“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)
LOVE AND LABOR IN CHRONIC ILLNESS
This June issue of Oasis of Hope brings heartfelt stories of love and labor, encouraging spiritual truths, hope for parents of children with disabilities, the hidden struggles of chronic and mental illness, and how sometimes chronic illness can be a gift. These are all written by men who either have children with chronic illness or have chronic illnesses of their own. I hope you will be blessed and encouraged as you read these articles or listen to the audio.
Besides being the month in which summer begins, June is also the month we celebrate fathers. The Bible tells us to honor our mothers and fathers. In fact, it’s one of the ten commandments.
Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12 CSB)
Some dads look forward to Father’s Day with much joy. Others almost seem to dread the day for various reasons. Maybe you struggle with feelings of guilt as a father, or maybe your own father wasn’t there for you. It can be hard to show honor, but we can remember that God is our perfect Father. He loves us, provides for us and knows what is best. Sometimes we wonder why some of us deal with so much pain. How can that pain be good for us? Does God have a purpose? Yes, absolutely! Do we often struggle to understand His ways? Yes — but God is always good and His understanding is far above our own.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
(Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT)
STRUGGLES AND HOPE
Join Mike Gapinski as he shares How a Son’s Mental Illness Stole My Father’s Day. He learned a valuable lesson in extending grace and realized “…the deepest essence of being a father—the loving kindness, the patient guidance, the protective provision, the sacrifice, generosity, and love—should be the thing we celebrate and honor on Father’s Day.”
Next, Kevin Timpe shares the love and labor of the hidden struggles of disability and chronic illness in The Hidden Labor of Disability. He suggests ways to help those who struggle and also encourages us not to feel guilty when we can’t accept social invitations or just can’t do one more thing.
Take heart with Dr. Paul Tautges, who believes that… believers need a theology of disability that both glorifies the Creator and honors the incredible value of every human life. He shares: As a father who lives in the world of special needs, there are 12 biblical truths that have become important for me to meditate upon continually. These form theological pillars that uphold our faith. Read or listen to his article: 12 Pillars: A Theology of Disability for Parents of Children with Disabilities.
Finally, join Dr. Craig Svensson, who struggles with chronic illness, as he shares how it can be a gift in his article, Chronic Illness in the Hand of the Refiner. He says, If we can receive it, chronic illness is a gift—a work of grace used in the Refiner’s hand to loosen our grip on the fleeting pleasures of this life. God, our Creator and Father, is that Master Refiner.
IN THIS ISSUE
In this issue of Oasis of Hope, we see the love and labor in the often hidden struggles that go along with mental and chronic illness. Along with the struggling, however, we discover hope and the presence of God with us. We find ways to strengthen our faith and trust in God, our heavenly Father.
- How a Son’s Mental Illness Stole My Father’s Day by Mike Gapinski
- The Hidden Labor of Disability by Kevin Timpe
- 12 Pillars: A Theology of Disability for Parents of Children with Disabilities by Dr. Paul Tautges
- Chronic Illness in the Hand of the Refiner by Dr. Craig Svensson
How a Son's Mental Illness Stole My Father's Day
If I was a failure as a father because of my child’s actions, wasn’t I also saying that my mentally-ill child was a failure as a person because of his actions? Absolutely not! At his memorial service, Ann and I shared and honored the deepest essence of our son, the illness-free part of him.
In the same way, the deepest essence of being a father—the loving kindness, the patient guidance, the protective provision, the sacrifice, generosity, and love—should be the thing we celebrate and honor on Father’s Day.
The Hidden Labor of Disability
Caring for a chronically ill child impacts the lives of parents in many ways. Some are transparently obvious but most are invisible.
Please, do your best to understand, to be empathetic. Do your best to offer to help with some of that work if you can. The hidden labor is real and exhausting, despite being hidden. … Understand if they cancel plans at the last minute.
12 Pillars: A Theology of Disability
Believers need a theology of disability that both glorifies the Creator and honors the incredible value of every human life.
As a father who lives in the world of special needs, there are 12 biblical truths that have become important for me to meditate upon continually. These form theological pillars that uphold our faith, a theology of disability
Chronic Illness in the Hand of the Refiner
As the Master Refiner, our Lord does not want to merely reshape us, he wants to purify us. In so doing, he fits us for greater purposes.