It's time for another pastor's talk.
I'm back to visit with you today as your family called to say that the news about your illness is not good. I can only try to understand how this must be hard and very discouraging for you. To think that you will have to live with this affliction for the rest of your life is hard to accept and contrary to all that you hoped and even prayed. You are, therefore, asking what does this all this mean?
Above the obvious changes this brings into your life, you are left wondering is God's hand still upon your life, and can you still have the same relationship with God through Christ as before? You might even be tempted to ask, How can I ever have a testimony of God's favour when I daily live with disability and ill-health?
Well, you need to know that you are not alone. There are many Christians who have glorified God through their loss of health and the physical struggles that have had to go through. Even the apostle Paul had to live with infirmity in the body. Let me read the following verses that speak of Paul's physical malady and of how he dealt with it.
"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong" (2 Corinthians 12:7 - 10).
We don't know exactly what the apostle's problem was, but we know he wanted rid of it. He prayed three times for God to heal him, however, it was not God's will. Rather, God did something more profound in the apostle's life through his infirmity. God promised him grace to bear it, and it would be plenteous grace. God's answer to the apostle's prayer was, "My grace is sufficient for thee." T
hat meant that it would fully compensate for all the pain, slowness, changes in life that this would bring. It would be an added feature of the apostle's life and ministry, whereby God would increase his usefulness and show forth His marvellous power to help. I say, help, for this use of the word grace is not a description of God's benevolent character, but of the aid of the Holy Spirit.
This is a promise of spiritual power. Note the parallel statement that went along with the promise, "For my strength is made perfect in weakness." This gave purpose to the malady. God would turn the malady into something powerful. You can also be sure that your heavenly Father has a purpose for you to bear the weakness your illness, or injury, has brought upon you. Paul was called upon to glorify God by boasting in his weakness. That's what Paul set out to do. Note his conclusion of the matter, "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. "
You will be asking how you are going to do that? I understand that it will not be easy. In fact, it will be impossible apart from the grace of God. So, the best thing you can do is to personally claim the Lord's promise to give you the grace, or spiritual strength you are going to need. To claim this promise you should memorize it, pray over it and plead it again and again when things are hard. I assure you that the Lord will not fail you. Thereby, you will become a living testimony to the faithfulness of God and the sufficiency of His grace to help you through your trials.
Paul got to the place where he, Gladly gloried in his infirmities. He did that so he may experience the power of Christ upon his life. He surrendered to the fact that this was God's way to give Him power to live for God in a new way, which he could never have known without affliction. So, don't lose sight of God's power to help you. There is spiritual power for you.
God can give you strength for each day, for He has promised to give you sufficient grace to make you an over-comer in whatever challenges you now face. This is not to deny the difficulties. You need to be a realist to face the reality that this will not be easy. God is also a realist as He will back up His promise to empower you in new ways you might never have imagined. Ask God in prayer to fulfil His promise of sufficient grace in your life at this time of your need.
Father in heaven, I don't know how I'm going to handle all the difficulties I'm now facing. I'm realising that life is going to change for ever. Lord, I would never have chosen this path, but you have chosen it for me, therefore it must be for my good. I have learned from the life of apostle Paul that this personal trial lifts me onto a new plane of life that I might glorify thee in a new way. O Lord, I know I can't do this alone. I know I will fall apart doing this myself, so I earnestly plead for a plenteous supply of your all sufficient grace. Send the Holy Spirit into my life in new power to fill me and change me. Take away my selfish pride. Bring me to the place where I can truly praise thee for this affliction because I've come to enjoy your power in a new way in my life. I don't know how else to pray, so teach me all these things and draw near to help me. I know you don't stand idly by because I am your child and you are my Heavenly Father. This I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!