I have a couple of friends who have been praying and believing for God to heal them. I could tell that their hearts were getting a bit discouraged because they weren't seeing instantaneous healing happen in their lives. (And these women are some of the strongest prayer warriors I know). They are dear friends of mine, and my heart was troubled for them. I went home asking God why He wasn't choosing to heal them right away like He did in the Gospels.
As I spent time on the Word, I came across this verse that had my heart pondering: "You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first" [gal4:13].
Wow. Imagine that... Paul, the greatest missionary who ever lived. the one who's mere presence would drive out demons in one command. if a piece of cloth touched him, that cloth could heal others who were sick. The one who was bitten by a poisonous snake and lived to tell about it... the mr super incredible apostle himself... had a body ailment....and he didn't receive instantaneous healing. Talk about the irony of it all.
Instead of receiving healing... his ailment had caused him to pause on his trip and preach at Galatia. His sickness caused him to spread the good news even more.
Talk about divine appointment...even when it looks like it's not. Others could have chosen to see the ailment as a curse. He chose to see it as an open door to preach Christ, despite the ailment and the non-instantaneous healing.
Whether in sickness and in health, this man was on fire and determined to preach God's Word.
This verse reminded me of a blog/twitter acquaintance turned real life friend sara [http://gitzengirl.blogspot.com] who has been believing for healing for a really long time. Sara has touched so many lives because of the tenacity of her faith and her love for Jesus, despite the ailment she faces everyday. She's like a modern day Paul, writing epistles on the world wide web while sharing God's love, even with the sickness that she has. Her faith amazes me so. The strength she has to fight her daily battles has caused others to see God in a greater way and people's faith are strengthened because she chooses to praise God no matter how much it hurts her (literally and figuratively).
Paul and Sara's example gave me a proper perspective in regard to my friends & family who are believing for God to heal them (I have a sister who's been praying for a skin condition to be healed for 4yrs now).... sometimes God chooses to heal right away... sometimes God chooses not to, and instead allows the stories of our pain to be told and shared to bring others to the knowledge of Christ. The result of pain is salvation of souls.
The question that we have to face is... will we choose to be like Paul and keep preaching or will we choose to see the mountain of trials and lose faith?
As His Bride, we must choose to fulfill our vow to love and to cherish Him, in sickness and in health, though rich or poor till death brings us together, where we can rest forever in His arms. It is a beautiful thing to be wed to Jesus.
"choose joy" - Sara :)