Consider it all joy...words of encouragement from James, the brother of Jesus. Sometimes being joyful is difficult, don't you think?
For example: back in the mid 1980s I was diagnosed with an autoimmune problem which has battered and beseiged my body leaving me with osteoporitic bones, painful, swollen and malformed joints, two back surgeries, two tendon resections in the elbows, three hand surgeries, one knee surgery, bilaterial lung biopsies, multiple bouts of pneumonia and bronchitis, hair loss, vision changes. You catch my meaning.
Someone asked me a number of years ago if I could ever remember a time when I was mad at God for "making me ill". I think I was taken aback by the question and answered with a resounding, "No way!" I have never believed God did this to me. I realize there are a number of different theologies floating around out there that might have differing opinions about that, but I believe God loves us, and while he allows us to suffer, he doesn't blast his people with lifelong disease.
I have been living with this illness and all of its many symptoms since my mid-twenties. I am now a fifty something woman who has received every known treatment the Western Medical World recognizes with most being a temporary fix. Recently, we have come to know a person who sells essential oils as a medical treatment and believes God sent him to us to heal me. I am very fond of this young man. He is a young believer and very enthusiastic about all he is learning, both spiritually and professionally; however, my husband and I want to be sensitive to him albeit tempting to say, "I can't accept your treatment." I have damage all over my musculoskeletal system that cannot be reversed with anything other than surgical intervention..unless, of course, God chooses to intervene in this lifetime and heal me himself.
Over the course of my adulthood, living with this illness, I have been told by some "you aren't healed because you lack faith". For any who believe this, please know I respectfully disagree with your opinion or belief in this area. When I was a child I prayed for God to grow me up into a woman of faith. I have lost a husband to AIDS, I have fought physical battles my entire life, I aborted a child out of my selfishness in my earlier life, and I lost both parents early on. Never once have I ever cursed God, questioned him or believed I was being punished. Instead, even though all those things were (and some still are) extremely excruciatingly painful, I lived through it, prayed through it, cried out to God for HELP! and looked for the small miracles he sends our way on a daily basis.
I count is all joy to suffer, as James said, and even though it was growth through all kinds of pain, it WAS growth and one day I will see how it benefited the Kingdom and worked for the Glory of God!
A great story, Hazel. No, we don't know why we suffer these things at times, except that God "ALLOWS" them for our good. I've had a neuropathy which was discovered when I was 31 years old. At age 55, it finally got so bad I had to retire from work on perm. disability...
However, it was a blessing. The industry in which I worked went into the "economic tank" a year later. I would have probably gone broke as many Americans have! Instead, I got the security of a steady income from my soc.sec. It was less than I was used to making on my job, but not by much.
But the biggest blessing was that it allowed me to work full time in my writing ministry. We just never know what good may come from the trials of life. Good article, thanks for sharing!