Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Good-Bye to Me

Leslie Basham: When Damaris Carbaugh was a teenager, she said didn’t read the Bible much, but she especially avoided one biblical author . . .

Damaris Carbaugh: I didn’t like Paul’s letters. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I didn’t like them because I just felt there was so much correction in them. We’re about to find out what Damaris learned to love about these Epistles.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts for Wednesday, May 21, 2014.

Today Nancy will be talking with our guest, Damaris Carbaugh. To get started, let’s hear some of her music:

Damaris (singing):

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops;
What if Your healing comes through tears;
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near;
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.1

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We’re continuing our conversation this week with my friend Damaris Carbaugh. You’ve been listening to Damaris sing this beautiful song, "Blessings," recorded on her new-ish CD Walk With Me. Damaris, that’s such a gorgeous song written by Laura Story. The message is so powerful.

Thank you for being here to discuss what is a hard subject, and that is the whole thing of trials. We want to talk about that today. Thanks for joining us on Revive Our Hearts today.

Damaris: It’s my joy, Nancy. Thanks for having me. It’s wonderful to be here.

Nancy: If you’ve not heard the past couple of days, the conversation with Damaris, you’ll want to go to ReviveOurHearts.com and pick up the transcripts or listen to the program, so you can hear some more of the songs from this CD.

We’re also offering this CD to our listeners this week, as our way of saying thank you if you make a donation of any amount to this ministry. We’ll be glad to send you this music, which I think will really minister to your heart and home as it has in mine.

You may be familiar with Damaris, having heard her sing in different places over the years. You were with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. You sang with them for quite a while and were on some of their albums. And then you sang with Discovery House Music and produced a lot of CDs with them. You were on some of the Day of Discovery television programs. You have a long background there. Listeners may have seen or heard you there.

God has done such a work of grace in your life. This latest album really reflects that. In fact, your husband was telling me you call this your “grown-up” CD because there’s such a message of dying to selfish desires. That’s really been the growing testimony and pilgrimage of your own journey.

This is something coming out of your own heart—not just textbook, not just theory. You’ve seen how the things that we sometimes think we have to have or that we desperately long for—the things that we think are the greatest blessings God could give us—they aren’t necessarily the things that are really best for us. You've seen that He wants to give us so much more.

Damaris: I really believe that sometimes the things that we have conjured up in our mind—what would really bring me joy if I could experience the joy of motherhood, or the joy of being married, or this career or that career . . .

Nancy: . . . even ministry. I know people probably come to you, as they do to me, and say, “I’d like to do what you do. I’d like to have a teaching ministry or a singing ministry or write books.” You realize that anything you have to have to be happy, other than Jesus, is something less than what He really wants to give.

Damaris: Absolutely. Exactly. And we don’t realize it, but these things do become idols.

Nancy: Little “g” gods.

Damaris: Unbelievable, yes they do. Nancy, you were such a blessing in my life some years ago. I want the listeners to know this. I went through something very, very difficult, that would not go away. That’s how I felt: “This doesn’t go away!” I shared it with you. It was really something I wanted God to fix—“Fix it, and now!”

And you said to me, “Damaris, you need to be careful that this problem does not become an idol.” I had never in my life thought of a problem like that—something you’re going through. It could be a wayward child; it could be a wayward husband; it could be a failed business or bankruptcy or illness, cancer. You think, How can this situation be happening? 

Nancy: There can be an obsession with fixing it. That’s what can become the idol. 

Damaris: I remember at the time thinking, No, that’s not an idol. I didn’t tell you that. No way! An idol is that I want fame and fortune. I only thought of an idol as something that seems good in my eyes, but it’s not what the Lord wants.

No! An idol is, to me, anything that takes up more time than my focus on, “Lord, You’re the only thing I need. You’re the only One I need. You will walk through this thing with me. It’s not necessarily that I will be delivered, but You will walk with me through this thing.”

I had to repent. I had to say, “Forgive me, Lord, for obsessing over this thing. I need to obsess over You.” You can’t obsess over the Lord, really, that’s the wonderful thing about it. You can’t overdo it. You can just say, “You’re what I want.”

Sadly, (and some people don’t want to embrace this) the only thing that starts to teach us the deeper things, the stuff that you really need to know to understand who God is—is suffering. We don’t want to embrace that, but it is.

Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered. Which means that He practiced, I think, following the will of God through the things He suffered. It wasn’t that He learned obedience as if He had been disobedient, and the Lord said, “Okay, I’m going to teach you a lesson now.” No! But He was learning to obey the Father through the things which He suffered.

What makes us think that there’s any other way for us? If the perfect, spotless, sinless Lamb of God learned to follow God’s will through the things He suffered, then that’s our path; that’s the way it has to be.

Nancy: Although, we want it any other way, right? We would never want to write the script that way.

Damaris: Oh, my word! And yet, that’s what I love about this song, "Blessings."  

What if Your blessings come through raindrops;
What if Your healing comes through tears;
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near;
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

We don’t want to even think that, just maybe, the Lord has allowed this thing to come to strengthen us. It really is His mercy. It’s unbelievable. We don’t think of it as a good thing, but it is.

I love Romans 11:36, “For from him and through him and to him are all things.” I like to say that the “from Him” are all the good stuff: my kids, my husband, my church family, you, Nancy—you’ve come from Him. But the “through Him,” to me, represents the things that He has allowed to happen—9/11 did not take God by surprise. God allowed it.

I want to tell people, “Do you think we have the answers, do we know why God allowed it?” Absolutely not! Someday it will all be clear, but right now all I know is that God is good, and for some reason He has allowed it. But this I know, He will be glorified. It will all, in the end, work out somehow, so powerfully, so wonderfully.

It’s these difficult things that we don’t want to embrace that are where we learn, where we grow. That’s what I love about this particular song. There’s nothing wrong with praying for God’s blessings, nothing wrong with praying for peace, and praying for comfort. I love this line: "Or pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering; and all the while You hear each spoken need, yet love us way too much to give us lesser things.”

I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes what we want to get us out of the things that we don’t want—if He answered us the way we want—to Him, those are lesser things.

Nancy: That’s really the perspective the apostle Paul had. You see it all through the Epistles. I’m thinking of Romans 8:18, where he says: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” There’s something greater that God has for us: becoming like Jesus, bringing glory to God.

We think that the suffering is the obstacle to all of this, and He says, “No, that’s the pathway that’s going to help you get there. All this hard stuff, this awful stuff right now, it’s not sabotaging His plan or your life. The hard things are lesser things compared to the glory that God is preparing for you, and in you, through all that.

Damaris: Amen. And Paul had such an amazing revelation of Jesus and so wanted Him. Paul says that all he wants is to know Jesus and the power of His resurrection, in the fellowship of His suffering. He’s embracing it. “Just let it all come. If it makes me know Christ more, that’s all I want.”

Paul doesn’t care. If that means dying, He doesn’t care. He says, “Even if I’m poured out as a drink offering, fine. I want to know God in the way I die or the way I live . . . I just want Him.” Oh, my word . . . that I would have a heart like that!

Nancy: And just the desire for the gospel to be advanced . . . you’re quoting from Philippians. I was reading Philippians 1 this morning, where Paul—from prison—says, “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me [all this awful stuff] has really served to advance the gospel” (Phil. 1:12). That’s all that matters!

Damaris: “And everybody knows now that I’m here in prison because of the gospel of Christ. Everybody knows it.” That’s all that mattered to him, that you would know Christ. That’s the way it is . . . it’s through difficult things.

There’s a line in this song that says, “When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win . . .” And I know that all of us have had moments like that, when we think, I can’t believe this person did this! You just feel, This is an injustice. How could this happen?

As I was singing this the other day, Nancy, I thought immediately of Jesus. “When friends betray us”—He was betrayed—“when darkness seems to win.” When He was on the cross, it became dark. I’m sure His disciples were so discouraged, like, “I can’t believe this is the way it ends.” It seemed like darkness was winning, but darkness didn’t win.

That horrible, horrible sight in that moment was the definition of, “His mercy in disguise.”

Nancy: And that line in the song goes on to say, “We know that pain reminds this heart that this is not our home.”

Damaris: No, it’s not.

Nancy: Doesn’t God use those hard things to wean our soul from the temporal, the things of this earth, and cause us to become more detached from earthly values and more attached to eternal values, to our ultimate home?

Damaris: Yes. And Paul, again whom I love . . . When I was a teenager (and I didn’t read my Bible very much, but when I opened it up on occasion), I remember thinking I didn’t like Paul’s letters. I can’t believe I’m saying this. But I just felt, “There’s so much correction in them.”

