My Reaction or My Response to Prolonged Suffering

 

I am particularly drawn to two of Jodi Eareckson Tada YouTube videos:

 

Joni Eareckson Tada - Christ Our Healer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzi94MGC M8Y

 

Why Am I Not Healed - Joni Eareckson Tada https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TevDhFzjI 4&feature=youtu.be

 

Although Jodi is not physically healed for more than 50 years from her quadriplegic and daily chronic pain, she is slowly being emotionally healed. She prayed for a new glorified heart that is being slowly freed from selfishness, freed from self-centeredness, freed from fear and a heart that accepts everything without complaining. She looks forward to a heart that is being healed and transformed to be more like Jesus.

 

I am still being mystified by the presence of suffering, tribulation or trials. There is no single bullet to solve the mystery. For me, I find that in my liver cancer suffering, I am basically controlled by:

 

1.    My Reaction or

2.    My Response

 

1.    My Reaction

My immediate automatic reaction is controlled by emotional feelings such as fear, anxiety, stress, envy, anger, resentment, rage, hatred, bitterness, un-forgiveness, rejection, jealousy, guilt, murmuring, condemnation, judgmental, complaining, etc. These negative emotions play havoc with our physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being. Why do we automatically react in such a way? Could it be that we have been emotionally, physically or psychologically abused when very young? Have we been harboring revenge in our heart?

 

2.      My Response

My response is my “free will” to choose and to decide. God has designed me wonderfully and perfectly such that my negative feelings can be overcome by “my will.” “My will” controls my intellect, my reasoning and my judgment. God has given me a free will. Thus, I can choose to use my will to overcome any negative feeling. I can choose to make a positive response instead! I can overcome my negative feelings every now and then with applying my will power! But, whenever I fail to do so, I go to my Lord Jesus to ask for help again and again as He has promised: “I will never turn away anyone who comes to me” (John 6:37 TEV).

 

3.    In my daily Practice

Whenever I focus on Jesus, as Timothy aptly expressed, “The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength" (2 Tim. 4:17 NIV). This gives me the courage and hope to continue fighting against the liver cancer. Among Jesus' last words were: "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matt. 28:20 NIV). "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Heb. 13:5 NIV). In this place the writer of Hebrew uses a word that really means, "I will never, never, never, never leave you or forsake you!"

 

I also find that when daily I go to Him and focus on Him rather than on my circumstances, miracles can take place in me, in that I am slowly being refined, purified, cleansed and transformed by the holy blood of Jesus, to be more loving, to be more like Him---for He is Love. So, I can genuinely desire to pray the beautiful prayer of St Francis of Assisi:

 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

       Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

where there is sadness, joy.

0 divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

 

There is therefore much cause for comfort and joy. On my own I may be negative but with Jesus’ love, grace and mercy, I am able to see my blessings thus far. Jesus is faithful and dependable and I am beginning to trust Him more. I am more prepared now to entrust my life to Him knowing, ”He works everything for the good of those who love Him.” Jesus has a way of manifesting His presence known to the most unworthy child! That is why He can be real to me. He forgives, loves, comforts and cares for all His children! He stays with them until they get themselves sorted out

 

What Amazing love! What amazing Grace! It is up to each one of us to choose and to decide to believe this or not. For those of us who choose this attitude, we rejoice always in the Lord! That is the reason why I am given the choice to stay smiling and be hopeful or to whine and be in despair about my many dreadful liver cancer occurrences. When I am weak, then I am strong when Jesus is there to support me! My attitude will stand in sharp contrast with what others would naturally expect from me and will create opportunities for testifying to Jesus’ love and grace. I can thus be a witness to the love of my Lord, Jesus Christ.

 

I find the following useful Rejoicing in the Lord by R T Kendall, The Lessons from Suffering by John Macarthur and Paul: A Profile in Suffering by John Macarthur

 

Written on 8 January 2019