I am currently as well as my family, experiencing the troubles of life this week. Our children became very seriously ill. I am writing from hospital tonight. Nisia who had a kidney transplant 2 years ago has been very sick.
It certainly challenges your faith and your theology when confronted by sickness. I have heard it said that this life is heavy and full of trials. Yet Jesus makes us an invitation of exchanging our “yoke” of sickness, trials, needs, for His light yoke of rest. Rest is what I am crying out for tonight.
There are two opposite poles theologically where believers lie. One side believes that trials of all kinds brings virtue. The other side believes that God wants to deliver us from them all and give us dominion.
I think the answer lies somewhere in between. Romans 8.28 says nothing is by chance for those who love God and who are called to His Divine Purpose.
I lived this out over 30 years ago in 1988. We had arrived in Whitehaven in Cumbria for a 14 day work of evangelism and youth work. A new small group had been established in Cleator Moor just outside the town.
I remember as a team of 7 of us, a sickness bug took over most members. One particular night of the noise of painful retching I lost my confidence and with considerable fear of illness fled the place we were staying and took off to the train station. The enemy certainly got me. I was so fearful.
I was tired as I saw it, we would see lives changed but I saw my own life torn away from home, numerous problems, attacks spiritually, exhaustion. I saw it as a bad payment for a life serving God.
I telephoned my first pastor who encouraged me to get over my fear. Team members found me and counselled me.
The next morning I got up early as I was to preach in Whitehaven AOG church. I felt such a mess. How could I preach?
I walked to St. Bees. A beautiful oasis on a forgotten coast not given to tourism but industry and the infamous Sellafield nuclear plant.
There God met me. He reassured me. He told me He would protect me. He would be with me. So as I arrived back and preached I felt weak yet gave the message God had given me. The amazing thing was the pastor there was very touched and many people were ministered to. The same day we went to Cleator Moor and 19 young people gave their lives to the Lord. And at night in Maryport we saw lives changed. Only 3 of the team were well enough to do all this.
So this episode returns poignantly. Not that I am free of fear. But I have been in the lifetime school of faith. Sometimes the daily choice to have my faith in His faithfulness is a discipline I must daily choose to align myself with faith not fear.
Yes trials will come. The key is what I do in them. Do I have faith in circumstances or He who is above them, and can change them?
Romans 5 tells us to call upon experiences by which we are shown how God taught us to trust Him. I believe this lesson alone is the hardest of all. We must trust more He who is invisible than what our eyes indicate that seems visible.
For those who face terminal conditions I believe the off pat absolute theology that God’s will is to heal, can leave some lost. I believe that we must discern in all circumstances the hidden purpose that leads to eternal fruits. It may be complete healing or it may be an example of faith when all gave up hope.
Therefore I pray some will find hope in my personal message here. Pray for us. Send us feedback.