He says, “I can’t believe this is going on. This ought not be; stop doing this.” In Thessalonians he says, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and to mind your own business.” I didn’t like being told to mind my own business. But you know, as I have become a person who loves God’s Word, I have such a love for Paul.

I remember telling the Lord one day, “Lord, tell Paul that I’m really sorry that I didn’t like him.” I love him so much now. He’s so special to me. But he says, “Damaris [it was not written to me, but it was all written for my edification], set your mind on things above, where Christ is seated.” That’s where Christ is now, because He endured the cross.

He went through scorning and shame and all this stuff, and He is going to give us the grace, by His Spirit and through the knowledge of His Word, to go through this stuff, this suffering. And listen, the way that you suffer brings glory to God and can only help others as they watch what you have in Christ during the hard times.

Honestly, people are not going to admire you because you know how to enjoy a good party. People admire you—or let’s pray that they admire what you have in Christ—as you go through suffering. I’m sure they’ll come up to you and say, “How do you live? How can you go through this?” And oh, that we would be able to say, “Because I have Christ. He is the One who has allowed me to understand that all of the stuff that I’ve wanted in the past, for Him to get out of the way, is truly His way of letting me know that He’s near.

Honestly, it’s the rough times that really get us on our knees. That I welcome them . . . that I would embrace them—like Steve Green’s great song, "Embrace the Cross." Embrace the cross. Embrace it!

Nancy: I visited this past week with some dear friends of this ministry—a couple my age with five young adult kids. This husband has been recently diagnosed with acute leukemia . . . healthy one day, as far as he knows, and the next in the hospital going through chemo.

It was just an unbelievable change in their lives. Some friends and I visited in their home, and he’s weak from the chemo, still doesn’t know the outcome or the prognosis. He has debilitating weakness right now. It was an incredible thing to sit in this couple’s kitchen, with their kids sitting around, and hear this couple talking about the mercies of God, the faithfulness of God, the purposes of God—through tears. These are no sailors on land—they’re out in the storm right now.

In the midst of this, without knowing the outcome, they are choosing gratitude. This dad called his kids around him that morning and said, “We can focus on all the fears, all the unknowns, all the terrible things that could happen around the corner that we don’t know, or we can choose to focus on what we do know. And that is that God is good; God is faithful; God doesn’t make mistakes.”

 What he was doing was counseling his own heart and counseling his young adult children’s hearts. We have got to fix our eyes and set our hearts on what we know is true, trusting that God has purposes.

It’s “live or die,” it reminds me of Paul in Philippians, “If I die, that’s gain; if I live, it’s so that I can have more time for fruitful ministry.” That’s what Paul said, and that’s what my friend was saying. You don’t get that out of textbooks. I don’t know that you can even get that kind of heart without going through things that reduce you to weakness and tears and neediness. There are no shortcuts to developing that kind of heart.

Damaris: Exactly. When Jesus found out that His friend Lazarus was sick, and He didn’t come, I thank the Lord for His word that gives us a glimpse. We won’t always have answers that are the way Mary and Martha got the answer, but I think eternity will show all the times, millions and millions, that the things that seemed cruel.

The sisters said it: “If You would have been here, this would not have happened.” I feel that that is our sentiment many times, “Lord, I can’t believe You’re letting this happen! I can’t believe that you didn’t stop that!” The things that seem like cruelties, eternity will tell that it was His mercy in disguise, that God is working.

Another thing is, He’s working all the stuff, even judgment on those who won’t repent and have done cruel things to people. The beautiful thing is that, if you repent He will forgive you. But for all these atrocities and incredibly cruel things that people have done who turn their backs on God, justice is coming. Justice will prevail. He will do what only God can do.

It doesn’t seem fair sometimes, but oh that knowing Christ more and more would show us that all this stuff that we find so “cruel” is not cruel at all. It’s His love. God loved us so much that He poured out all of His wrath on His beloved Son. Why? For me, for you. Nancy. He loves us.

It’s time for us to grow up and say, “Lord, let it come. Whatever You want, let come, that if it in any way can show someone else how great You are, how much You love them, then bring it.”

Nancy: Damaris, I know there are people listening to this conversation, and they’re feeling what is expressed in one of the stanzas of this Blessing song,

We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near;
We doubt your goodness; we doubt your love.

