Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Living Real Life by Faith

Leslie Basham: Earlier this year, when the friends and family of Kathy Helvey gathered for her memorial service, they heard these words from Kathy, recorded for Revive Our Hearts. Kim Wagner was visiting the hospital with her father. She bumped into a friend, Kathy Helvey.

Kathy Helvey: Somebody once said, “Everything—because of God’s Providence and His wonderful sovereign love—everything that happens to us is Father-filtered.”

That always comforts me in the end, when I start thinking straight amidst the crisis, once I’m on the other end of it: knowing that everything that happens to me is from His hand—even the bad. The good, the bad, the ugly—it’s all Father-filtered, out of His love. Therefore, I can drink the cup.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, November 5.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We all loved it when Kathy showed up at a Revive Our Hearts recording session.

Leslie: This is part of a message Nancy recorded for the memorial service of Kathy Helvey.

Nancy: She was so hungry for God's Word. She was so quick to respond and to see the truth and to personalize it in her own life. She was always more eager and ready to share what God was showing her with others.

I loved having Kathy as a guest on Revive Our Hearts. She was a great storyteller. She could make us laugh, and she could make us cry. She was always willing to be transparent and honest about her own struggles, failures, and needs.

She always pointed us back to the Word and to the character and grace of God—as much as any person I've known, perhaps. Her heart was tethered to those unchanging realities.

When she shared with our listeners the way God was at work in her life, people listened.

Leslie: I know people will listen attentively today as we hear one of those recordings Nancy described. For several weeks, we’ve been in a classic series called, Habakkuk: Moving from Fear to Faith. At the end of this series, Nancy reflected on the book of Habakkuk with Kim Wagner, Maria Johnson, Holly Elliff, and Kathy Helvey.

On the portion of the conversation we heard yesterday, Kathy expressed the struggles she faced dealing with her teenage daughter’s autism. She’ll pick back up on that story a little later. First, she quotes Habakkuk 3:19.

Kathy Helvey: “He makes my feet like the feet of a deer and he enables me to go on the heights” (Habakkuk 3:19, NIV). What I was thinking, along with everything else that was said, was that He lifts me above it. So often I’m right down here.

We’re in it and we’re of it, and it pulls us down. We’ve got these feelings and these anxieties, and they multiply within us.

Somehow—and it’s God, not us that does it—He gives us His perspective. The situation stays the same, but we’re looking at it differently—if we’re looking at it at all.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You get 30,000 feet above the earth, and all those things that look so major to us down here, they pale in insignificance.

Kathy: I want to get to that point where I see Jesus in it. I don’t see “it” anymore. I’m not looking for what God’s going to do; I’m just looking for His face in it, to see Him more clearly.

Maria Johnson: God’s perspective ultimately is eternity, not just the here-and-now, what’s in our face. I think that’s the perspective Habakkuk got—one of eternity.

Nancy: The things that are seen are temporal. The things that are not seen, except by faith, those are the things that are eternal (see 2 Corinthians 4:6).

Kathy: Because this life is like a blink.

Kim Wagner: Mentioning that, I’m so thankful that you ended with Horatio Spafford’s testimony. When he was in that painful place, which I can only imagine that struggle and pain and loss . . . he probably only lived 20 or 30 more years, at the most, after that point of his painful place.

And for the last 200 or so years he’s been rejoicing in heaven with his family. That little bitty bit of time in comparison . . .

Nancy: . . . that seems so long when you’re living it.

Kim: It seems so long when you’re in it. But also now, for 200 or so years, his time of suffering and struggle has been such a testimony, a life lesson to encourage so many people to say, “Yes. If he can write, ‘It is Well with My Soul,’ with the loss he had in his life, and turn to Christ in the midst of that suffering and embrace that . . . if he can do that, I can do that.”

Holly: It gives us hope.

Kim: It gives us hope and encouragement.

Holly: We can know the truth of that in eternity, but we still have to live from now until then. I think our hope is in the fact that God will be faithful even in this moment, even in this day, this black Thursday, whatever it is. God is present in that moment, until the day when I see it from His perspective and it makes more sense. Because it won’t make sense now.

Kathy: Wasn’t it John Piper that you quoted once, Nancy, saying that for every one thing that happens to us in our life, a hundred other things are happening at that same time, in terms of God’s economy?

Nancy: His Providence. We can see one or two or maybe three things He’s doing. But he’s saying that God is always doing; there are a thousand different things that God is doing that we can’t see, and we don’t know.

