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Thanking God in the midst of trials and illness

 July 2009 

In many ways July has been a very disappointing month for us because Kathy's operation has not been a success. She has prolapsed again, although the prolapse is minor compared with what it used to be.

Despite this disappointment in our family, I have been very encouraged with Kathy's reaction. She appears to be very positive and grateful to God despite this disappointment.

When we look back over our lives, we can clearly see that some of our greatest trials have turned out to be our greatest blessings.

Twenty years ago, I was shattered when I contracted diabetes, but it turned out to be an amazing blessing. My health changed for the good, but more importantly, I eventually found God in a more intimate way. I got on to Scripture memory and grew to love it, especially when I began hearing from God from these memorized Scriptures.

One Scripture that has been a huge blessing to me over the years is Galatians 4:13-16, where the Apostle Paul is expressing his gratitude to the Galatians for accepting him, even though he had an illness that probably caused his blindness.

Galatians 4:13-16 says this:

13As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. 14Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?

I have often wondered why God allowed Paul to be almost blind and didn't heal him. In the case of the Galatians, it was only because of this illness that Paul preached the Gospel to them.

I suspect that if he'd had perfect sight, he would not have written so many letters to the churches. We know he dictated his letters to scribes such as Tertius. (Romans 16:22) In Colossians 4:18, Paul writes the final greeting in his own hand.

It encourages me that God allowed ones like the Apostle Paul to get sick and suffer and that just as with us, things didn't always go well for him.

In the passage in 2nd Corinthians 12:7, we have the well known passage about Paul's "thorn in the flesh," which he says the Lord used to keep him from being puffed up. There is much debate over what this "thorn in the flesh" was, but the important thing is that God used it for his glory. Paul says this in v9: "But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'"

I have asked Kathy to share about this trial in her life and how she is coping with this disappointment. She felt that the most helpful thing she could share was two QT's she'd had:

On Monday 3rd August we were reading Psalm 73.

Special Verse

Verse 1 "Surely God is good to Israel to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped. I had nearly lost my foothold for I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles, their bodies are healthy and strong."

What could God be saying to me. Lord, I feel You are saying that YOU ARE GOOD to me. That I get into trouble and my feet start slipping when I start envying or wanting a body like many unbelievers, healthy, sleek and strong. Lord, please help me find the way to stand up under this trial. I pray that there would be some resolution to this prolapse so that I can get back to normal activity, doing what others can do.

Kathy had missed doing a QT on Sunday 2nd August. So she returned and did it after the Monday QT. The reading was in 1st Corinthians 10:23-33.

Special Verse:

Verse 3 - "They all ate the same supernatural food and drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from the Spiritual Rock that accompanied them and that rock was Christ."

What could God be saying to me? Lord, may I be satisfied with and drink deeply of You, my Spiritual Rock. May I drink deeply of You and feed on every Word that comes out from Your mouth. May I not envy and long for other things like the Israelites did, but drink with thanksgiving the "cup of Christ"(1 Cor 10 v16). Lord I feel you are asking me to thank you for this prolapse. If this prolapse is like Paul's "thorn in the flesh" then Lord, I look to You for the grace to bear it. (2 Cor 12:9). I thank you for this prolapse. Lord, if this is my lot, I drink this cup with thanksgiving.

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