What if your pain could be used to bless, encourage and inspire others? In John chapter 11, Jesus receives word that Lazarus, one of His good friends, is very sick. When He hears this, he says, “The purpose of his illness is not death, but for the glory of God. I, the Son of God, will receive glory from this situation (John 11:4).” So instead of healing him, Jesus allowed his friend to die. While Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, were distraught, blaming the Lord for not getting there on time, He had other plans. He seen the bigger picture, and that was not only so onlookers would put their faith in God, but for people like you and me to still be talking about how Jesus raised His buddy Lazarus from the DEAD more than 2,000 years later. The time between Lazarus’ death and resurrection (John 11: 43-44) didn’t make sense to those around him, I’m sure. Mary and Martha must’ve thought, “Good grief, what’s the point of being good friends with God’s Son if He heals everyone but us?” They were in pain, upset, fraught with grief. But soon their distress was transformed to delight when Lazarus was raised from death. You see, when we stop trying to make sense of the trials and tribulations of this very moment—this minuscule breathe of time—and try to see the bigger picture, we can better understand the Lord’s design. Sometimes He allows us to endure certain trials because we can use the courage, strength, resolve and joy we found in the battle to help others.
Let me state emphatically: I believe it is God’s will we be healed. At times, however, our healing comes not in this life but the next. It is my personal opinion that people who claim we haven’t been healed because of “secret sin” or “unbelief” are not always right. Sure, this may be the case sometimes, but healing can evade even the best of us. The Apostle Paul, one of the greatest preachers, writers and speakers of the 1st century church, wasn’t healed of his affliction (also referred to as his “thorn in the flesh” or his “messenger of Satan,” depending on which Bible translation you read). He asked the Lord to heal him, and after seeking God on three separate occasions, the answer from Heaven finally came. Did Jesus say, “Go and be healed?” No, He said, “My grace is all you need. I am at my strongest when you are at your weakest (2 Corinthians 12:9).”
It is only when we are broken and weak we can fully appreciate the strength God provides. We must be fully dependent upon Him. Our spirits may be akin to a blackened, empty building after a raging fire, but Jesus can give us “beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted (us) like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory (Isaiah 61:3).”
So continue to seek the Lord’s guidance and direction. Keep seeking healing. Never stop walking in His light. While you’re waiting for your healing, though, ask Jesus how He can best use your suffering for the greater good. I’m FAR from being a great example, but I started this blog and created a Facebook group for Christians who suffer from chronic physical and/or emotional pain, “Broken People, Mended Spirits” (https://www.facebook.com/groups/brokenpeople.mendedspirits/), to embolden you. I continue to live through what feels like “hell” at times, emotionally and physically, but I have no doubt I can make it. Only the Lord can give someone joy that passes all human understanding. The message is not that God makes life seamless, unflawed, but rather, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. When I am weak, He is strong.”
Never give up, never give in, never surrender.