Kathy: And to always remember . . . somebody once said, “Everything—because of God’s Providence and His wonderful sovereign love—everything that happens to us is Father-filtered.”

That always comforts me in the end, when I start thinking straight amidst the crisis, once I’m on the other end of it: knowing that everything that happens to me is from His hand—even the bad. The good, the bad, the ugly—it’s all Father-filtered, out of His love. Therefore, I can drink the cup.

Nancy: The fact that we are writing a song for eternity. We may have to live with this 20 or 30 or 40 years, but you think of Horatio Spafford. Kim, the way you said that gives me fresh perspective, that the way I’m responding to my life’s circumstances today not only is preparing me for eternity, but it may be 200 years from now that . . .

Kim: . . . people are watching you and listening . . .

Nancy: . . . a testimony left behind.

Kim: Right.

Nancy: “Find us faithful,” as the song says. A testimony of God’s faithfulness. Was it John Wesley who said, “Our job in life is to give the world a right opinion of God”?

So every time I’m responding—when I’m whining, I’m giving the world an opinion of God. But when I am rising above with deer’s feet into the high places—not escaping but letting God walk me through that with faith—I’m writing a testimony on the heart of even the next generation.

Kim: And it brings God glory.

Nancy: Which is the whole point.

Kim: So you’re fulfilling your purpose for your life. That pleases Him, and that’s the greatest place of joy, too, when we’re bringing Him glory.

Kathy: I remember it was a real turning point for me going from acceptance to acceptance with Stephanie and her autism in our life. Our pastor had a sermon on eternity in heaven. He’s the one that said, “This life is a blink,” and he clapped and kind of made you jump. He said, “In light of eternity, it’s a blink.”

All I could think of, as tears streamed down my face in that church service, was, “Stephanie’s life that is so hard to watch . . . you know, it’s a blink, Kathy. You can blink because for eternity you are going to see her as she was meant to be—perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Then I thought, “But, Lord, this is so hard because,” like we’ve been saying, “this is all we know.” But I needed to be reminded that forever I’m going to see her face as it was meant to be, with God forever. So I thought, “I can do this. With God I can do this. Not alone, but with Him.”

We’ll blink, and it’ll be over. And hopefully, like we’ve been saying, God will be glorified. I would not have missed what He wanted to do in and through me and her.

Holly: That’s so valuable, not only to have God’s Word to walk us through to faith, but also just sitting here and listening to Maria today, and Kathy and Kim and Nancy. It builds my faith when I hear truth coming out of the lives of other women who have been in that tight place—just being honest enough about where we are that we don’t also lose the advantage of other women lifting our arms.

Kim: . . . women that will tell us truth. That’s why Holly is a good friend to me, because I can call her when I’m in the midst of a pity party and say, “Tell me truth,” and she’s faithful to do that. But she’s also sympathetic. She’s a good friend.

But talking about eternity, this helped give me a new perspective on eternity. While we were in a time of struggle and suffering in our church . . . We had an opportunity to be on a ship out in the middle of the ocean. I’d never been where I could not see land at all. There was ocean everywhere. I had never been in that situation before.

I was looking over the ship and deep into the water; off as far as I could see was water, and the Lord taught me an illustration of eternity. “Look at this water. Look at the immense amount of water as far as you can see. That is eternity before you.

“If you were to take one tiny pebble and drop it in, that’s your lifetime. That’s what you’re enduring right now. That’s the amount of lifetime you have. But look at eternity. It’s just a little speck when you look at it. I mean, it’s going to pass soon. It’s going to pass soon.”

He also showed me that, because this life is so short and because eternity will not have any conflict or struggle or battles, then while I’m in this little short unit of time called my life, this is the only opportunity I have to really worship Him in the midst of battle, in the midst of struggle.

So I want to take the opportunity of every moment, in this little bitty short life, to give it back to Him in worship and in praise and in glorifying Him, because I won’t have the opportunity to worship Him in that same way, to worship Him in the midst of battle, once I enter eternity.

Kathy: That’s so good, Kim. Didn’t you say something in reference to a Scripture where God left the battle to come comfort . . .

Nancy: Daniel. Right?

Kathy: That really impressed me. God . . .

Nancy: . . . was doing battle against the Prince of Persia; but he came to Daniel’s side to strengthen him and said, “Now I’m going on back to the battle” (see Daniel 10). But that the Savior would have that kind of heart for His weak servant is an incredible picture of the heart of God.

