Faith Builders — Purpose

In what situation has the Lord moved in a way that you struggle with? How did that circumstance bring you closer to Him?

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

He doesn’t choose the easy route. Clearly the pursuit of happiness is not God’s purpose for our lives. But some days, I must admit, I wish it were!

Yesterday, in my testimony post, I mentioned I have struggled with a long-term illness. I have been sick since I was fourteen years old. And although I am quite healthy now and able to do many things that I never dreamed I would get to do – like go for a walk with my son or sit at a computer and type for three hours – I still struggle daily with the frustrations and constraints of a weak body.

I have come to terms with it now, and I am so grateful for what the Lord taught me, but it has not been an easy road. I was a young, ambitious girl when this illness hit and stole my youth.

One particularly painful loss for me was that I never got to go to university. For me this was devastating. In my late twenties, I did some Theology courses to complete my credentialing for my job as a youth worker with Youth for Christ but I longed to do more. Even now I would love to go back to school, but my body would not be able to handle the strain.

In my teen years and early twenties, I had to watch from the sidelines as my twin sister and my friends moved through life without me. I begged God to heal me, “There is so much I can do to serve you – please just let me.” But the answer was, “No, be still.”

I raged against such a sentence. “I am not a prayer warrior – I am a doer. Let me do more!” But he didn’t. He kept me still and alone for years. And there I learned so much about Him. I became His friend. I delighted in prayer. And I fell in love with Him and His silence.

But the struggle didn’t end. The thorn was not removed. It still cut and burned every day. Miraculously, I grew healthy enough to work as a youth worker for Youth for Christ. It was such a dream to be healthy enough to minister – I was thrilled. But even in my ministry, my poor health handicapped me often, limiting what I could do and how much. When I became a mom, even working part time was too difficult on my body and I had to choose mothering over “ministry.”

And even now, when I face my limitations I sometimes still rebel. “Lord – thank you so much for healing me as much as you have, but please just let me do a bit more…And maybe if I could go for a run? I would really love that.” But I know the answer. I have heard it every day for eighteen years.

The thorn remains and He keeps teaching me through it.

There are some churches – nicknamed “Health, Wealth and Happiness” – that say that God wants to give us all good things and that we just need to claim them. I have run into a few people who believe this and I’ve even defended myself against their accusations that I simply do not have enough faith. They believe that if I had more faith and claimed the healing that is mine in Christ, I would be healed. I simply smile to myself. Yes – that sure would be nice. But that is not what the Bible teaches, nor is it what Jesus’ life modeled.

I know that I will be healed. Heaven will give us all our healing. And until then God loves us enough to use the struggles and pains of a fallen world to teach us and strengthen us. It hurts, but it is good.

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13


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  1. says

    When I was 16 my brother and I had a bad car accident, and it’s a miracle that we are still walking around…I am still scared of vehicles to this day but I trust in God that He will keep me safe and do His will (He knows what is best for us)!! I also am going through a hard time right now (you can read more at my blog) and I am trying to remind myself to look up…and remember that no matter what happens God will be with me!

  2. says

    Janice, this reminds me of an Elisabeth Elliot devotional I read recently here.

    “God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction” (Genesis 41:52b). Thanks for your testimony that God not only provides help and solace in our affliction, but He also works in and through them for His glory and for minsitry to others.

  3. says

    Janice your attitude towards this is such an encouragement and testimony. I love how you say God is teaching you things through it all. And you know choosing motherhood over ministry is a ministry in and of itself! And you do have a ministry even here sharing stories like this to uplift and point other moms towards the One who upholds them even in the hard times!

  4. says

    Your post today is brilliant! It is God-sent, God-inspired, and God-be-glorified! It is exactly what I needed to read this morning….as I struggle through a yet-unanswered prayer request…..certain that God will perform a miracle….but not yet certain if it will be this side of heaven!

    You are a blessing.


  5. says

    I think Susanne says it God teaches you things, even through all the struggles we face, and the ministry you give your child is so valuable..and to all of us here in blog world..we look foward to words of encouragement. Never give up..
    Proverbs 3:5-6
    Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths.

  6. says

    I appreciated your testimony today, Janice. My oldest will eventually go to a geneticist to determine if there is are other things to consider along with her heart condition. There are some I know who have said similar things about “having faith” that she’ll be healed. I believe God is able but it is up to Him whether He fulfills her healing on this earth or not. Many said to me that maybe it was a heart issue that would “heal itself.” They were trying to be encouraging but I had to face reality for what it is right now. She has issues with 3/4 valves of her heart, an abnormal heart rhythm, and this will present limitations for her in the future in regard to what physical activity she can do. Will God heal her in this earthly life? I have no clue. I submit her to Him and can have hope but it is up to Him when He heals. God is able but it doesn’t mean I don’t have faith because it hasn’t occured yet.

    (Thanks for the note about my blog address . . . I’ve had a lot of brain fog lately and I’ve messed up several entries of my url over the past few days. If someone tries to visit my blog they’ll be confused. I’ll be more aware in the future as to what I type. Why did I pick such a long address and e-mail? LOL! I’m not going to change it now b/c I’ll end up more confused. LOL! Thanks for letting me know what was going on and sorry to be so long here.)

  7. says

    What a wonderful site and a great post. It’s hard for many to understand that joy can come from sorrows and struggles. I like you just smile. I know one day I will be healthy, happy and praiseing my Father for his unbounding love for me. I will come to learn and know more than anything here matters. I am looking forward to that day. God Bless..

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