When we are battling everything from a common cold to cancer, we are diverting energy that otherwise would be used to worship God, bless others and be productive in this life. This is why next to death; the greatest weapon the enemy uses to trip up God's people is sickness, disease and injury. Amazingly, I have come to understand in recent years that God at times allows getting and staying sick for many different reasons.
I used to condemn those who got sick and didn't get healed. I looked down on them as being weak in faith. This ridiculous attitude changed abruptly when I got sick many years ago and no amount of prayer got me better. When I had to have an operation in July of 1988 or die, it was the most humbling experience of my life. It was only after I finally got better that I began to understand that God had allowed the sickness so as to teach me about suffering, pain and everything else associated with sickness.
In the 25 years since that operation, God has healed me countless times of everything from a sore throat to major heart issues. God has also required that I endure long periods of suffering so as to be a better servant for my Lord and manifest the empathetic understanding necessary to help people who have no way to deal with pain, grief or despair.
When I start feeling bad I try to immediately take the situation directly to God and ask Him for healing. If that healing happens, I give Him all praise and glory and move on with life. But, if that healing does not happen immediately, I ask for prayer by those who know and love me. If the healing still has not happened, I look for both natural as well as medical cures.
If, after doing all these things I am still no better, I know that God is either using my situation to benefit another or is trying to teach me a profound lesson in living. What I know (by experience) is that I have learned some of the most incredible things when I was suffering the most. The ability to remain faithful to God even when our frail human body breaks down is the single greatest lesson in living we could ever experientially learn.
In this life, I have survived being stripped of my ministry credentials, the breakup of a marriage, financial disaster, many major medical emergencies and conditions and devoting years of my life to caring for ailing parents. If I know one thing and rejoice in anything it is that through it all, my faith in God and love for Him has never wavered and in fact has grown immensely. I can honestly say that my life since all those things happened long ago, is far better and stable now than before they all came crashing down upon me.
It takes deep conviction, unwavering faith and absolute trust to endure tribulation, distress, affliction and loss. It takes far more of these things to stand through hardship than to ride the crest of the wave during the good times. If we desire to stay faithful to God for a lifetime, we better learn how to endure hardship for I guarantee you it will follow those who are in Christ Jesus like the tail behind the dog.
Until and unless we are willing to lose everything in this life, including our good health, good looks and good lifestyle; we will never be able to remain faithful in the long run to our Lord. If and when those things the world calls most important are sacrificed at the feet of Jesus, then we are able to be a servant of the Lord and child in whom He is well pleased. Isn't that what we want?
As always, Blessings 2 you!