His Gift of Pain and Loneliness

Aletha HinthornSix months after Mari was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, her life came to a screeching halt. Just a few weeks earlier, busyness filled her life. She loved being involved in ministry and gave herself totally to it. But now, months later, others' lives had moved on, while hers hadn't.

Mari didn't know the human body could hurt so badly. Just to perform the smallest functions of an ordinary day sapped every ounce of strength from her body.

One day in total despair, she cried to the Lord that she could no longer serve Him as she once had. She had nothing to give Him but herself and her pain. She released the pain to Him and a load lifted. He wrapped it in His grace and gave it back to her as a gift. How could she refuse a gift from the One who had given all for her? The pain didn't seem so horrific now. She was bearing it for Him.

Romans 8:28 became meat to her soul and hope to her spirit. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."  When the pain became insufferable, it was difficult to believe that everything was working for her good. She had to try to see her pain as God sees.

When God enters the picture, He completely changes the outcome. Her loving and wise Father compassionately causes her suffering to be for her good and for His glory. Praise sweeps through Mari as she realizes she can serve her Lord by sharing in His sufferings.

Some days the pain loses its heavenly glow, but God uses these lonely, painful times to draw her into deeper intimacy with Him. Instead of being overwhelmed by her loneliness, she realizes she was headed in a new direction--into a cherished relationship with her Father.

Thank You, Jesus, for not allowing anything that will not yield good for us and glory for You.

For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD" (Psalm 117:2).