I was reading a scripture that I’ve heard or read a dozen times but noticed something different in it this morning. It also reminded me of something I learned in a Christian Counseling Course I ended up dropping because it left me with a very uneasy feeling. It was teaching that mental and physical illnesses were in some way a result of sin being committed by the ill person of a parent or grandparent. Yes, sin can cause emotional and physical sickness but it’s not always the cause.
Okay, that was a little side note, now back to my original topic and the scripture.
John 9:1-3 “As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.”
The part I never really caught before, was Jesus saying the man was blind from birth for the purpose of displaying God’s Power and Glory! Your first thought, like mine, might be “well that’s kinda cruel, isn’t it? The poor man has suffered his whole life because God decided in advance to have him be born blind.” But the part I sometimes miss, is that God is God and God is always good...even when our finite brains can’t comprehend how that even makes sense. Not to mention, the plain hard truth, He is The Creator of all things and we are not. He created us for His own pleasure and glory. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” Romans 11:33-36
“...all things have been created through him and for him.” Colossians 1:16b
I remember when my perspective was drastically changed after simply reading the very first sentence, in the first Chapter of Rick Warren’s book “The Purpose Driven Life ~ What on Earth are we Here For?“. The sentence simply said ”It’s not about you.” This actually made me angry and confused...like what are you talking about? My life is about me and my happiness....isn’t it?! I actually put the book down but luckily my curiosity got the best of me so I picked it back up and read on to the next sentence...“The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.”
Still slightly in shock and a little mad, I stopped and pondered that part...baffled. However, as it sank in, a peace I’d never known before, began to wash over me. I had a crazy sense of relief that “It wasn’t about me!” This life isn’t about me finding the ultimate happiness, the perfect husband, having kids, the perfect career...the world will keep going if I don’t succeed at anything. God is in full control and has been and will be for eternity. My life here on earth is short. It’s okay if I endure suffering, as long as it’s not in vain and is part of God’s Purpose and plan! If I follow Him, Seek Him, Glorify Him and make Him smile...I am succeeding!! I am fulfilling the biggest part of my purpose...being a Joy to The Lord!! What freedom there is when you stop striving and start following, submitting and obeying God’s Will. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
It was in that moment, in 2003, when my purpose and direction changed and placed me on the path I am on today! The path that gives me unexplainable peace and joy, even through the tough times, even through the acceptance of my never experiencing my lifelong dream of having a baby from my own womb. Life is short and God’s Will is greater than my dreams. His Will is for my ultimate good and the good of those whom He places in my life!
So if you are suffering from emotional or physical or situational pain and illness...remember that it’s not in vain! It is for the display of God’s glory...hand it over to Him...pray and allow Him to show you how there can be glory from this pain. I also suggest reading the book :)
For me, had I not been allowed to experience suffering and disappointment in my life, I would not have this deep passion to write the devotionals I write or to pour into those hurting, broken and lost. I can honestly say it’s all been worth it, when I can bring light into someone’s dark world ❤️
“They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:3b