"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
Last night I was listening to a video made by Joni Eareckson Tada. For those of you who do not know, she was injured in a diving accident in her younger years and has lived her life as a quadriplegic and built a ministry helping others with disabilities. Now 71, she has faced many serious health issues, including cancer, and is just recovering from COVID. She stated in the video that she had to face the fact that this virus might be more than her weak body could handle and, as she prayed, she felt God was asking her if she truly trusted Him.
Ideally, we would all be born healthy and trouble free and remain that way until the end of our lives, but life is not that way. The list of diseases, conditions, tragedies and problems that can befall us is exhaustive. The fact is that any of us can be affected at any time by life-changing issues. Whatever the cause, we have a choice as to how we deal with what we encounter. We can be bitter, as many are, or we can ask the Lord to guide us through and to use our struggles for His glory.
I have a sweet friend whose son violated the law and had to spend time in prison. Her heart was broken and she had no idea how to move forward. She kept praying fervently for him and asked others to do so as well. She also asked the Lord for a purpose in what was happening. He began to bring people into her life that were going through the same experience and she was able to minister to them because she trusted that the Lord had a plan. Because her heart remained open to her Savior, His light brightened the dark path of others.
In the first verses of the ninth chapter of John, Jesus and His disciples encounter and man that was born blind. The disciples ask Jesus, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus responded, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him." Jesus healed the man and he went and told others and the power of God was made known.
I am not saying that God is handing out illnesses or difficulties for His own gratification. I'm not implying that at all. My point is that we have a choice in how we deal with these things that arise in our lives. We can climb into our beds and hide our heads under the covers and hope our problems just disappear, or we can bow at the feet of Jesus, pour out our hearts, then ask Him to be present and active so that His power and love will be seen in how we proceed and that He will be glorified.
There are two quotes that I would like to share before I close. One was in one of my morning devotions:
God often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad for our greatest calling. (author unknown).
"When the suffering soul reaches a calm, sweet carelessness, when it can inwardly smile at its own suffering and not even ask to be delivered, then it works its blessed ministry. Then the cross you carry begins to weave itself into a crown." G.D. Watson
May we find joy in whatever life brings us as we dedicate each breath to the One who loves us with His indescribable love. And, Lord, help us to allow you to shine whenever we find ourselves in a place of darkness. God bless.