Chronic Illness – I Praise the Lord
Ever since my walk with Christ began, I’ve always identified with the man in Mark 9. Upon encountering Jesus, he says emphatically, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” During the last couple of years as I have battled chronic illness, there have been times that that man’s cry has become my cry, my story’s theme.
The Onset of My Chronic Illness
When some annoying little health issues developed into bigger problems; and, those bigger problems mystified my doctors, it seemed I could find no relief. Some mysteries were solved with a diagnosis of various autoimmune disorders; but, those came with no viable treatment options. I could no longer eat many of the foods that I liked, my hair began to thin, my energy waned, and, worst of all, I was told I wouldn’t be able to have children. These were life-altering developments; sadness and doubt filled my mind for months, but the Lord kept reminding me of that man in Mark 9. Though sometimes through tears, He would give me strength to muster up the prayer “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
God is Faithful!
Christ proved Himself so faithful to me in answering this persistent and desperate prayer. I had not understood what I needed when I prayed it those many times, but He did. More than physical healing from my chronic illness, I needed to know more of Him and His kingdom. The bedrock truth of what I came to know of His nature is this: our Father is the Giver of good gifts. This truth is so much deeper and so much more meaningful to me than I had ever hoped or dreamed before.
- “Every good and every perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17 ESV
- Our God is more constant than the sun or moon or stars. The very things we count on for consistency pale in comparison to the consistency of the One Who made them. His constancy allows us to trust, even in the most difficult and darkest times, that He will never forsake us. Even after the sun fails to rise, He will remain. And to this God, who remains forever, can be attributed every good thing.
- “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11 ESV
- Our heavenly Father longs to pour out His good gifts on us when we seek Him. I am continually enlightened and amazed at what a good gift He Himself is, and how I long for more revelations of his goodness.
Jesus is The Giver of Gifts
The Holy Spirit was directing me to fix my eyes on Jesus and not to take them off of Him. I was assured that God is the Author of good, and that no matter what crazy things I encounter during my life in this broken world, He is still, and always will be, bestowing the best possible gifts.
A New Life Without Chronic Illness
- Good Gift #1: “…that I may know Christ and the power of his resurrection.” (Philippians 3:10) What a gift! To be able to know Christ and experience life again, to the fullest. And what a hope while walking through illness during this life. One day, we will experience resurrection into a life that will not waste away.
Hope for a Better Tomorrow
- Good Gift #2: “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come.” Hebrews 13:14 While here, we are strangers living in a broken world riddled with disease, violence, grief, and loss, we have the gift of hope that we are bound for a heavenly home in which none of those pains from chronic illness will exist.
Spiritual Children and the Family of God
- Good Gift #3: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4.) Due to my chronic illness, I may never be able to have my own biological children, but Jesus commands us to make disciples, spiritual children, and I have confidence that I can follow the call through the power of His Spirit.
A Higher Calling
- Good Gift #4: “Be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of the Lord.” (Colossians 1:10) The Lord gives us purpose. When my thoughts are inward and on my problems, the Holy Spirit points me to Jesus and reminds me that my responsibility is to my Savior. No matter how I feel, serving Him and serving others is my highest calling. To bear good fruit, to know Him, and to please Him, these are things that are worthy of my thoughts and efforts.
There are innumerable good gifts; the Lord has filled the world with them. Acknowledging these good gifts has undoubtedly been a remedy to my attitude. However, my body is still not healed. How do I cope with that? These questions still arise in my heart, albeit with much less frequency than before. This is what I do – I praise the Lord. I praise Him because He has already healed me in the deepest and most glorious way.
Christ Healed My Soul
No matter if my body feels healed or not, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin.” (Colossians 1:13) Even when I am grieving or doubting, I have this hope, that my worst disease, my sin, has been healed fully. If my soul has been made whole, I am whole. I can rejoice in that truth!
Though my unbelief runs deep, Jesus hears my pleas for more faith. And even on my worst days, He provides reason for me to praise Him. Thank you, Jesus.
Submitted By: J.R.
This testimony is one in a series of stories given to us by women who have seen how God works in times of trial. The hurts here are real, and as much as possible, we try to leave the articles as they were written. Sometimes it is hard to put into words the deep emotions that go along with both the hurt and the restoration.
It is our greatest hope that you will find encouragement from these stories; knowing that God can see you through your troubles. Be strong in faith and let us know if we can pray for you. You can leave a comment below or send us a private email.
Series Introduction: Biblical View of Grief
Testimony: God’s Presence in the NICU
Testimony: God Heals the Pain of Divorce