Kathy: I love that Scripture that says, “The righteous cry out and he hears them. How gracious he will be when they cry for help. As soon as they cry out he will hear them and answer them” (Psalm 34:17, NIV).

That’s what I was overlaying when you were talking about Daniel. I thought, “He’s got important things to do here, Kathy. But He’s going to leave them and come to your pity party and show His face and lift you up, lift you out of it, give you hinds’ feet . . .” if I will be waiting and listening and willing. I want to go to that watchtower.

I see Habakkuk  in three parts. There’s that first part where he’s down and then he goes to the watchtower. “Okay, I’ll wait. We’ll see.”

Then he’s going to trust. He’s going to have that life of faith. I think I go from being down to wanting God to switch me way over here to faith like that.

Nancy: We don’t want to go through the process of what it takes to get there.

Kathy: I want to wait and be still and know that He is God. However long it takes, Lord, You do whatever You want to do. But I’m walking out of this room just way behind in that, in that whole principle, wanting God to take that and make it real to me.

Holly: Maybe someday we’ll get to the point where the process is precious to us—even more than the outcome of being on the high place. I don’t know if we’ll ever get to the point where we’ll long for the process because we know the outcome.

Kim: Well, because the process brings us to His heart. And what better place to be? The process is to conform us to Christ’s image so that we’ll glorify Him.

I remember one night lying in bed with all of my struggle in front of me and realizing, “All right, if the Lord wants to conform me more to Christ’s image in this, what greater privilege is there than to be conformed to Christ’s image? that He is willing to do that? If it takes this for me to be conformed to Christ’s image, well, that’s what I desire.”

Nancy: Also keeping in mind, if we step back even from what we’re saying here, that even the process for us isn’t the ultimate. It’s not about me. It’s about God’s glory.

Kim: Right.

Nancy: It’s about God’s kingdom being advanced. We are little, itsy bitsy pieces in that much bigger, grander redemptive plan of God’s.

So even if I had nothing to gain through this process, even if I were to derive no benefit from it, no great outcome, but I knew that’s what would please God, for my life to be dispensable, to be a testimony, to be used to somehow bring Him glory, and there were no heaven to be gained, no eternity to enjoy, would I still say, “I embrace the process; I’m willing to just be an object lesson of Your grace even if I didn’t get anything out of it”?

That’s when you come to the place—and I think Habakkuk did—where what mattered supremely to him was the glory of God. “Lord, revive Your work. Show Yourself. Make it known” (see Habakkuk 3:2). That’s a free place to be. I mean, we never totally get there. But the closer we can come to that way of thinking, the more free we are from ourselves.

Maria: It’s coming to the point of realizing, as I said earlier, that everything—the hard times, the good times, the waiting times, the process—is God’s provision for His glory. Just like Habakkuk’s situation had not changed, but he learned. His heart changed. That was God’s provision for His glory.

We always think God’s provision for His glory is this solo or that mission trip. It’s life. He said, “Live.”

Nancy: “The righteous shall live . . . ”

Maria: Live. Live. Not endure. Live. Live by faith. That includes the good times and the bad times and the hard times and the crying-out-to-God times and the alone times.

But even in that, God has made provision for His glory. Because where you started out saying, “God didn’t come; God wasn’t there;” yes, He was. He was there whether or not you felt it, saw it, understood it. He showed you later, yes, He was there.

Kathy: And I knew He was there. But I was demanding.

Holly: You wanted to feel He was there.

Kathy: I wanted to feel it. I wanted Him to comfort me. I wanted Him to change my daughter, to change the situation, to give me a glimmer of hope.

I remember feeling the shame of “I feel hopeless; I feel abandoned” and admitting it to God, knowing He was out there listening . . . or, right with me. He was out there in the trees that day. So far away. (Laughter)

But just knowing that I knew Him well enough and loved Him and He loved me that I could say all of this to Him; I could be real to Him. That’s why this little book is all the more precious to me after these two days, because Habakkuk was real. He shows us that we’re going to go there, we’re going to be there, and this is how God wants us to remember Him when we’re there. And rejoice.

Just for the end of the story, in case you’re wondering [for the beginning of the story see yesterday's program]. It was such a horrific time with her, and I thought, “Oh, what are we going to do—put her in a home?” (which I said I would never do). But after all we’d been through and almost hospitalizing her, and now this. She wasn’t going to cooperate, and what were Social Services going to say? And on and on, and how I was feeling about her.

