“. . . We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
When I taught students who were blind, parents sometimes hinted they somehow felt responsible for their child’s visual impairment. It reminded me of the story in John about the blind man.
“Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’
Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.’”
Jesus’ response is encouraging to those who secretly ask God, “Is my pain a punishment?” It surely can feel like a punishment. The suffering one might cry, “What did I do to deserve this?”
God’s answer: Nothing, my dear one. Through this, I will reveal My love and power in your life.
Children enjoy show and tell. In the midst of pain, disease, and illness, we experience God’s power and love. When we testify of His faithfulness, His love, His protection, His sovereignty, we become God’s living show and tell.
“. . . rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer. . . ” (Romans 12:12)
Paul challenges us to be patient in tribulation. Are you kidding? Isn’t it only natural for us to want the trial to end immediately?
Little children have a hard time waiting to do something special. They may become impatient waiting for you to play a game with them as you promised. But they never doubt that you will do it because they are certain of your love for them. Likewise, we can ‘rejoice in hope’ knowing that our heavenly Father will work mightily in the trial. We can trust Him to complete His perfect plan in the midst of pain and suffering.
Rather than ask the question, ‘Why?’ we can ask, ‘Who?’ Who is able to comfort? Who is able to provide strength, resources, peace? Who understands what I’m thinking and feeling? Who will help me? Who can I trust? Who has the power to work mightily in my situation?
God can do all that and more. Consider all that He is.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, Thank You for revealing Your love and power in my life. When my pains get too much to bear or when I get discouraged, help me keep my focus on You. Help me see how You are using my illness for Your kingdom and for Your glory. Thank You for the perfect plan You have for my life. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.
About the Author:
Vicki Chandler understands special needs as a patient, parent, and professor. She has had multiple sclerosis since 1993. Her 31 year old son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She’s taught special education as a teacher, administrator, and adjunct professor. Through her online community she reaches out to other parents of children with special needs. http://theblogfrog.com/1505794
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How has God used your pain or illness for good?