Everyone I'm sure would agree, experiences some type of suffering at different times of their life. It is a result of the fall, and something God choses to use (at times) in order to teach us a valuable lesson. Some people don't really ever have health issues...and then there are some that have problems all the time, or are maybe prone to getting sick.
I am one of the latter people.
The Lord knew what He was doing when He made me, it just may seem to others that it was a 'mistake'. It is something you have to learn to accept, live through, and makes you learn to trust that God has a plan that is perfect and good for your life. Now, I'm quite sure He does not desire for us to have suffering, but I do think there is a reason that some go through trials, and pain more than others. One of them is to have a complete heart of compassion.
After having gone through many different circumstances such as epilepsy for 8 years when I was 3 1/2; migraines and food allergies when I was 12; chronic fatigue, breathing issues, heart irregularity, asthma (hospitalized twice because of it), lowered immune problems, and doctors never knowing what's wrong with me, over the past 4 years or so; God has given me a compassion for other people who struggle in these areas. And it helps me be able to handle problems better, since I've gone through so much already.
Recently, I was blessed to have a stomach problem for 5 weeks, where I was constantly either in pain, or nauseated. The only thing my stomach could handle was rice and tilapia, or berries and yoghurt. And I ate that every day for 5 weeks straight. And lost 15 lbs.
After some testing, I found out that I had parasites and fungus in my stomach, with my good and bad bacteria out of whack causing inflammation, called gastritis. I've been taking a probiotic, and some homeopathic drops to help with that. And it's worked, praise the Lord!
Right when I was kind of starting to get better, I was pleasantly attacked by a very large and protective dog in the country : ) The bite marks were not deep, only mere scratches that hurt.
What should have been a normal healing process, was complicated by a rare nerve disorder called RSD: Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. The only thing was that I was not diagnosed with it until last week...and it's been 5 weeks since I was bit. So I went from limping, to hopping, to crutches, with my leg getting worse and worse, and no doctor knowing what was wrong. I can't flex my foot, it is constantly cold to the touch, it turns different colors sometimes, it is extremely sensitive to touch. All the symptoms of RSD. The only treatment is intense physical therapy, and it can take up to a year to completely walk normally again. Because I am young, and it was caught early, we are confident that I can overcome this with the Lord's help, in the next couple months. But it takes a perseverance to go through all the pain in order to get better. We have to work on desensitizing the nerves in my leg, which is a very painful process, along with learning how to walk again. I get very hot and lightheaded while trying to walk certain distances.
So what does Christ say about all of this?
Well, in James 1 He writes about how trials in your life produces perseverance.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face
trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing
of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must
finish it's work so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything." ~James 1:2-5
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. (vs. 12)
You know, maybe God needs me to learn perseverance like never before. Maybe He is preparing me for something greater that is coming...which means that it is for my own good. And anyways, this is nothing compared to some of the things that our Brothers and Sisters around the world go through each day. I mean, Paul himself went through probably the most things for Christ that I can think of.
He was put in prison multiple times.
He got 39 lashes 5 times (probably some type of rough rope).
He was beaten with rods 3 times.
He was stoned once.
He was shipwrecked 3 times, and spent a day and a night in the open sea.
He was constantly on the run, since he was in danger from:
his own neighbors,
and false brothers (pranks).
He was constantly going without sleep.
There were times where he was hungry and thirsty, but couldn't eat.
He was exposed to the cold.
He was out without any clothing.
The government tried to arrest him, though he escaped.
In spite of all that, he still encourages us that "we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
What have I to say?
Yes, I have more compassion for others.
Yes, I can relate to people who go through these things.
Yes, I can hopefully help comfort others in their trial.
But I can only do this because of the Lord. He has helped me get through each suffering as they came. He is the One who is using this in my life for my own good, and hopefully for the good and building up of others. The question is, am I willing to suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ, and the maturing of my own spiritual walk, and the comfort of other human beings?
Suffering is a part of life. But it is our choice to be joyful during those times, and to allow God to change us as a result.
If you are going through something right now, I would encourage you to read a book by Sally Clarkson called Dancing with my Father. It has been one that has encouraged me, and truly blessed my life.
The other thing I would encourage you to read is, 2 Corinthians all the way through 1 John : ) All of those books in the New Testament are such a blessing to read! Almost the whole thing is underlined in my bible.
I pray that somehow this is an encouragement or a challenge to you, and that you will never forget the absolutely beautiful plan our Heavenly Father has perfectly picked out for you. No matter what you are going through, know that you are very special to at least One very Special Person.
He loves you so very much, and is carrying you through this time of life.
Praise the Lord!
He is worthy and greatly to be praised