God, in this place of suffering, I am struggling in my faith, trust, & hope.
I know Your word is true and You are faithful to perform it in my life.
I believe. Help my unbelief.
Series Focus: “Resurrecting Hope in the Midst of Life’s Storms”
Feeling overwhelmed by the physical symptoms invading my body, I struggle to lift my head, let alone my voice. The diagnosis forecasts impending suffering. How do I stand in the face of this battle? Do I have the strength to overcome when I really feel like rolling over and succumbing to the symptoms?
Sickness is hard. And in the throes of symptoms that weaken and torment our bodies, our spirits can also be affected. Physical illness impacts our minds, will, and emotions. Many times, we struggle to stir our faith and speak life to our own bodies.
Yet, that is the very thing required of us when sicknesses, viruses, and diseases come knocking at our door. It is imperative that we know the promises God has made to us and provided to us through His Son, Jesus Christ; and then that we rise up in faith believing His word is true, and His character faithful to perform His word. There are some scriptures we can cling to and declare in those times of suffering:
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalms 103:2-5 ESV)
Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. (Jeremiah 17:14 ESV)
But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 ESV)
He sent out His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. (Psalms 107:20 ESV)
The reality is that when our physical strength is weak, our mental and spiritual strength is often also depleted. All the more reason to build up our faith in times of health so that when the attack comes on our physical bodies, we are equipped with the right words to speak, declare and believe. Nonetheless, if we find ourselves in a frail state due to the diagnosis, physical symptoms, and/or the duration of the suffering we’ve experienced, we can be encouraged by the account recorded in Mark 9.
In Mark 9:14-29, we learn of a father whose son has suffered from illness since childhood. Nothing has helped to cure the young man of his ailment, and the father was at the end of himself, wanting deliverance for his son. He was desperate. The disciples could not help. And then this father had an encounter with Jesus:
And Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’ (Mark 9:23-24 ESV)
This frantic father, standing in the presence of Jesus, declared his faith, yet still confessed his unbelief. Jesus did not condemn the father for his unbelief. Rather, He healed his son.
There is a bridge between our physical sufferings and our deliverance. It has many parts that make the whole. Our faith in God, in the truth of His word, and in His character – knowing He is faithful to perform His word – are the supporting and sustaining foundation of the bridge. Our declaration of His truth from our own mouths are the slats that we walk upon as we cross the bridge from hopelessness to hopefulness. And, our repentance of our sin, doubt, and unbelief are the guardrails to keep us safely on the bridge from suffering to rest in Him.
It is not an easy trek, and we most likely need support from others to cross that bridge – both physical and spiritual. But it’s not an impossible journey. If you are suffering an illness, be encouraged to believe the promises of God, for they are Yes! and Amen! in Christ Jesus; to speak the words of truth from your very own mouth; to repent of your doubt, unbelief, and wavering; and to ask others to come alongside you in prayer and support to help you on your journey across the bridge during this storm. In the words of Jesus, “If you can believe, all things are possible for one who believes.”
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: John 10:10; Psalm 103:2-5; 107:20; Jeremiah 17:14; Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24; Mark 9:14-24