“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows,” (James 1:17).
When I was young, Mom made alphabet Bible verse quilts for her daughters. The E verse was a shortened version of James 1:17: “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” I often used those words to thank God for the good in life: my parents, my sister, teachers, kittens, and Disneyland trips. I liked the visual of good gifts showering down from heaven.
It wasn’t until I was older that I thought to thank God for my disease.
When sin entered the world, so did the bodily imperfections that many of us face on a daily basis. These flaws were not something that God intended for his perfect creation, but in His love He gave us a choice–and we chose to turn away from Him.
Humankind therefore brought much grief upon itself. But as Joseph says to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “You meant it for evil; God meant it for good.” Our inherently fallen nature has caused the damaged bodies that can bring us so much pain. But God orchestrates our lives before we are even a blip on an ultrasound. He has a perfect plan and purpose for us. And for those touched by chronic illness, that plan is good because it was authored by a God who is good.
Disease allows me to see miracles and rely more fervently on the God who made me. It has given me empathy for the sick and a powerful testimony to share. Being in and out of the hospital throughout my life has reminded me that God works through men and women who are devoted to caring for His people, just as Jesus cares for His people as the perfect Healer.
When I gained a new life with the tragic loss of another and received my kidney transplant, I saw a snapshot of redemption: another person made the ultimate sacrifice for me. I praise God for entrusting me with these gifts.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach me to see Your good and perfect gifts, even when I live with pain and sickness.
Welcome to Our New Writer!
Jessica Jondle lives with a rare, genetic disease called cystinosis. She works as a junior high school teacher in California, where she lives with her husband. Her book on the paradoxes of life with genetic disease is available at http://www.rollerskatingwithrickets.com.
Today I challenge you to find the good and perfect gifts that flow freely from heaven. Do you count your illness as one of those gifts? Tell me about it below.