"A friend who is gravely ill... is greatly loved by many and has had a unique ministry because of her gifts of friendship and hospitality. Must she suffer?
The answer is yes. For the Lord who loves her suffered and wants her to fellowship with Himself. The joy of thus knowing Him comes not in spite of but because of suffering, just as resurrection comes out of death. I have a Savior because I am a sinner; a beauty is given the child of God in exchange for ashes.
We want to avoid suffering, death, sin, ashes. But we live in a world crushed and broken and torn, a world God Himself visited to redeem. We receive His poured-out life, and being allowed the high privilege of suffering with Him, may then pour ourselves out for others.
How can one's illness help another? By being offered to Him who can transform it into blessing.
A Lamp for My Feet
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.
-taken from Gateway to Joy, by Elisabeth Elliot ~Brittany
“O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness,
his wonderful works to the children of men.”
- Psalm 107:8 -
"If we complained less, and praised more, we should be
happier, and God would be more glorified. Let us daily praise God for common
mercies - common as we frequently call them, and yet so priceless, that when
deprived of them we are ready to perish. Let us bless God for the eyes with
which we behold the sun, for the health and strength to walk abroad, for the
bread we eat, for the raiment we wear. Let us praise him that we are not cast
out among the hopeless, or confined amongst the guilty; let us thank him for
liberty, for friends, for family associations and comforts; let us praise him,
in fact, for everything which we receive from his bounteous hand, for we
deserve little, and yet are most plenteously endowed. But, beloved, the
sweetest and the loudest note in our songs of praise should be of redeeming
love. God’s redeeming acts towards his chosen are for ever the favourite themes
of their praise. If we know what redemption means, let us not withhold our
sonnets of thanksgiving. We have been redeemed from the power of our
corruptions, uplifted from the depth of sin in which we were naturally plunged.
We have been led to the cross of Christ-our shackles of guilt have been broken
off; we are no longer slaves, but children of the living God, and can antedate
the period when we shall be presented before the throne without spot or wrinkle
or any such thing. Even now by faith we wave the palm-branch and wrap ourselves
about with the fair linen which is to be our everlasting array, and shall we
not unceasingly give thanks to the Lord our Redeemer? Child of God, canst thou
be silent? Awake, awake, ye inheritors of glory, and lead your captivity
captive, as ye cry with David, “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is
within me, bless his holy name.” Let the new month begin with new songs."
- Charles Spurgeon's Evening Meditation for December 1st