I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. ~ John 16:33 — NLT ~
Do you know any Christians who suffer from chronic pain or depression and anxiety? Have you ever heard anyone teach that true Christians don’t suffer from sickness and distress? If that is true, then why do I and many other Christians suffer from constant, chronic pain? Why do many Christians endure and die from incurable diseases?
Why do many ministers pray for people, then, when the person isn’t healed, they claim the person’s faith isn’t strong enough or say the person has some secret sin causing their problems… Such people advise you not to “claim” any ailments, because if you do, you will cause that disease or pain to attach itself to you.
With such foolishness in so many churches, is it any wonder that many people reject Christianity? These falsehoods fly in the face of Jesus’ teachings. Jesus said that we would have many trials and sorrows. Many bible translations call those trials and sorrows, tribulation, which means grievous trouble; severe trial or suffering.
For the last two years, I’ve endured much suffering from severe chronic back pain, financial struggles, depression and anxiety also. Does this mean that God is punishing me? Because I’m suffering, does it mean that I’ve somehow lost my Christianity? Some false teachers that I’ve heard, would say yes. However, I’ve never been one to simply take someone’s word without searching for the truth, myself.
Therefore, when I have a question about my faith, I turn to God’s Word for all of my answers. According to Jesus, who said that we would have tribulations in this world, nothing can snatch one of His followers from His hand…
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from Me, 29 for My Father has given them to Me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are One.” ~ John 10:28-30 — NLT ~
According to history, all of Jesus’ apostles and many of His other followers throughout the ages have suffered much. Many were jailed, beaten and tortured, and even killed for being Christians.
And what about the many Christians throughout the ages who served Christ despite their handicapping conditions? Fanny Crosby was blind from infancy, yet she wrote over 8,000 hymns. Joni Eareckson Tada has been a paraplegic since she was a teenager, yet she has a powerful ministry for Christ. Dave Roever is a Viet Nam war hero who was badly disfigured by a hand grenade, yet he gave his life to Christ.
There are numerous others who have loved the Lord and served Him, men and women who never received their healing this side of heaven, not because they were being punished, or because they had somehow failed God. No, these men and women endured hardship and suffering because He chose to use their pain for His glory. Now, I don’t know about you, but that gives me hope. If God could bless so many through the pain of the men and women I’ve mentioned, as well as countless others, then my prayer is, “Lord, if You choose NOT to heal me, then bless many others through my pain.”
Cheryl A. Showers