“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).
Solutions to our problems come in all sizes. Some fit our expectations. Others don’t.
“Whose toy truck is this, Bobby?” I asked our five-year-old son.
“Why do you have Caleb’s truck?”
“I told him Daddy would fix it,” Bobby replied confidently, certain that his father could and would repair the toy.
Our Father has power to fix us. Why doesn’t He? Maybe it’s because He doesn’t view our lives as broken.
What’s the point of our illness?
Is it possible to view our suffering as a gift? Paul did. While in prison he said, “Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8).
In my useless body I feel like Paul: the least likely to be used by God. If only I could fully accept my affliction as a ministry to help others.
How could Paul say, “I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of His power” (Ephesians 3:7)?
He understood God’s grace.
Recently I sent our granddaughter a gift–for no occasion. She doesn’t have to earn my love. I want to shower her with blessings. She’ll grow to experience the far greater grace of God.
Because of disease we experience God’s grace daily. He’s chosen us to experience the “boundless riches” of Christ’s love and faithfulness.
Paul offers us a simple sentence to reframe our thinking. Here’s his example: “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles” (Ephesians 3:1).
Here’s how I’ve filled in the blanks: I, Vicki, the patient of Christ Jesus for the sake of fellow patients and for the hurting, discouraged, and lonely.
Prayer: Dear Father, enable me to tell loved ones, “I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings (for You), which are Your glory (Ephesians 3:13).” Please encourage me. Give me a glimpse of the work You are doing through me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
About the Author:
Vicki understands special needs as a patient, parent, and professor. She has had multiple sclerosis since 1993. Her 33-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 blog, she reaches out to other mothers of children with mental illness. http://mentalillnessmom2mom.net . Vicki wrote a picture book about bullying: Heart Eyes: Beth and the Bullies. You can find out more about that book by visiting her Heart Eyes website: http://www.hearteyes.net
How would you fill in the blanks of Paul’s sentence?
We so wish for a reason, don’t we? We think if we just knew God’s plan we could accept it more easily. Many of us are left searching for a lifetime, never finding the “reason” for our illness. This song, “The Reason” with Lacey Sturm expresses the reason well. It is to be God’s child, to desire Him, to depend on Him. To just. Be. His. I hope this videos reminds you that you are not alone in wondering what the point is of your illness, but there really is a reason. -Lisa