‘I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done. The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death.’ (vv17–18) Psalm 118:15–24
Recently, on a retreat looking at God and chronic illness (a long-term condition for which there is no cure), I discovered people’s tremendous courage and God’s inexhaustible grace. Everyone involved experienced continuous pain, and practical restrictions to living and working as they would like.
Yet, each spoke of the life that God brought to them in very difficult human circumstances. It’s easy to use a word like ‘resilience’ (the ability to endure and overcome a significant experience), but altogether different when talking with those who require resilience on a daily, even hourly basis.
Finding God within what many might see as impossible situations is both a testimony to that person’s qualities and an aspect of wonder at the nature of God’s compassionate message of love. It’s one thing to praise God if healed of my pain, as the lame man did at the gate Beautiful (Acts 3:8); altogether something else to remain faith-filled in the face of continuous illness (Job 13:15).
I have nothing but respect and gratitude for those who persevere in faith, though they do not enjoy the life they might want. Their testimony offers confidence for us all that God’s Word is true. Such testimony silences my complaint and invites me to choose to entrust myself once more to God’s promise.
RELATED SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Josh. 24:14–21; Prov. 3:5–8; Acts 3:1–10; Rev. 1:9–18.
AN ACTION TO TAKE: Bouncing Forwards is a book by Patrick Regan that addresses the issue of resilience
A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, I choose to place my hope in You, even when I am confused and uncertain. Give me courage when I find myself in the dark. Amen.’
Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.
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