When wrestling with affliction there is no way to grasp or truly comprehend the “Why” factor. Yet, in the throws of pain and the anguish of night after night, turning into week after week, becoming month after month… and then to our horror and heartbreaking disappointment, months become years… We are still plagued with the question as great as our illness. Why?
In so much of this, we fiercely battle a nagging, berating, all encompassing feeling that we have somehow lost our worth. The “what ifs” are unrelenting. Racking our brains, we try to rehash each moment of possible failure… Where might we have forgotten to seek forgiveness? We start wondering if we forgot to be thankful for something. Perhaps, we didn’t show enough love or pray enough for someone else. We are told things like, “Look at Job… Job prayed for his friends, then he was healed.” And, “You just need to learn to love Jesus where you’re at. He needs to be your all and all.” And, “This is actually a gift. You should be grateful.” And “I wish I had your life. You should try having toddlers.”
With feelings of absolute abandonment we rush to hide our distress, and hold back the disappointment of not being comforted, but also the shame we felt by those we thought would support us. The torment is implacable, determined to keep it’s hostile and unrelenting stance against us. We’ve become our own worst enemy, and we find ourselves pleading with a god we do not know. We start rationalizing our own position and defending ourselves. We worked so hard to “DO IT ALL RIGHT” only to land on our faces in shame and humility. We not only agonize in physical pain, we grieve in sheer heart-shattering anguish, failure, anger, disappointment, and a heart wanting to abandoned ship… “HIT THE EJECT BUTTON! Your life is WORTHLESS! You’re a pathetic waste of skin, breathing air and hogging space that perfectly good people could be using. Do everyone a favor. LEAVE!”
Not able to inhale. Not able to exhale. The tears burn like fire. All encompassing loneliness (yes, it’s the most possible oxymoron and quite possibly the most painful) overtakes us, and we become paralyzed in the world of our own fear and the visitors that come when we hang out our “FEAR IS HERE” and “BROKEN HEART” VACANCY signs. Yep. We have an adversary. Let’s not pretend he and his despicable cohorts are not as ever disabling and crippling as our physical ailments can be. Because the Bible warns us that our adversary the devil lurks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
The lame and injured are ALWAYS an easy target! They already have disadvantages that make them easy prey.
1.) They are injured and their focus is on their injury and pain.
2.) They are not well rested, which makes them emotionally vulnerable.
3.) They are not close with the pack (the church body) because they are sick and usually at home. Fellowship and interaction with others has been less, and when the lies come sweeping in, you are often alone… not surrounded by friends and a support group.
4.) They sometimes avoid church altogether, because quite possibly everyone would like to avoid the inane platitudes.
And the list of reasons go on and on…
THEN from within us comes a groan which cannot be uttered…
and with THAT,
THE HOPE OF THE SPIRIT HELPING US IN OUR WEAKNESS BREAKS THROUGH…
Our TRUE God speaks… for in our brokenness, our Intercessor has moved on our behalf, and through groanings too deep for words, has prayed for us. In our weakness and insufficiency, The Holy Spirit has interceded. He has prayed. He has prayed the will of God for us. Where we could not pray as we ought, the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us. In that moment of weeping, our Savior rushes in to silence the screaming angst with the whisper of His gentle peace. His truth surrounds us, and we are found in His righteousness. No longer are we held captive to the spewed hatred and lies that we were just moments ago ensnared to and entangled in… fighting for dear life.
OUR God is a GOD OF TRUTH AND HOPE! How many times have we known this, yet so often we forget. Our God does not scream at us. Our God does not shame us. Our God does not berate us. Our God does not believe us to be failures. Our God does not run down a check list of “to-do’s” before we can run into His arms and seek refuge. Our God does not withhold healing, because we didn’t pray enough for our friends.
