done for you?
Why aren’t you taking care of me?”

A few weeks prior, I had finished a life changing internship in a new city with people that eventually became like family. I traveled back the three hours to begin my last year at college with dreams in my heart for the future. God was in the midst of doing something big that I do not think I could ever grasp the significance of it all. I had said “yes” to a call to move across the country after school to help start something that I never had the urge to do. Following with full abandonment to the unknown. I moved back to school and started working with children that came from struggling homes. It was the biggest blessing that would begin a season of painful questions.

“Positive,” they said.

Per regulations, the facility was required to have everyone tested for a disease I had previously known only my Papa to have had back in the day. Textbooks were filled with horror stories. And now I had tested positive for Tuberculosis. Theory had it that I contracted the disease on a short term missions trip to Africa the year prior. I left that day in complete fear. I was uneducated about the disease at the time, but the fearful questions began to arise from everyone I encountered. Doctors. Professors. Friends. Family. A few days later I was able to go home for a while to spend time to cope with my family. My safe place. But even in the midst of the place where I felt like everything would always turn out okay, I couldn’t muster up enough courage to deal with reality. The questions kept coming. But to be honest with you, most of my questions were directed to God. 

How could this happen to me?

I was serving Him, and this is how I get repaid?

I had just decided to move to a place far away from home as an act of obedience to do something I’ve never wanted to do and this is how I’m repaid?

Shouldn’t blessing follow after all that I gave up?

The questions haunted me.

I had learned so much in school. I’d been studying for years how God had remained faithful through generations in Scripture. But a feeling of entitlement had somehow crept in along the way. On the trip to Africa, we had even memorized Hebrews 11 about great men and women of faith who followed the Lord with abandonment, but never got to see their promise come to fulfillment. You would think that I could look at this minor scenario with faith-filled eyes ready to take on whatever that was thrown because “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

This has been a long season of learning to rid me of myself. It’s preached about regularly that the best is yet to come, and I absolutely stand by that. But how often do we as people of God think our obedience entitles us to the best? We may think our obedience and faithfulness to God entitles us to not experience pain, heart ache, sickness, anonymous seasons, and suffering. But where did we get this theology from? We can see from the beginning of Scripture, that pain and suffering are aspects of life that we are not disqualified from them because we are people of God. We see this from the story of Cain and Abel, the Israelites, Moses, Esther, David, the disciples, Paul, and even Jesus. Jesus, the son of God, experienced heart ache and misery. His closest friends denied Him. Judas abandoned Him. Right before Jesus was escorted away to start the trials before he was crucified we find Him in a vulnerable place with His disciples in Matthew 26.

Verses 36-39
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.”  And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.  Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

The Son of the living God fell to His face, already knowing what was about to happen, feeling the weight of everything that was about to take place. And yet He says “not as I will, but as you will." Wow.

How many times do we look to God with clinched fists as if He had forgotten to take care of us? Like He had abandoned us after we have “given so much”? Hear my heart here. God will always absolutely bless you for your obedience and your faithfulness to follow Him. But that doesn’t excuse you from pain. That doesn’t excuse you from growing. That doesn’t give you a free pass to throw your hands up at God as if saying, “How dare you let this happen after all I’ve done and given up for you’. He has remained faithful since the beginning of time and He will continue to do the same now.


It was in my senior year of college that I began to learn to trust. He knows better. He saved me and gave me life when I was undeserving. My life Scripture eventually became Romans 8:28: 



I may not understand, but that’s okay. It has never once been about me. In light of eternity, the weight of the Gospel, and the price that was paid for our lives, the call to follow Christ means to actually follow. Just follow. Through the growing pains. Through the seasons where we might feel we don’t get enough credit. The times when we feel as if God has forgotten us or doesn’t seem to be giving us all the great things we think we deserve when we want them. May we look back to Christ with humble hearts, palms up, and open hands saying, “Not as I will, but as you will.” May we remember the price that was paid for us. May we remember that in light of eternity we are called to be willing servants to pick up our cross and just follow. He has a plan. He knows. He gets it. Just wait.

Trust the One who has called you.

I waited. I had been told I would have to see a TB specialist every year for the rest of my life to make sure the disease never became active. I had fear about when I would get married and have kids of what would happen, or the extra tests I’d have to take. But I could either live in fear, or I could trust the Lord who had always remained faithful. 

About a year after this fearful incident, I was told I could get on medicine that would hopefully wipe it out. It would be nine months of intense medication, but I was willing to give it a try. Before I could start the medication, blood work had been requested to check the status of my disease again. The doctor called days later with news that I no longer had Tuberculosis. By some “weird happening” this very present disease that I clearly had through multiple tests, was no where to be found. Not even a trace. The Lord healed me. After so many tears, sleepless nights, worries, and angry conversations with the Lord, the Lord, in His graciousness and goodness, healed me!

There are no words to describe the beautiful faithfulness of our Lord. 






ABOUT ASHLEY

I am a southern girl living in the middle of the desert. Church planting full-time, leading as a small group pastor, with an incredible team in Phoenix, AZ, while working in the corporate world full-time as well. I am a lover of people, passionate about preaching/teaching the Gospel, a creative who loves anything right brained, coffee lover, baker, shutterbug, Christmas fanatic, and a music lover. To say my life is busy would be a terrible understatement, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm just your average girl who wants to do whatever it takes for people to come to know Jesus and be empowered to lead others to know Him as well.

Connect with Ashley on Instagram (@aehankins4).


2 comments:

  1. Thank you for this Ashley! I'm currently dealing with that sense of entitlement. It's really a struggle not to think that I deserve more than what is being given. But I am learning that God's provision comes in many different forms and doesn't always look quite like I expected it to. I love Romans 8:28 and how faithful our Father is!

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  2. love this ash! thx for sharing. =)

    - leah

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