The most beautiful gift God has given me came in the form of Lyme disease. I know that statement is strange, but it is true. I am thankful for my husband and my children. I am thankful for my parents. I am thankful for so many blessings He has poured forth upon me and my life but something had to change.
I was so very self-focused. Whatever I did I slapped God onto it but He was not the center, I was. I was ready for ministry. I thought I had it all together. God placed in my heart a strong desire to help the hurting, yet what did I actually know about that? Up to the point of chronic illness I had been through some hard things but not anything too authentically hard to understand those deeply suffering.
In turn when I started to get sick and decline unknowing what actually was wrong with my body I started to hear things from the professionals, "it is all in your head, you are fine." "Maybe you should see a psychiatrist." Yeah maybe after all the unbelief these supposed professionals spewed at me through unedifying words.
Then the "Christian" comforters like the friends of Job rose up and said things like, "Well you just do not have enough faith." or "There must be some sort of sin in your life that is causing this." These comments probably hurt more than those of the professionals. I did not expect much of the paid people who were suppose to help me however these other people were my spiritual family and supposed friends.
People need not speak into things they do not know.
I was devastated, It was only days or weeks before that I caught a passion in my heart that desired God above all other things. I prayed, "God please do whatever it takes to make me more like Jesus, to make me what you want me even if it comes to death, let Angela die and YOU live." I was whole heartedly serious.
When you pray prayers that are sincere like that He hears. He spurns our hearts in the first place. He now was coming tenderly and fiercely at the same time. I was wooed and cut all at the same time. A strange thing indeed but a precious time. I would not trade this for the world.
It was only here in this desperate place that I came to understand I needed to know what God really said about illness and faith. Again, I was trying to be the center wondering what I could have done or why my faith was weak because I just prayed this prayer? I was not even seeing it was about Him being strong. About Him using these circumstances to mold and shape me more like Him.
Less of me more of HIM.
Prayer being answered but the people around had no idea. They spoke what they did not know. They needed to be in the word and studying it for themselves. Not listening to what others say or speculate. KNOWING and STUDYING the word for yourself is what makes all the difference and makes your theology sound.
The gift God gave me in Lyme was inviting me to understand who He really is. How He loves me so much that He died for me and my sins. How I was indeed a depraved sinner of the worst kind yet He chose me and counted me lovely, even to the point of sharing in His suffering.
Can He heal? YES HE CAN! I thought at one point I was fully healed yet He has allowed this disease to linger longer still. Was I angry? YES I WAS! Yet again it was about me being the center not HIM. If we want to bring Him supreme glory and experience the most joy we must trust His plan. What the enemy may want to use to destroy us, He is actually using for our good and His glory.
So are you suffering now? What is your center? What is the important end result? Your healing or His glory? You being well or being more like Him? My prayer is we will become a people who are not afraid to experience all the fullness of Him as He molds and shapes us in whatever means He allows as a vehicle to do this. Oh how I hope we will wake up to His goodness and kindness to us.