Hello, my friends.
I've been out of the hospital a couple of weeks but I continue to struggle with my health. The trouble began with bleeding inside my stomach, enough that I had to be transfused with blood and plasma. Though they got the bleeding stopped I wound up spending three weeks in the hospital, and since coming home I'm having a difficult recovery. I'm having a lot of difficulty keeping any fluid down and all of this has left my body weak and in pain. I had to go in for IV fluids again just a few days ago.
A friend prayed a wonderful prayer for me, and while praying, he quoted Isaiah 55:8-9: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher that the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."
This verse really spoke to me. God is doing things behind the scenes that I can't even begin to imagine.
We don't always know the reasons for the trials that we go through. But our God is sovereign, all knowing, wise, and His plan always is better than our own. While I don't like to be ill, while I feel like if I had my health back I could reach out with God's love to so many more people, He knows what He's doing in my life...and my job is to trust Him. There are a million different reasons He could be allowing these trials.
It may be that someone reading this needs to know that trials come not because is angry with us or punishing us, but He is always in the process of working in and through us. He allows situations not only for the impact they make on our own lives, but on the lives of those around us.
Why does God allow suffering? For us believers, I believe it is one of the ways He molds us. And to the unbeliever... when they see us facing our difficulties with an unbreakable hope, perhaps that will be what stirs their curiosity towards our God. In James, we have a great verse about the suffering we all face:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:2-5
We can consider this, also; how do we handle our trials? As we begin to mature in Christ and grow to rely on Him, our ways of responding to trials will change us for the better. Without any trials or difficulties, how would we develop the perseverance James is speaking of? It is in the difficulties that we grow. I'm reminded of my little granddaughter who was trying to do something and wasn't able...she began crying and gave up, running to me for comfort. I scooped her into my arms and took her back to the task, which we were able to accomplish together. A few days later, I noticed her at the table doing on her own what she'd needed help with only a few days before.
That's the kind of growth God wants for us. And when I consider the sufferings of believers in other parts of the world, their lives in danger simply for their belief, I am ashamed of my own complaints. And I consider the prophets and believers of old, as well:
Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.-James 5:11
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.- Psalm 27:13-14
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.-Isaiah 41:10
This world will continue to give us trouble. It's a fallen place, but we have more than a hope, a certainty: