John 11:4: “When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it” (NIV).
Cancer…heart disease…chronic fatigue syndrome…adultery…unemployment…homelessness…poverty…death of a loved one…miscarriage…infertility…mental health issues. Not one of these would be considered a blessing to the sufferer or their family members. All of these issues are just symptoms of a result of sin in this world, not the original plan of the Creator of the universe.
They remind me of an ugly package that carries something beautiful inside. God hurts alongside us when the packages we’re presented with in life sometimes are broken, bruised, or damaged. However, God loves us too much to allow it to stop there. He is the God of second chances, a Healer of all things, and He can take the brokenness in our lives and help us use that to minister to others who are also experiencing pain and suffering. Sometimes God calls us to help others while we’re still walking the road ourselves; other times it’s after we have traveled the path that we are more equipped to deal with others burdens when ours have had a chance to begin healing. Whichever path we choose, we can help lift the burden for someone else.
God can heal us from the effects of those devastating events (He’s not going to force Himself on us, but is waiting for us to ask Him to begin the healing process). He then shows us how we can best be used of Him to help others in return. And what a beautiful cycle that is.
This holiday season – can you think of one area in your life that is battered, bruised, or damaged in some way? What is one thing you can do, taking the knowledge and pain that you have experienced from dealing with a specific area in your life, to turn and bless someone else? For instance, if you are a cancer survivor, could you find someone who is battling that horrible disease and cook them a meal, offer to babysit, or volunteer to shop for Christmas gifts for their family? What if you know the sting of unemployment and pain of poverty firsthand? If you are now more stable financially, what is one way that you could bless another family who is in the midst of suffering from the devastation of losing their job and possibly losing hope?
People who have walked in the shoes of others are more able to empathize, not just sympathize, with the path they walk on. And, that’s what God calls us to do. He wants us to be His hands and feet to those around us, and who better to do that for then those we can most identify with? Think of how meaningful your blessing would be to someone dealing with something you have experienced firsthand.
That’s just one way God is able to take something that was meant for evil by the evil one, which caused your life to be battered and bruised, and instead turn it into a blessing for someone else. The great thing is…you are usually blessed in the process. I love how God works!