Invisible Illness Week Needs Prayer Warriors! Will You Join Us?
Posted Aug 08 2010 1:30am
To my dear friends at Rest Ministries,
Okay, so this post is too long. It breaks all the “rules” about keeping your reader’s attention, but it’s important to me, so sometime in the next few days will you take 15 minutes to read it and pray about it? Thank you!
To tell you that I am excited about this year’sInvisible Illness Week is an understatement. Why? Because I see how many of you encourage people every day and I’m eager for our outreach to multiply. I think we all feel like our world is suffering right now even more than usual. The natural disasters as well as the man-made ones, seem to be increasing. I know when the earth has shaken here in San Diego recently, after living with earthquakes for years, it is the first time I’ve felt like maybe “the big one” really is coming!
Rest Ministries reaches out people each day who wander onto the Internet and search for some kind of support while living with chronic illness. But what about the millions of people who do not get on the Internet or who are not specifically thinking about joining an Internet support group and therefore do not search out an organization such as Rest Ministries? So many people are just trying to survive one more day and are not specifically looking for something more that may give them hope. They don’t even have time! So, I asked, how can we reach out to them?
Well, we are not buying a billboard in Times Square or purchasing commercial time on television. Instead, we just want to ask you to grab a pen and a piece of paper (a sticky note works great such as the Post-it(R) note, but any paperwork will do), and then write a few words that you would like someone to tell you on a bad day. And then stick it somewhere! You can find out more about our National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week2010 campaign, “Each One Can Reach One” on our website at www.invisibleillnessweek.com .
===== But the reason I am writing to you today is to ask you for PRAYER SUPPORT for this endeavor. ====
Invisible Illness Week was an idea that I had and ran with back in 2002. The purpose of it is to (1) outreach to people who do not necessarily have Christ as part of their daily walk; (2) increase awareness about how many people live with illness in their lives, especially when it is invisible; (3) and to encourage those who live with illness, or know someone who does, that there is joy beyond and despite the pain.
At Rest Ministries we use Invisible Illness Week as a tool to show people who are in chronic pain that yes, we understand life is very hard, that it is easier to have God alongside you for that journey than to walk it alone. We’ve been criticized for this. Some people with illness have not been happy that a Christian organization came up with the concept of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. I don’t apologize for that.
Who are some of the people we are reaching out to? Many people may have never had a relationship with the Lord. Or perhaps they have not prayed since childhood. They may be feeling not only physically beaten down, but emotionally broken too. And to be honest with you, many of them have been judged and told by well-meaning Christians that if they just prayed harder or asked the Lord for healing, they would magically be healed in just a short time. And if they are not healed? Well, they are told that it is their own fault. They are doing something wrong or maybe just “want the attention of being ill.”
Sadly, some of you have experienced this. It’s very painful, isn’t it? Imagine if you were in so much pain you started to wonder if there really was a God with a plan fo your life and a “Christian” told you it was your own fault you were ill and it was punishment for all the sins in your life. Would you continue to seek out God is these were the people representing Him?
I don’t think I need to tell you that theologically, there are many people who are confused, in my opinion, about the ways that God heals and exactly why and when He does it.
Here at Rest Ministries we want to be an example of Christians who live with chronic illness, who have not been healed, but who still turn towards God every day for the strength we need to just get through the day.
Every day I see people here in the Rest Ministries Sunroom or on Facebook or with blog comments encouraging one another in ways that no doctor or counselor ever could, simply because you are walking the walk not just talking the talk.
If someone IS healed, praise the Lord! Literally! We love to hear stories of healing. But if not, God loves you just as much as those that He chooses to heal. We don’t understand why one person is healed and one is not. I supposed that is one of the reasons it is called “faith.”
Before jumping into Invisible Illness Week and its preparations, I want to make sure that it is all covered in prayer.
Psalm 91:9-11 says, “If you make the Most High your dwelling. . .then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” So that’s what we are doing. . . making the Lord our dwelling place for Invisible Illness Week… and praying that He will guard our efforts.
I want to see Invisible Illness Week in 2010 touch the lives of people who have never felt the unconditional love, acceptance, and validation about their illness. Who have not yet experienced what is it like to have Christians pray for them, love on them, give them hope and comfort.
Have you heard the saying, “You may be the only Jesus someone sees?” We may be the only person living in chronic pain–who still loves the Lord–that people see.
So for this, we need the entire shebang covered in prayer. The situations that may occur, the lives of people involved in the outreach, Rest Ministries as a whole (right down to our web site and computers), and each life that will be touched. Each year we suffer so many spiritual attacks. Most I’ve not shared about, but believe me, they are not fun and Satan thrives on trying to create chaos in the midst of the week to steer my attitude and abilities.
Let me shift gears for a minute and ask you, have you ever been having a bummer day and someone smiled at you unexpectedly? Maybe you have a simple conversation with the checkout clerk at the grocery store and it changed your perspective for that day because it just seems as though someone actually cared. Perhaps you turn on the radio and the perfect song came on that seemed to lighten your load .
God creates more divine appointments each day than we can ever fathom. And so I pray that we here at Rest Ministries, can be a tool that God uses to encourage others who are hurting in many ways. Please pray for these divine appointments! That when you leave a little anonymous note God will direct the exact person to find it that needs to hear that message.
So, how can you make sure you get our prayer requests? You may not realize that you can get all of Rest Ministries posts/articles on our web site (including the daily devotionals) in one e-mail each morning. This is a great way to also make sure you get all of the prayer requests for National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. Just go to www.restministries.com and sign up in the box at the top with the blue thumbtack (and then watch for a confirmation email). NOTE: I WON’T be posting these on the invisibleillness.com web site, just the Rest Ministries web site.
And when you read the prayer requests (or any articles) click on the title to go to the web site and add your comments to the end of the blog post online. It is usually your comments that encourage people more than anything I could write.
Thank you, my sweet friends. If you want to listen to an encouraging song, I’ve posted the video “ It is No Secret What God Can Do ” sung by BJ Thomas. It is no secret what God can do. . . so let’s pray and watch it happen!
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We are a nonprofit Christian organization that reaches out to people who live with chronic illness. We've reached hundreds of thousands of people since 1997 simply because people like you linked to our web page, shared a post with others, or told a friend. Thank you for helping us continue our ministry.