Paul asked three times for his thorn in the flesh to be removed (2 Corinthians 12:7–10). In James, the elders are called in to ask for the healing of a person that is sick (James 5:14–15). It’s right to pray and ask for these symptoms of the curse to be taken away. And yet, many times, there is pain that doesn’t leave. And the healing doesn’t happen.
We rejoice when God heals a case of terminal cancer or relieves someone of chronic daily pain, whether it is through a miracle or a doctor or both. The curse has lost another battle and God has shown his goodness in a sweet and meaningful way in the life of one of his children. But, even the most miraculous healing is extremely temporary and fading. Even if someone is healed after years of chronic pain, or even if a terminal cancer patient watches his tumor disappear, or even if someone with severe disabilities experiences unexpected improvement, our hope far outweighs any healing in this life.
Yes, we praise God for any of these good gifts, but we must realize they’re not the ultimate goal or hope. In fact, the person in pain with cancer or with disabilities is still living in a futile home with a futile body, even after his healing. The healthiest person in the world lives in a place where disaster could strike or his body could fail at any moment.
These realities are why it is utterly important to find our hope in Jesus Christ himself rather than in any healing or circumstances, however good.
And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. (Romans 8:23–24)
Adopted into God’s family, we were saved in the hope of the redemption of our bodies. It is amazing that we’re no longer under condemnation for our sin (Romans 8:1–4). And it is amazing that we’ve received the righteousness of Christ as our own (2 Corinthians 5:21). Just as amazing is the reality that one day even our bodies will be redeemed. Even our broken, futile bodies will be free from sin and suffering to fully do what we were made to do: worship Jesus Christ.
This is the promise that makes Romans 8:18 possible for those in pain. “The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” This is why our ultimate hope is not in the healing of our bodies now, but in the redemption of our bodies then.
If you’re suffering, remember that one day every tear will be wiped away and you will be with Jesus forever. God is making all things new so that there is a day coming when we will worship Jesus with redeemed bodies in a redeemed creation — finally free to focus all of our energy on enjoying and praising the glory of our God. Whether you were healthy or not in this life, you will experience — with all of your senses healed and heightened — the fullness of the beauty of the Lamb that was slain for you.
Ultimately, we don’t find our joy in pain-free days or a positive diagnosis. In life and in death, we find our hope and joy in knowing that there is a day coming when we will no longer see Jesus dimly, but face to face — no longer in futility, but in freedom and fullness.
It would be a lie if I told y’all I’m not feeling a little anxious about tomorrow lol I got nominated out of the thousands of people and I’m one of only 6 girls who got picked. Now it’s just up to Kyrie or Anthony Davis to draft me so y’all go make some noise on their twitter account to draft me! If I get picked I’ll get to go on an all-expense paid trip to Barcelona, Spain next week with Nike and the USA basketball team. #SummerIsSerious #Nike #BallIsLife #SneakerHead #summerisserious #nikebasketball
"How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose! You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place. O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, and my Salvation."-Augustine
Couldn’t have asked for a better conference to attend on Valentines Day weekend to point me back to my first and ultimate love; Jesus. This conference has been a balm to my weary soul.
"How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose! You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place! O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, and my Salvation." -Augustine
"If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." Luke 6:32-36
If you believe in Jesus and you rest in Him, then suffering will relate to your character like fire relates to gold. Do you want to know who you are – your strengths and weaknesses?
Do you want to be a compassionate person who skillfully helps people who are hurting? Do you want to have such a profound trust in God that you are fortified against the disappointments of life? Do you want simply to be wise about how life goes?
Those are four crucial things to have – but none of them are readily achievable without suffering. There is no way to know who you really are until you are tested. There is no way to really empathize and sympathize with other suffering people unless you have suffered yourself. There is no way to really learn how to trust in God until you are drowning.
But God is with us in the fire.
He knows what it’s like to live through the miseries of this world – He understands. He is near, available to be known and depended upon within the hardship. He walks with us, but the real question is – will we walk with Him? If we have created a false God-of-my-program, then when life falls apart we will simply assume He has abandoned us and we won’t seek Him.