“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.'” (Matthew 6:9-10)
There have been times in my life when I was convinced that I knew what should occur, only to realize later that I was mistaken. There have been times I have pleaded with God to make things go down a certain path, to give me what I thought I wanted, only to realize God had something better in mind.
How many of us, when we pray, truly mean it when we say, “God, I want Your will to be done in this situation”? I fear that too often what we really mean is, “God, I want You to do exactly as I ask in this situation.”
The truth is that we don’t always know what the best course may be for our lives, and humility and honesty makes me admit I don’t even always know the best course for my life regarding affliction.
I think it would be interesting to see how our lives might have turned out differently had we not been given the “gift” of affliction. Would we be as compassionate, as kind, as understanding, as patient, as loving as we are now? Would we understand what it is like to suffer, to endure, to overcome? Could we have the same impact on the world, would we be as faithful to the Lord?
I would like to think we would be every bit as mature, as generous and kind without affliction as we are with our afflictions. But I’m not convinced we would be. I don’t know how I could have learned the things I have learned in life, or what would have driven me deeper into the Father’s arms than my suffering and affliction have done. I suspect you would likely admit the same thing. We don’t like to look at our afflictions as gifts, it is difficult to do so. But would we be the same people today without them?
You may have a hard time seeing your illness as anything but a curse, an obstacle that has taken over your life, bringing you endless grief and misery. But I would ask you to consider–have you grown, have you matured spiritually, have you become a better or worse person because of your affliction? Has your spiritual life deepened because of the pain you are going through? We may not have asked for these hardships, but I suspect the Lord knows what He is doing by allowing them into our lives.
Prayer: Dear Lord, it is hard to thank You for our afflictions, yet we do thank You for helping us to grow and mature and even prosper in the land of our affliction. Let Your will be done. Amen.
About the Author:
Karlton Douglas lives in Ohio with his lovely wife. He has a hard time seeing affliction as a gift, but hopes he has grown through it. And he wants the Lord’s will to be done in his life.
Does your illness feel more like a curse than a blessing? Do you have a hard time finding anything good about your affliction?
Did you know God always hears our prayers, especially when we are afflicted? This short illustrated video is a great example of how God is always waiting for us to pray! -Lisa