I wonder, as we bring this conversation to a close, if you would just take a moment and pray on behalf of those who may be feeling that way right now about some trial they’re going through. They’re feeling angry; they’re not sure God is good; they’re not sure God really loves them.

They’ve been listening to this conversation, but there’s that wrestling match going on inside. Let’s just lift them up to the throne of grace and ask God to give them His perspective; that those trials really are “mercies in disguise.” Would you just pray for those listening who are in that situation right now?

Damaris: Heavenly Father, we thank You so much for Your Word and for Your Son Jesus, and we thank You for the Holy Spirit who reveals Your incredible truths to us. Lord, I thank You that Your Word says You were wounded for our transgressions and You were bruised for our iniquities, and surely You bore our sorrows.

Lord, we’ve been talking about suffering, and no one understands that, Lord, better than You. So I just pray right now that whoever is listening that is going through a very dark moment, that they would understand that on the cross You not only carried their sins and washed them, but You carried their sorrows, God.

It’s not just so that we can feel pain, Lord, it’s so that we would understand how glorious You are. God, give us hearts that would understand that there is a purpose behind all this that You have allowed to come our way, and that that purpose is good and that it is good for us.

It comes from Your loving hand, God. We do know that Your Word says You are good and that Your love endures forever and that everything You are allowing to happen that hurts, God, there’s a purpose behind it; and it is good, and it is for our good, and it is for the good of those who are watching us, God.

So, would You just bring comfort to those who are hurting who need it? More than anything, that they would be able to be steadfast and to wait for You, God, because You also know how much we can bear. You know, Lord Jesus, and You are our everything.

So, comfort, help us. More than anything, teach us, Lord, what You want us to learn through these things—that we would finally be able to say that these things that we’ve gone through are truly Your mercies in disguise. We thank You for this, Lord, and we pray these things in Jesus’ name, amen.

Damaris singing:

What if my greatest disappointment, or the aching of this life,
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?
What if trials of this life—the rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise? 1

Leslie:  That’s Damaris Carbaugh. When she sings that song, it’s coming from a heart that has really grappled with those words. She is truly seeking the Lord to help her live that song in her day-to-day life. It comes from her latest CD Walk With Me. We’d like to send you a copy as our thanks when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size.

Your gift allows this ministry to continue teaching the truth that sets women free. Nancy’s here with an example.

Nancy: Earlier this year, a listener wrote after hearing a Revive Our Hearts program on humility. We talked about a “pride test” that day. God spoke to this listener’s heart, and she said, “A burden of over twenty years was lifted off my shoulders. I finally feel free!”

I’m so thankful that the Word of God is so powerful to set women free from the burdens that they’re carrying. I’m grateful for listeners who help us to share the truth that sets women free each weekday by praying for us and supporting this ministry financially.

When you support Revive Our Hearts, you’re part of what God is doing in the lives of women all around the world. So if you believe in this message, and especially if the Lord has used Revive Our Hearts in your own life, but you’ve never before supported the ministry financially, would you consider starting this month?

Some friends of the ministry are doubling each first-time gift this month, up to a matching challenge total of $70,000. So if you’ve never given to Revive Our Hearts, this special offer—available only during the month of May—will make your first gift go twice as far.

It’s important that we max out that matching challenge, because May is a “take stock” month. By that I mean this is when we end our fiscal year. It’s when we take stock of where we are and prayerfully plan for the year ahead. If we don’t end the fiscal year in the black, that means we have to look at cutting back some of our current outreaches.

We want to be in a healthy financial position before entering the summer months, when donations tend to be lower than at some other times of the year. So, whether you’ve supported this ministry in the past, or you’d like to make a gift for the very first time, you can make your donation by visiting us at ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can write to us at P.O. Box 2000, Niles MI 49120.

If you’d rather give us a call, you can do that at 1–800–569–5959. Thanks so much for your encouragement, your prayers and your support.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. When you contact us, make sure to ask for your copy of Damaris Carbaugh’s CD Walk With Me. It’s the final day we’ll be making this offer on the program, so contact us right away.

When you think of the word “holiness,” do you think of something that ruins everybody’s fun? Tomorrow, John Piper will show you the beauty and wonder of God’s holiness. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

1 "Blessings." Walk With Me. Damaris Carbaugh. Damaris Music, 2013.

 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.