With the rare exceptions, I was hardly sick in the first 42 years of my life. I had only had three surgeries prior to January 2010 and one of those was to give a kidney to my brother. In 2010 God called me to pastor a church, His call was not into His service as I was already serving Him, but into a different type of ministry, as senior pastor. In the seven years I served at this church I had no less than ten (10) major medical procedures done (surgeries). I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, had a mass found in my lung, a full knee replacement, and two shoulder surgeries. I tell you all this not to complain, or even brag, but to illustrate the amazing power of God. How, God always knows what He is doing even when we do not. There were sometimes when I would think this has got to be too much, or why now Lord? I mean I have diabetes, sure it helped me lose 70 lbs, but what is up with all this other stuff. But in the end, I knew what God was doing was strengthening me, helping me draw closer to Him and allowing me to relate to the people of the church I was pastoring.
Our tendency is to ask, “Where is God when these trials come?” “Why am I all alone?” But you must remember God is working through you for His Glory (Galatians 2.20). Everything He does is with a purpose and a plan. Sometimes things are of our own creation, however we can cry out to our Heavenly Father, and He will listen, and answer us. God has made a way for us to be tried and tested by Him to test our faith, to improve our relationship with Him. Remember what Paul writes to the church at Corinth, “No temptation or trial or test, has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted or tested, beyond your ability, but with the temptation or test, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” I Corinthians 10.13, ESV). Notice the key in this verse, at the very end, “He will also provide the way of escape…” God will always make a way for us to endure the test, the trial, the temptation. What way do you think that is? You guessed it, through Him!
As God deals with us let it become a learning experience, one where we allow God to teach us His ways, His thoughts, and His plans. This can only come by living and knowing His commands (Word). Think on the words of Isaiah, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55.8-9, NASB95). In order for our ways and thoughts to be like God’s, we must allow Him to teach us, good judgement and discernment, His statutes, and to obey His precepts and instructions (vs. 66, 68, 69-70).
Affliction or suffering is part of life, no one truly loves them nor desires them. But have you ever thought of them as a way for God to bring you back to Himself? A way for God to correct your path, your thought, your lifestyle? We must not think of suffering as a bad thing but something to be used to correct us and bring us closer to God. This does not mean we seek out suffering, but we endure it, allow God to guide us through it. So, when we come out on the other side, we are smarter, and closer to our Heavenly Father.
People will lie about you and might even feel good about it, but the real question is what are you going to do about it? The Psalmist said, “but with my whole heart I keep your precepts” (Psalm 119.66, ESV). He does not go after these people, he does not return lie for lie, he does not even get mad. He turns to the Word of God, he remembers God’s precepts, and keeps them, meditates on them. It is God’s Word which helps him through this difficult time. He goes on to say, “I delight in your law” (Psalm 119.67). It is not enough to keep God’s Word but we must also delight in or take joy in God’s Word. If we do not love God’s Word then why would we want to keep its commands or precepts? He concludes by saying, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces” (Psalm 119.71-71, NASB95).
Why would he say such a thing? Because he was able to learn more about God. His Ways and His Word; he developed a closer relationship to his Heavenly Father. Staying in the Word no matter whether affliction comes or goes, whether lies are told about us, or people are against us, God is always on our side. We must stay focused on Him, His Ways, His Word and Obey Him. Then He will give us the wisdom to get through each and every situation.
Yahweh, You are my God, I come to before You today seeking Your wisdom and guidance. Lord I need Your help to handle all the situations and circumstances I find myself in today. I realize some of them are of my own creation, and some of them are from You. But Lord You alone are the Creator of the universe and You alone can provide the correct path through these issues. Help me to listen to Your wisdom, to seek Your guidance and to stand strong in the face of Your judgement. I know not everything will work out the way I want or expect, but it will work out according to Your plan. Help me to trust You, and know You have my best interest in Your hands. Teach me to love You through this, and bring me close to You. All this I humbly pray in Jesus Christ Name Amen.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Co 10:13). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Is 55:8–9). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 119:69). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 119:71–72). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 119:72). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 119:67). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.