On Suffering

Those who have known me for long have seen that for the past 15 years or so I have real­ly strug­gled with my health. There have been extend­ed peri­ods of time where I bare­ly could drag myself out of bed. The list of things that have afflict­ed me seems long: thy­roid, gluten-intol­er­ance, nueropa­thy, vasal vagal syn­drome to name a few. The fun­ny part, I some­times feel that my friends and fam­i­ly suf­fer more for me than I do. They keep ask­ing, “Why hasn’t God healed him yet?” And I think my atti­tude frus­trates them even more, for I don’t believe God has to heal me although I cer­tain­ly believe He can and has cer­tain­ly pro­vid­ed for my heal­ing through Christ on the cross. But my faith in God, my per­se­ver­ance in the race, my hope in Christ is not hin­dered by my “suf­fer­ing.” Well, maybe they have been a speed bump but that may just be the thing I need­ed.

There have been a lot of books writ­ten on “The Problem with Pain” includ­ing C.S. Lewis’ clas­sic by the same name (see C.S. Lewis Complete Signature Classics ). I will leave it up to them to give you the argu­ments. I sum it up in my own mind this way. God’s nature is such that He wants to give us a choice to believe in Him. That choice results in the abil­i­ty to reject God so sin enters the world and all the con­se­quences of sin. God’s nature is also such that He Loves the World, even though it rejects Him, so that He sac­ri­ficed His one and only Son, the per­fect Lamb of God, that we might not have to suf­fer those con­se­quences.  

My suf­fer­ing has been tak­en care of on the cross — it is a mat­ter of time now. Viewed in the con­text of the vast­ness of eter­ni­ty, 15 years is noth­ing and even if I con­tin­ue till the end of this life with all these afflic­tions, it is noth­ing. On the oth­er hand, I know and believe God heals. James 5:13–18 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.
is clear — the prayer of a right­eous per­son is pow­er­ful and results in won­der­ful things. Many are pray­ing for me, for my heal­ing.

Why haven’t I been healed? I don’t know. My prayer is that God strength­en me to do what­ev­er work that He would have me do. If He would call me to do some­thing that would require my health be per­fect, He will make it so. If He is call­ing me to do a work that my health needs to be as it is, than to Him be the glo­ry. I con­tin­ue to pray for health but more impor­tant­ly, I pray that God be glo­ri­fied.  

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians that he had been giv­en a “thorn in the flesh” which he prayed to God to take away. He was mis­er­able, he didn’t want that ter­ri­ble weak­ness. But God said to him, “My grace is all you need. My pow­er works best in weak­ness.” (NLT)

I cannot/need not tell God what I need health wise. His grace is suf­fi­cient for me. I must see Him and Him alone and not my sick­ness. To focus on my ill­ness and won­der why I have not been healed is to focus on me and not Him. When I focus on God and do His work, He will be glo­ri­fied. His pow­er will be seen in my weak­ness.

And one day I know I will no longer suf­fer. This is my hope in Christ. Be it in this short term life in the world, or in my life in eter­ni­ty, I am already healed!

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