I have been chronically ill for over seven years.
I have prayed over and over again for God to heal me. Throughout the years, I have had family and church members praying for me. I even went to the elders of the church and had them pray over me and anoint me with oil.
And God has yet to heal me.
The pain of dealing with an illness which knows no end is heartbreaking.
But Jesus is no stranger to heartbreak
In Luke 22:42-44 we see Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane right before he would be betrayed and crucified. He says:
“Father if you are willing, please take this cup from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Then the bible says an angel appeared and strengthened him. And then Jesus prayed more fervently and was in such agony his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
Jesus prayed while in pain. And while the Father strengthened him, he did not take the pain away.
In Hebrews 12:2b the bible says
“For the joy set before him, he [Jesus] endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Perhaps, what helped Jesus endure was knowing He could trust His Father. He knew God would work his anguish out for the good of all people. He knew it would be worth it in the end because the pain would be short lived compared to the eternity he would secure for us in heaven.
God strengthened Jesus. But he did not remove the cross.
And then God used Jesus to redeem every person who has ever lived or ever will live. When Jesus trusted God’s plan, God used the hard thing he endured for something grand.
In the same way, when we encounter difficult situations in life, God may choose to strengthen us instead of taking our difficulties away. He may choose to grow our faith, instead of healing us. He may choose to help us learn to lean on his strength, instead of removing the thorn from our side.
Paul knew this well. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 he says:
“I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’”
God strengthened Paul by reminding him of his grace. But God did not remove the painful thorn.
And then God used Paul in mighty ways to build his church and write many books in the New Testament which still influence readers today.
When Paul trusted God’s plan, God used what he endured to create something grand.
We may pray for God to heal us or to remove a miserable circumstance from our life, but what will we do if he chooses not to?
•We can lean on His strength to help us endure. We can trust in His plan and His ability to work it all out for our good. (Romans 8:28).
•We can remember He promise to never leave us or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:8).
•And we can remember our pain here will be short lived compared to the eternity awaiting us.
It can be hard when God chooses to strengthen us instead of removing our suffering.
But when we trust in God’s plan, he can turn our pain into something grand.
Collene is wife and mother of three who loves to write in her spare time. She loves to inspire and encourage women to find their hope in Jesus and seek rest in His Presence so that they will know they are loved, adored, forgiven, and can be used for His Kingdom no matter how broken they are.