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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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