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 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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