Lance, my youngest son, recently wrote, after his mom, Lea, was diagnosed as diabetic, “Man! God sure is pouring it on, isn’t He?” I would have to say so. I often times just feel overwhelmed, and that I can’t handle yet another complication in our lives. And, yet, He, our heavenly Father, reveals to me that I simply haven’t yet expanded my heart and mind enough, and that I just simply need to open up and accept the new challenge, and realize, once again, that I am not in control; He is. I’m so silly sometimes!
I have to remind myself that when we suffer as a Christian, we should not be surprised. It is all part of God’s big picture for our lives. That is normally not what we think, is it, when we suffer? Normally when we have hard times and things go wrong, we really wonder, “Where is God in all of this and what is the purpose of it all? Why ME?” The challenge for us, as His children, is to get past these questions, accept His will, and tackle this is a part of our individual ministry.
Oh, sure, we feel remorseful, and I, personally, often forget my focus, and go through a period of self pity. But, then, usually as I settle into prayer, I remember that I just need to pick myself up, and continue walking the path we have been given. I have gotten a great deal of comfort and understanding about suffering, that helps me endure, from The Apostle Peter. His scripture really helped me a great deal while Lea and I were in Hartford Hospital.
He says in scriptures written for the day in which he was speaking, but is very applicable today, “Do not be surprised by the fiery trial that is to come upon you.” (1 Peter 5:12) He said “I want you to know that you shouldn’t be surprised. This is a part of God’s plan. God’s doing a work and this is one of those unusual, strange, out of the ordinary components of the plan of God for your life.”
The reason I refer to this bit of scripture, is because it has been integral to my ability to find inner peace as Lea and I have gone through the many trials with which we have been blessed over the past couple of years. The trials helped me get right with God, after many years of shunning my duty to the church, has given me a new direction for witnessing for Him.
Lea and I were, in retropect, blessed with a wonderful life together as we raised our family. Then, as empty nesters, enjoyed each other, perhaps, even more as we teamed together to operate a bed & breakfast that fulfilled many of our life’s dreams. And, then, tragedy struck in Connecticut. That story, if you haven’t read it, is in the Hartford Letters archive, and it represents awful personal suffering. It was also a time of tremendous spiritual growth.
The Apostle Peter’s teaching helped me get things into persepctive when I didn’t know from moment to moment for six months whether Lea was going to survive. I went through terrible mental anguish! Peter addresses the area of why Christians suffer like that. Throughout 1 Peter Chapter 5, he specifically talks about the suffering of believers, and, that it is a part of the plan of God. We need to understand the role suffering has to play in our lives.
In the course of these verses, as Peter explains suffering in detail, he details the several aspects we need to understand when suffering comes into our life as a Christian. I am not qualified to teach those things, but, I can share with you where I found comfort and understanding. Probably, Verse 6 has been the most helpful to me in coming to terms with personal suffering: “For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.”
I mentioned in the Hartford Letters, and in notes since then, that my eyes were opened to how much each little action we take affects other lives. Someone sees you do something, and it often has a permanent impact on how they think about things. Many folks who are at the point of personal conviction in their lives, when they are trying to make a decision about opening their hearts to Christ, closely watch Christians to gain spiritual validation for the decision they are trying to make. Often, a person’s conversion is averted, or delayed, sometimes for years, because they saw a Christian do something that is not Christian-like. And, we may not even know anyone is watching when we commit that act, or how it affects others!
Throughout history, God has put Christians on display, to be held up to a higher standard than non-Christians. Some of them had to suffer terribly, even suffering horrible deaths, in order to become God’s saints and set examples for the rest of us. And, we each have our own ministry. We each have our own obligation to our heavenly Father to become as much like Him as possible; to carry His banner high in our daily lives; to accept the suffering we are given in order to serve His plan.
And, knowing that we suffer to serve His plan, gives you spiritual power! Believe it. Accept it. You will be given a wonderful inner peace that becomes like a deep, cool well, where you can always find refreshment. You may, like me, forget where you left the bucket last time you used it, and have to search for it! But, once you locate it again through prayer, and lower it into that well, it brings healing as you draw it up.
I have found myself drawing on that well a lot this past week, as Lea was given yet another area of concern, when she was found to be diabetic. We spent several days of disquieting discomfort, knowing that she needed treatment, but couldn’t get started until we attended an appointment for training late in the week. We finally met with Riverview Hospital’s diabetic educator on Friday, and I gave Lea her first insulin injection just before bed last night.
I tossed and turned as I prayed for her safe passage through the night and listened to her breathing for any signs of distress. The injection seemed to work well overnight, lowering her blood sugar below yesterday morning’s level. But, it is still way too high. It is about three times higher than normal levels. I suspect she will require higher doses of insulin, perhaps, even, mealtime doses. Determining whether that is the case is a part of the monitoring of her blood sugar levels before each meal and at bedtime. The results will help her medical team make decisions about appropriate adjustments to her dosages.
On the other hand, according the RN, it is possible that this is merely an episode of trauma to the pancreas caused by the seatbelt as Joe’s truck bounced up onto the median when he blacked out. It is possible that the pancreas will recover and begin reducing sufficient amounts of insulin again. We will be in prayer for that healing, but will also be praying for guidance in working within His will. As always, we welcome your prayer support. God’s blessings!