One sunny but cold winter
morning in Northeast Florida, I found myself staring at the beautiful oak trees
outside my office window. My mind drifted to a particular oak tree called “The
Old Senator” which is located just a couple blocks away. This particular Oak
was alive during the War Between the States. Confederate as well as Union
soldiers saw this tree while stationed in the oldest permanent settlement in
what is now the United States, Saint Augustine, Florida. Then my focus shifted
to the lives and deaths of the soldiers, yet the Oak was still here watching
people come and then go.
The Apostle James, a
bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ shared, “…For what is your life?
It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14, NKJV). The Oak
tree planted and nourished by God lived and flourished next to the soldiers who
would have been enduring, no doubt, many forms of personal suffering. The Oak,
relying on God, still remains but the soldiers, relying on themselves, died. I
wondered how many of the soldiers found peace and joy in their suffering
because they knew to delight in the Lord?
God’s Word has been around a very long time and those of us who read and study
His Word know He does not want anyone or anything to suffer. So why do I suffer
from such excruciating chronic pain day after day, year after year, and decade
after decade?Here is what God spoke to me and I want to share with you.
His message put in my words of understanding was — the prayer of faith will save the sick.
There is a great difference
between hearing and receivingGod’s Word. For decades I heard -
the prayer of faith will save the sick.However,
when I finally, by the grace of God, received
the message I became aware of confusing — will save the sick with will heal
the sick! God, in His tremendous love for me, has decided to not heal me
in order to save me. Even though
being disabled allows me nothing but time to submerge myself in God’s Word I
failed to receive the Apostle
James’ message — “…For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a
little time and then vanishes away.” God, knowing the brevity of human life and
knowing me knew I needed help in truly drawing close enough to Him to have a
chance of being saved. It is positively not His Will to see me suffer but in
His infinite wisdom, He knew it was the best way to get and keep my attention
on Him at the deepest level. I suppose it was taking too long to truly rely on
Him for everything in my life, so with eternity at stake, the Holy Spirit
pushed me and keeps pushing me closer and closer to my Creator.
Now I know God is working
through me, through my pain and disabilities in order to save my soul. He wants
me to, like “The Old Senator” oak tree; rely on Him and not my own
understanding. He has prepared a home for me in His Kingdom but needed to
remind me of His narrow gate at the
entrance. His Kingdom is a Holy place that only allows Holy inhabitants. It is
my honor to pick up my cross every morning knowing I will be resting on Jesus’
chest at the end of my day.
If you are reading this article,
it is most likely because you are suffering as well. The Apostle Paul in his
letter to the Galatians shared, 2“Bear one another’s burdens, and
so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2, NKJV). I
pray what I share in not only this article but also everything shared on this
website helps you in some way.
Finally, please allow me to
share a few closing thoughts.
God does not want anyone to
suffer but He loves you enough to do whatever it takes to get your attention in
order to ensure your eternity with Him.
God does not want anyone to
suffer but our disabilities are not His primary focus. His primary focus is and
always has been — the gospel.
Learn from my mistake. Pray for
His help and not His healing!
Do you say you believe in God?
Then trust and remember always that He loves you and is in complete control.