God works in mysterious ways. Ways in which none of us will ever understand, while on this earth. Does God use sufferings to bring glory to His name? Does He use catastrophes such as 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina to bring people to Himself? Does He use terrible, life long diseases to show His grace? These are hard questions and I don’t seem to have the answers. Last night though my view of God was changed forever, seeing something in someone that I had never seen nor heard before.
On Monday nights this fall I have begun attending a small group. A group filled with lots of different people, who I am still getting to know. At the end we usually break up into small groups to pray and to give intentional encouragement to one another. Last night I got to meet a new guy.
We began to talk through stuff and be an encouragement to one another. That night this guy had talked about some physical pain he was dealing with. So I began to ask him about it, not knowing what it was he was dealing with. I was expecting him to be dealing with knee pain; worse case cancer or something like that. What he said next though, blew me away.
He had been dealing with a rare disease, Job’s disease. As he explained it to me and how rare it truly was, I cringed. Here is a website that tells you more about this disease: http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/job-syndrome I felt like maybe God wanted to heal this guy. Here is our conversation about it.
“Do you believe God can heal you?” I asked.
“Yes, I do. But as long as He is using this disease for His glory, I’m okay with suffering,” he said.
Literally this is what this guy said. And my mind was absolutely blown. Like literally. I couldn’t believe that this guy was okay with having a disease that hurt so much, was so painful, because God was using it for His glory. So we continued.
“Do you believe God is using this for His glory?” I asked.
“Oh yes. God uses this disease to be a constant encouragement for believers and non-believers alike. I am “happy” to suffer for His glory,” he said.
How many of us are “happy to suffer” for His glory? I know I’m not. I hate to suffer. Here is a guy though that is completely sold out to Christ. He is living Paul’s quote, “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” He trusts God completely to use even his disease and his suffering to show God’s grace and glory.
“Do you ever wish you didn’t have this disease?” I asked.
“Yeah sometimes. This disease though is what brought me to Christ and if I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t have cried out to Him like I did. It’s only an earthly body, right? One day God will give me a perfected body in Heaven,” he said.
By the end of this talk, I was given hope once more. Given hope in so many areas and even able to look at my own struggles and wonder what if I had this guy’s mindset. What if I looked over the struggles of my life and of my present and was able to see God’s grace and sovereignty in it all?
Last night encouraged me in so many ways. From the mouth of a friend, came the words of Jesus Christ. The came through pain and suffering but they came all the same. I was encouraged to thank God for the suffering and be thankful for all I had been given. I don’t know if God would have given me this disease, would I be able to see His grace and His compassion and His mission, like this guy does. I am looking forward to more mind blowing, grace filled conversations with this guy. By the way, he has only been a disciple of Jesus Christ for two years. What faith! What trust! I pray that I also may have that much faith and trust!