As I was getting ready for my day yesterday, I pulled up a James MacDonald sermon to listen to while I got ready. It’s always a good way to start my day and I often gather at least 1 truth to chew on throughout the day. Yesterday morning was no different, but the truth that I grabbed to chew on was much more applicable and personal than normal. The preacher was telling of the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Now, I’ve heard this story many many times. I even remember the paper characters for the flannelgraph board that we had in sunday school. I came really close to just tuning it out and not paying attention, but I’m so glad that I didn’t. Many of the times that I’ve heard the story, the teacher just starts right in at the raising from the dead part, but this time he started at the beginning.
“Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”” John 11:1-4
After James MacDonald read this section he abruptly stopped and said, “Let’s stop right there for a moment.” There are some of you that needed to here and that might be the very reason you are here listening.” He went on to say that sometimes God gives you an illness not because He’s mean or because He wants to see you get discouraged and give up, but because He loves you and He knows that the situation will require you to trust Him and rely on Him more, and He also knows that the illness is an opportunity to God to be glorified whether it be by the way you handle your difficulty or by the way others minister to you or even if He chooses to heal you.
It’s really easy to lose sight of that-that the God of heaven saw fit to, and allowed me to be chronically ill. And because we know that God is a just, loving, and perfect God, we know that He is completely aware of what is happening. We know that He has something to teach me, or maybe something to teach someone else. We know that He doesn’t want me to fail, and we know that He is able to take my illness and use it to mold and shape me into the woman He wants me to be. He is teaching me that without Him I am nothing. He is taking this very independent young lady and teaching me that it’s okay to rely on others.
God is there when I’m sobbing into my pillow because I just want to be healthy. God is there when all I can do is go from my bed to the couch and to the bathroom. He’s there when I’m having a good day and He’s there when I’m afraid. He alone gives life and He alone sustains me.
So for whatever reason He saw fit to allow me to be how I am, I can know that my sickness is ultimately for His glory and for Christ to be glorified in it.