However, if God has indeed paid the randsom for our souls, we are each individually a priceless comodity to Him. Should He allow suffering in our lives, whether it be for the development of a deeper character, or the development of patience and endurance and a heart that seeks hard after wisdom… or if it’s to bring one to a place of realizing God’s goodness and love extends far beyond one’s circumstances and run much deeper than our superficial idea of Him, it is entirely His decision.
Is it healthy to question God? I don’t know. But I do know we will do it.
I can also say that to these things I have so long battled with (that I’ve listed above)… If I don’t get answers, or if I don’t get the answers that I am looking for, I can ALWAYS find an answer in Christ!
SUFFERING… it’s all suffering. Our Savior suffered the greatest of all… beyond all comprehension… so that He could spare me the consequences of my own sin against HIM!
Suffering – it conforms us into God’s image. (Romans 8:28-29)
Affliction – it refines us. (Isaiah 48:10)
Trials – they grow our faith and endurance and make us more Christ like… they also make us DESIRE WISDOM, because we REALIZE how much we LACK when we are in the throws of trials!! Desiring wisdom is a GOOD thing!!! It also builds our FAITH! It also makes us realize that we would not know our need for all of these things if we were not in such HUMBLE CIRCUMSTANCES.
So to list again ~
ILLNESS – Jesus is my all sufficiency.
PAIN – He knows pain far greater than mine, and yet He’s here to carry this one too.
RELENTLESS TRIAL – Greatest Compliment and Honor to have a make-over to be made more like Christ. Purified and refined in the Refiner’s fire.
WHY? – Why Not?
FEAR – Perfect Love (Jesus Christ) casts out fear.
BROKEN HEART – “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
VACANCY – Be FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT and THE WORD OF GOD!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, please forgive us (me) for so often questioning You. Thank You for Your ever present mercy and grace that never ceases, and has not once let us down. Thank you that You are always faithful to redirect our thoughts, clear our mind, reengage our hearts, and get our eyes set back on You. Thank You for Your Word. Please keep us rooted and planted in it.
In Your Precious Name, Jesus, we pray… Amen.
If you are not a Christian… you will likely not understand spiritual battle, because you probably feel no force of spiritual battle in your life. Become a Christian and you will. Right now, you most likely feel nothing opposing you (expect perhaps your feelings towards me, which would make perfect sense), but you would not feel an adversarial opponent like the Devil / Satan at war against you. Why would you? The enemy of God has you right where he wants you. As long as you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, you won’t likely be in Satan’s line of fire. Satan’s goals are as follows – Keep as many of mankind from following Jesus Christ as he can… through whatever form of deception he can. Secondly, stumble every Christian he can. Why? He’s pissed off at God, and full of pride. He knows he’s going down. He knows his days are numbered. He knows hell is going to be his eternal home (although I think he is so full of himself that he’ll still fight with all his might, thinking he can somehow overthrow GOD… but he won’t succeed), and he’s not all that happy about it.
NOT believing in God at this point in history is kind of foolish, because of the absolute PROOF that has been shown in the fulfilled prophecies of the Bible. Even the Huffington Post came out earlier this month saying that they acknowledge the prophetic accuracy of the Bible. So, it’s time to start reading. A lot. Because the world is on a time frame that isn’t going to wait for you to make up your mind. You have ?? number of opportunities to deny or accept, but ultimately the decision is indeed yours. Don’t be hasty to discredit the Bible and God, when so far the historicity and accuracy of it’s prophetic integrity has stood the test of time… greater than any book (or religion or god or anything) out there. We’re talking thousands and thousands and thousands and so on and so and so on… of years.
Truly, just as stupid as it would be for me to tell you that you have cancer and you’re going to live to be a million years old, is as stupid as it would be for me to tell you that denying your God and His wishes here on Earth is going to be dismissed in eternity. Wishful thinking doesn’t get us anywhere. Truth does. Seek the truth. Seek the truth. Seek the truth. If God isn’t real, ask Him if He isn’t. Tell Him to prove it… It takes more blind faith to believe He doesn’t exist than it ever would to clearly see that He does.