I crept into the room before my little brother would wake up. Gently slipping his special blanket from his grasp, I then rushed it downstairs to be washed. Perhaps that seems like a dirty trick, but it needed to be done. He would not give it up willingly. The only problem was as soon as my brother woke up, he was going to hate me.
I was so right. He yelled, screamed, and kicked. In his mind I’d stolen what was his. I was a villain and had no right to decide what happened to his blanket. All the while I just kept telling him, “I’m sorry. I still love you. It just needed to be washed. I’ll give it back when it’s done.” His anger toward me hurt because of how much I love him.
As I finally pulled his blanket from the dryer, God nudged my heart. It was like he was whispering, “Now you understand what it’s like from My point of view.” I nearly slumped over in the laundry pile.
Something Precious Has Been Stolen From Us
So often chronic or long-term illnesses seem to creep up on us in the night. One day we’re fine, but the next…something is seriously wrong. It can feel like a dirty trick, like someone’s playing a joke on us, and we’ll get our strength back at any moment. Except the days drag on, weakness becomes a reality, and pretty soon we feel robbed. Something precious has been stolen from us. Our strength, our metal abilities, our sense of normalcy, our funds, our time—they’ve all been drained.
Why wouldn’t we yell? Why wouldn’t we be angry? Our sense of justice has been violated. We’re not supposed to be the ones hurting! Someone else maybe, but not us. We have too many plans, too many dreams, too many goals. This sickness just can’t be for us. Yet it remains.
When God Feels Distant
God feels distant and far away. Because if He was actually close, He’d make this right, wouldn’t He? We hear words in church of how God is sovereign and all powerful, but for some reason He’s not fixing us. We read about the many healings Jesus performed in the Gospels. Somewhere inside we know it’s possible. So why isn’t God doing it?
When I took my little brother’s blanket, I did so because it was filthy. It needed to be washed or it would make him sick. Could God be doing the same? Does He take our health for a time to let us be renewed in Him, so we can learn to take refuge in Him? Are there parts of our former lives that were dirty, wasteful, and had no purpose for the Kingdom of God? Perhaps we needed to be washed clean too.
He Has a Purpose
However, just like I didn’t take my brother’s blanket out of cruelty, God didn’t give us an illness to be mean. He’s not sitting in heaven laughing manically. On the contrary, He’s right here with us in the dirt and the mess, even when we can’t feel Him. All the while He’s saying, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry it hurts. Please believe that I have a purpose. I love you, My child. I love you.”
We have suffered loss. No one would ever deny it, but God never stopped loving us. He’s here with us through every step. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. ~ Isaiah 43:2 NKJV
This Is Our Promise
I know it’s hard, but take comfort in this: God restores what the locusts have eaten, whether here on earth or for eternity in heaven (Joel 2:18-27). One day we shall all have our strength renewed. We will mount up on wings like eagles, run and not be weary, walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31). This is our promise, and in it we can find hope.
Esther is a former caretaker and is now healing from a long term illness. More than this however, Esther is a child of the one true King, saved by the grace of God. Her heart takes pleasure in exploring the passion for writing that God has instilled within her. While she enjoys moments of solitude, she prefers spending time with her with family of ten and her wonderful friends. You can find more of her writing at stargazersforhim.wordpress.com.