Well, that night, much to my chagrin, I told my family, “You can get dinner on your own. I’m locking myself in the bedroom. I am that destitute.” I woke up the next morning, and she was supposed to go to her next thing. I didn’t know what to expect. She came down. “What’s for breakfast, Mom?” Got breakfast ready. She got dressed. “Am I going golfing this morning?”

“Yes, you are.”

“Then lunch?”

“Yes.”

“Then library?”

“Yes, you are, Stephanie.”

“Okay.”

Out the door she went with a brand new caregiver that she hadn’t been with before. A lot of this, when I look back, was too many changes for her all at once. Autistic people don’t like any change, let alone lots of it at one time. But that next morning she was fine, and she’s been fine ever since.

Judy is one of my caregivers three days a week. God provided wonderful Judy. But there has not been another situation. There might be. But Bob and I have both—this is helping me understand a little bit why I had to go through it, because my husband and I have talked.

He’ll say, “I don’t know why you had to go through that.” And I don’t know either, other than that psalm is more real to me now; and my life verse for this year—I’m firm in it. I’m going to do it no matter what. But Habakkuk has made me understand what I went through then and how I failed the test.

Kim: Kathy, I think that getting that low . . . really, there’s a good thing that has come out of it. You’ve come to know God at a much deeper, more real level. The next time you’re faced with crisis, you can point back to that point when you were in crisis and you felt like God wasn’t there, and you were even telling God, “Where are You? You’ve rejected me.”

Yet you saw that . . .

Holly: It’s like Jesus saying to Peter, “I have prayed for you that your faith would not fail (Luke 22:32). Well, Peter still denied Him. But Jesus knew that.

Nancy: “And when you are restored,” what does it say?

Maria: You will encourage your brothers .

Nancy: You will encourage others.

Holly: You know more now about how to get to God in that moment than you knew before that.

Kathy: I never want to be in that place again. That was a scary place, as a Christian, to be. I knew I wouldn’t forsake my faith, but it was just . . . I can hardly put words to it. It was just . . . Have you ever been there? Or is it just me?

Holly: No, it’s not just you.

Kathy: It was frightening! It was frightening. Put the shame and the guilt aside; I look back, and that’s how low I had gotten. But it was frightening. The Lord of my life, the love of my life; He wasn’t there for me (although He was). I still can’t put words to that experience. I just know it was horrific. I never want to be there again.

I hope that when it starts I’ll recognize it for what it is.

Nancy: But you have a song now.

Kathy: Oh, yes.

Nancy: A new stanza, maybe, to the song of your life that you didn’t have written before. “To the choirmaster: with my stringed instruments (Habakkuk 3:19).

Kathy: Yes. Yes.

Leslie Basham: The prophet Habakkuk went through a horrific time and then received a new song. The late Kathy Helvey described a similar experience, talking with Nancy Leigh DeMoss about the way Habakkuk affected her. Some other friends have been responding to Habakkuk,  too. We heard from Maria Johnson, Holly Elliff, and Kim Wagner.

If today’s conversation has made you intrigued about the book of Habakkuk, good. Nancy’s been walking us through an in-depth study of this book, and it offers rich insights that can be applied to every woman’s life.

To apply it to your own life, I hope you'll get Nancy’s complete teaching of this study on CD, or one MP3 CD. The series includes the conversation we just heard, which will help you apply the truths of Habakkuk to your situation.

To get a copy of the series, Habakkuk: Moving from Fear to Faith, just visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 800-569-5959.

Start your family. That's what Steve and Candice Watters suggest. Find out why, Monday, on Revive Our Hearts.

[song from John Elliott]

Though the fig tree may not blossom
And no fruit be on the vine.
Though the olive trees should fail us,
In the field, no crop we find.

Yet my heart will rejoice in the Lord,
My Provider and Source.
He's my only salvation.

I will run like a deer on the heights,
For the Lord is my strength.
I will trust in my Savior.

God is my song.
Though all should fail,
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord.

Yet my heart will rejoice in the Lord,
My Provider and Source.
He's my only salvation.

I will run like a deer on the heights.
For the Lord is my strength.
I will trust in my Savior.

God is my song.
Though all should fail,
Yet I will rejoice.
Yes, I will rejoice in the Lord.1

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

Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

1 John Elliott. "Yet I Will Rejoice." The Paradise of God. Used with permission.

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

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