Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Purpose While Afflicted

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (II Corinthians 4:17).

There are moments when I believe the truth of this verse, but many times it is difficult to believe in and wait for that eternal reward.

Living with chronic pain and illness I often become self-focused. Daily thoughts can revolve around my discomfort level, medication choices, or limitations on my activities. My troubles do not seem light and momentary. In my relationship with God and what He is doing in my life, I see only my “square of the chessboard” - how my circumstances are affecting me now. I want God to be “all about me”. He is, but He is all about others as well.

If we allow God to do so, He may begin showing us how our pain and suffering can impact others for tremendous good. In the midst of our own struggles, whether we send an encouraging note, pray for someone we know who is struggling, or brighten someone’s day via phone or e-mail, we are all part of God’s bigger picture to touch the lives of others. Perhaps our pain is developing a stronger prayer life in someone we know who is praying for us or allowing them to be a giver rather than a receiver. Handling even one aspect of our suffering well may be a testimony and example to those around us, affecting their lives in a way no healthy life ever could.

When I become too focused on my pain and trials, I want to pray for a heart of thankfulness for all that they may be accomplishing in my life and in the lives of others - now and in eternity. God give me the grace to do it.

Prayer: Lord, give me the strength to stand firm in the faith, knowing that after I have suffered a little while, You will restore me, making me strong, firm, and steadfast (I Peter 5:9,10). May I be willing to endure my trials for Your eternal purposes. Amen.

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