There is More to Life Than Illness

“I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.” (Psalm 34:1-2)

“You look so good.”

That’s often the greeting of a friend. My favorite response is, “It’s prayer and make-up.”

I offer a brief reply in the attempt to divert attention away from me. My life has to be more than multiple sclerosis (MS). But should I be so quick to change the subject? Wouldn’t it be better to seize the moment and give God the glory?

The message I hope to convey, but often fail to send is: The joy of the Lord is my strength.

My challenge is to come close to the example set by Paul.

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Perhaps I can echo Paul’s response by saying, “I’m glad to have this pain so I can boast about Christ’s power.” Because of my MS, I have daily opportunities to witness God’s faithfulness. To experience His sustaining power. Such delight!

  • He helps me make my husband’s dinner while standing on weak legs.
  • He enables me to climb the stairs without excruciating pain so I can do household chores.
  • He reminds what I drove to the store to get and who needs prayer.
  • He fills me with His peace in spite of my pain and circumstances.
    He restores hope despite my medical prognosis.
  • Dear partners in pain, hear and rejoice: We, who have been afflicted, can cheer others on. To testify of His sustaining power and love.

In Hebrews 11 we read about the heroes of faith. God provides those examples to cheer us on. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, When people see me, I pray they see You. Help me find ways to boast in You. To share about Your faithfulness. To encourage those who desperately need to know You are real. That Your promises are true. Let me never forget I’m Your messenger so that I’m ready with an answer. May I always reflect Your love. Amen.

About the Author:
Vicki 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.

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How do you use your affliction to share God’s message of love and hope with others? What do you say?