“Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds because the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2)
Living with a chronic disease certainly hones our ability to persevere in ways that ultimately can result in maturity and completeness. That’s what pure joy is–surrendering this disease. It’s allowing God to work mightily in us to perfect our trust in Him.
That surrender isn’t always easy. The other day I was riding on overload. I learned that I needed foot surgery and that the chest pains I’d been having which landed me in the hospital were due to a yeast infection in my esophagus. (Which is probably due to a compromised immune system and severely dry eyes due to Sjogren’s disease.) Plus, my husband was regressing in his dementia.
My hands clenched tightly around my problems. I felt sorry for myself and wondered when it would all end.
As so often happens, the Holy Spirit reminded me of an illustration of surrender that Henry Nouwen wrote in one of his books. He says that a trapeze artist flying through the air must stretch forth his/her hands rigidly so that the catcher can grasp ahold. If the flyer tries to grasp the hand of the catcher, both of their wrists will break. This blind faith on the part of the flyer that he will be caught keeps him from ultimately falling to his death.
Oh, that I might trust Him more and more to catch me in the most adverse of circumstances.
I so often fall short of trusting God because I have a ravenous desire to understand my situation. Sometimes it seems to abandon all in trust is like jumping off a steep cliff without knowing the outcome. But, oh the intimacy, joy and sheer pleasure there is when I do abandon all to Him as I choose to jump into the abyss. Time after time, He has caught me and led me to a deeper faith.
Prayer: Oh, beloved Lord, even in sickness you catch me– You will not let go. I surrender this illness to You so that my abandonment results in a greater maturity and even pure joy. Amen.
About the Author
Jackie Smith lives at the foot of the Smoky Mountains in beautiful Knoxville, TN. She has Sjogren’s disease and migraine headaches. Jackie had a bilateral mastectomy over 25 years ago. A few years ago she had her colon removed, necessitating a permanent ileostomy. Jackie has her master’s degree in Child and Family Studies. While she has never been able to work using her degree, she has great joy using it with her husband, 5 children and 13 grandchildren. Jackie loves sharing with others through her writing how God is head-over-heels in love with us.
Do you trust God to bring unexpected joy regarding your illness as He lovingly surrounds you with His abundant giving?
Elizabeth South sings, “I Will Trust You” in this original video. The video is a creative way of showing the emotions we go through and how we ultimately have to just trust God, even when we don’t have the answers. I hope it blesses you today. -Lisa