I’m not sure which is worse: being the one to suffer, or to see a loved one suffering and having my hands tied?
What do you do; how do you believe in an all Sovereign, Benevolent God when the suffering you are experiencing is just so close to home? How can I hold on to my faith when I see how my little brother is so uncomfortable in his skin? My dad has tried all the creams, all the medicines, all the healthy diet changes, but nothing. My brother’s eczema only flares all the more. His skin is scaly and patchy; it’s itchy and it looks as burned as he feels. We’ve tried everything. I see how his embarrassment increases as others notice and point out the imperfections of his condition; the tears that well up in his eyes while he looks at his arms everyday thinking he’s a freak. I know it’s hard enough for him being thirteen, as he’s trying to adjust to the natural changes of his body and the world around him. It just breaks my heart every time he compares himself to my smooth skin, and all I can do is hug him and think, “why not me?”
Shocking isn’t it, when a Christian questions the very goodness of the God they serve? We’re supposed to have it all together, but the truth is that we’re human and we also tend to only see the tangibility of the circumstances. That is what really forces us to decide: “Does this really work?”
It’s so easy to quote scripture until you have to live by it, but I have some sad news for you in case you weren’t already aware– Christianity isn’t a quick fix.
There I said it.
God isn’t a magician in whom’s name we can call on to wave a magic wand to make all of our problems disappear. If that were the case then prepare to be seriously disappointed because anyone who decides to measure God’s abilities by the standards of their expectations has got it twisted.
So what now? Will I get angry at God, question him, accuse him, renounce him?
Only a fool says in his heart “there is no God” (Psalm 14:1).
So there, that’s settled. I’m no fool.
I’ve experienced way too much in my short years to deny the realness of God’s power and presence. Not only in my life personally, but also in the life of every soul I’ve witnessed touched by the name of Jesus Christ. There are just way too many “coincidences” that can’t be explained away through science or rationalization.
With that being said, a decision must then be made: Either I believe or I don’t.
I choose to be courageous. I believe.
The circumstances can say whatever they want but I believe without a doubt in my mind that Jesus died on the cross and that he took up my brother’s infirmities in His body. I believe without a doubt that Jesus rose from the dead and that He holds the inheritance of our renewed, glorified bodies in the promise of His current resurrected state. I believe without a doubt that Jesus is Jehovah Rapha, My Healer. So then I believe that my little brother’s skin is already healed in Jesus’ name.
Jesus himself said, you believe in God, believe also in me (John 14:1). Oh Jesus, you know that I do believe! You are the only one who compassionately touched the leprous man and relieved him of his agony. I believe you can and will do the same for my brother.
So with the foundation of my faith being settled, something I’ve been meditating on the past few days is the truth in God’s word. The Holy Spirit has been tugging on my heart all week to read in the second letter to the Corinthians, and I was lead to the end of chapter three, concluding into chapter four.
The Holy Spirit began to further root my understanding into the everlasting glory of grace (2 Cor 3:11). It talks about how the law is the ministry that brought condemnation and though glorious, it was transitory. The ministry of grace, however, is now revealed in all surpassing glory through Jesus Christ! Since I have such a hope as this I am able to be very bold, holding fast to that truth that “wherever the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom”. I am then able to realize that this treasure of grace indwells the body of every believer and it is solely to the glory of God (2 Cor 4:7)!
Furthermore it continues to tell God’s children that “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”
Ohh, how I thank God for those ‘buts’ of the bible! I find rest in knowing that because it is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have the same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.”
Therefore, I do not lose heart! Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Cor 4:16-18).
With all that being said, this is where it’s done. While I still don’t know which is worse: my suffering or being the witness to my brother’s agony, I will not lose sight of God’s faithfulness and complete aerial perspective. The reason why I can help my little brother endure this momentary suffering is because I know that God is above it all. Jesus is Lord. Period. He had the final say when He died at the cross and rose again! However, in light of our human weakness and limitations, I can assure you that there were many times that we cried out to God in desperation. But I know that He sees us, and He hears our prayers and He will deliver my little brother. God will use this suffering to bridge the gap between Him and His people through the ministry of comfort in the name of Jesus Christ. It will be for the sake of all the souls who will be touched by my brother’s story (2 Cor 1:3-7). I know that there is purpose in all of this, and I know that my brother will be stronger for it. God will use my brother as a godly man to reach many people that need to hear about Jesus from his experiences.
I close this confession with a petition of prayer to all of my family in Christ. Pray with me for my brother’s healing, and for the strengthening of his faith, that God’s will and purposes may be completed in his life! I’m so hopeful in knowing that God’s power is not limited by our resources or by our circumstances. He is God and I will let God be God as I continue to wait and pray for the day that my brother shouts for joy in praise, thanking Jesus for all that He has done for him! That day will surely come in Jesus’ name.