He will not suffer is elect to an uncertain fate. I remind myself of this frequently as I struggle with a chronic illness.
Not the first time I’ve had health problems. These have pushed me to the limit. The limit of what I can overcome with my own determination.
And that’s when I have to face the idols that I have built up in this life. All of the things that I constantly erect to take the place of God.
I wasn’t supposed to be physically incapacitated at this age. “Who does God think he is?”
That’s an easy question to answer. God thinks he is God because he is God. Almighty. Sovereign over every last man and animal he has created.
I disagree with his methods, sinner that I am. Fool that I am. Ignorant man that I am. Then the pain and weakness gently force me into submission.
Submission is a good thing. I need it desperately. This flesh of mine wants to sin until the last breath. And it will. And with that last breath will come the end of my sin.
Despair threatens but cannot conquer. He will not allow it in his own. Not unto the end. Even when their spirit breaks, he rises in victory.
Tears are the evidence. Tears of frustration anger that finally turn to tears of gratitude. Gratitude for his loving, caring hand that will not allow this tainted saint to fail in the journey home.
Only he knows me in truth. Only he knows the depth of my spiritual disease as he applies each loving affliction. Oh that I would understand the love that he has chosen to exert. The compassion, mercy, and patience that he exerts. Rather than wrath.
I deserve wrath. I know it even though I protest. I know more and more the depth of my corruption. That he would even patiently endure my ingratitudes. My complaints. My foolish lack of understanding.
When my son was only a toddler he cut his hand upon a piece of glass. In the emergency room the doctor told me that the wound needed to be scrubbed out with a stiff brush and antiseptic. The little boy was a ball of fearful screams, the sort that are so loud and terrified that they crush the soul of an adult. So the doctor turned to me and asked me to do it, hoping that my son would not kick and fight so against his own father.
It broke my heart to administer pain, even though it was for my son’s own good. A nurse standing nearby saw the dilemma, mercifully. He jumped in and quickly and with great skill, cleaned the wound.
Surely God could miraculously do otherwise. But he has chosen to take the brush to my open wound, himself. As my son could not possibly understand that the treatment was desperately needed, I likewise only see the pain in the treatment.
At my age I am not unaware that my current illness may not be one that I will see cured in this kingdom. God may choose to do so, and I pray for it. But if he does not, I know that he loves me far more than the love that I feel towards my own son.
I only needed to have the resolution and will to hurt my son for his own good. My own Father has gone a greater distance, suffering much more in the death of his own Son, given for me. He hurt his child far more than I can possibly comprehend.
Seek first the kingdom of God, I am reminded. There is a glory and greatness in God’s kingdom that surpasses anything that I can know in this life. I know this and yet I don’t know this. May God give me understanding. And trust.
My fleshly man begs for relief. The spiritual man begs for faith. That he would grant a spirit of repentance. That he would grant me a trust in Him that surpasses what I can generate on my own.
It is what defines life in this kingdom for the one who looks unto Jesus. Confusion. Fleshly doubt and fear. Sealed by the Spirit with a humanly unnatural trust. Carried in the arms of God when I have no strength to continue on my own.
I perceive a great blessing that is being unhatched, no thanks to my own willingness and efforts. The blessing of being forced to turn away from this world and look unto Jesus. May God make him all that I see.