“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at His teaching, because He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law” (Matthew 7:28,29).
I was at a friend’s home with other members of my small group and a woman who was visiting asked, “so what do you do?”
“I have a ministry for people who live with chronic illness.”
“Oh. So do you actually have an illness or what?” she responded, giving my body a quick once over. This is the typical response I have received for nearly two decades.
It is obvious in people’s eyes to see the skepticism. She doesn’t look ill. She can’t be that bad or she wouldn’t be here. She looks fine to me. What is she getting out of this so-called ministry work?
They are curious. Why would I create such a ministry when I don’t appear to need it myself?
But then I share those simple words: “I have had rheumatoid arthritis for over twenty years. . .” and suddenly it all makes sense to them. We shouldn’t have to have a reason–other than that God called us to our ministry–but it does give a new level of credibility.
I may share just a piece of how people like yourself encourage one another daily; how our devotionals writers all cope with daily pain and know suffering personally; how our HopeKeepers groups spread across continents sharing hope to those who are ill–and how God is the root of it all.
I sense the amazement they have: Wow. It is incredible what people in pain can do. How would I react if I was diagnosed with an illness that couldn’t be cured? God really can use our weaknesses!
We each have Jesus within our heart and with this comes the ability to teach as one who has authority. We can share the praises of what God has and is doing in our lives.
We may not teach the “law”–the worldly explanations of how to cope with disease. But we do not need to!
God has given you a testimony, and your illness may be a big chunk of it. Give Him the glory and tell your story.
Prayer: God, help me share of Your goodness and faithfulness and how it has changed my life. Let me not be tempted to take any credit for the blessings in my life, but give You full praise! Amen.
About the author:
Lisa Copen is the woman behind Rest Ministries and a homeschooling chronically ill mom who is trying to hold it together. She has lived with rheumatoid arthritis since 1993 and is still discovering new ways this illness challenges her body. This all provides plenty of opportunities to share her testimony to the nurse at her doctor’s office to one of the many telemarkers that think they are going to sell her something. Order her most recent book “Refresh Me, Lord” at http://refreshmelord.com . All proceeds go directly to Rest Ministries.
Do you share about how God has changed your life or provided the strength you need to endure tough times? Do you shy away from sharing your testimony because you are not sure how to do it? How can you boldly share God’s influence on your life?
What is your legacy? What do you plan to leave behind? Things. . . or your foundation of faith? This is Brooke Fraser singing a song called “Seeds.” In the lyrics she considers what she will leave behind for–and within–her child. But we can all ask ourselves this question. Remember, we are not meant to save anyone–only Jesus can do that. But every day, in so many ways, we can plant those seeds of who God is. -Lisa