"He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities."
Psalms 103:10 NIV
One of the things I most dislike about the enemy of our souls is his penchant for attacking the ill, the elderly, the infirmed.
While my godly mother lay dying, racked with pain from arthritis, sciatica, neuritis, bursitis, heart failure and a host of other illnesses, she began to doubt that Jesus loved her, that Jesus cared for her. I held her hand in that sterile room, read promise after promise from God's precious Word that He had saved her, that she was the darling of His care, the apple of His eye, her ever-present Lord. Those assurances brought peace again to her heart.
Oftentimes, when my own pain reaches unbearable heights, thoughts come to me that perhaps some sin in my life caused my illness. But my Savior Jesus helps me rebuke that barrage and know once again that when God forgives, He forgives to the uttermost and buries our sins forever and ever in the depths of the sea.
Other times, when I lie on my bed, too ill to move, the enemy of my soul tells me that my lack of faith is responsible for my lingering illness. But God reminds me again and again that He honors even a tiny bit of faith. In Matthew 17:20 the mustard seed is specifically used to illustrate faith and the exercise thereof.
Why then am I not healed? With all my heart I believe it's because this is the only way God can get my attention, to set me aside to feed me from His Word, nurture me with His presence, surround me with His love and grace, prepare me to be the kind of godly woman He wants me to be.
Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people and God is using our days of pain and suffering that so many of us are going through to make us ready to meet our bridegroom, Jesus. I don't want to be ashamed at His appearing.
Please, Father, don't let these days of pain be wasted on me. I want to be an eager student, a vessel, an eager participant in the "fellowship of Your suffering." Amen