Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
I recently had a bout of sickness which lasted for 3 weeks. During those weeks, all my plans were disrupted, and I felt so frustrated and disappointed.
Yet, it was in this place of frustration and disappointment that the Lord met with me and taught me some very important lessons about enduring unwanted and uncomfortable situations and seasons.
#1. CHOOSE WISELY WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT
Thanks to the wearing of masks and social distancing over the past few years of the pandemic, I’ve not fallen sick as much as I used to. So, when I became unwell – and when I wasn’t recovering as fast as I thought I should have – I grew frustrated.
Thoughts swirled through my head, and I complained to the Lord, “Why am I not better yet? Why is this taking so long? What is wrong with my body? Why are You not healing me faster, Lord?” I spent days and days fighting the thoughts in my mind, questioning, and berating both my body and my God.
What became apparent, dear friend, was that the more I fixated on the issue at hand, the more I became angry, impatient, irritable, and sad.
And then the Lord reminded me of this passage in Philippians 4:8: ‘Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.’
THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS…
That was not what I had been doing. All I was thinking about was what was wrong with me and with the situation.
Dear friend, I can honestly tell you, that when I began to think about what was good, pure, lovely, and commendable, and when I began to praise God, everything started to shift! I no longer felt frustrated or angry, but I felt peaceful.
#2. THE PROCESS TAKES TIME
While I was sick, all I wanted was to get better. I wanted to rush the process of getting better. But there’s no rushing our healing – whether it is physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual.
Everything takes time to get better, and I realised that, the more I pushed my body to heal, the more stress I was actually putting on it.
In Romans 12:12, we are told to ‘be patient in tribulation’. We are to be patient in our suffering, in our trials, in our turmoil, in our pain. Patience is not an immediate by-product of being in difficult situations… if only it was! But, no, dear one, it must be cultivated, and most oftentimes, it is cultivated painstakingly.
There was a pace that God had graced for my healing, but it was initially not the same pace I had in mind. He had to teach me to recognise His pace, to accept it, and then to go at it.
#3. FINDING PURPOSE
I find it funny what the Lord shows me in hindsight for now I know just how valuable those 3 weeks were.
Firstly, I needed to rest, yet I had been unwilling to until I fell sick. I was forced to be still, to do nothing, and to just dwell with Him. It was exactly what I needed… I just didn’t know it.
And secondly, this time of rest gave me time to recuperate, to reflect on the past, and to prepare for the future. I felt that it was a precious time for the Lord to draw me back so that I could intentionally focus, pray, and dream about all that lay ahead of me.
Ultimately, dear friend, there was great purpose in this time for me. Had I not been unwell, I would not have paid attention to what the Lord wanted me to pay attention to. Although I initially couldn’t see His purpose, He was patient to reveal it to me, and He used an unwanted and uncomfortable situation to transform me.
I’m hoping and believing the same for you, dear friend.
What stuck out to you from today’s devotion? Reflect on it with God in your Interseed journal.
- We can and must steward our thoughts towards that which is true, lovely, pure, etc.
- We must be willing to recognise God’s pace and go at it, not against it.
- There can be a purpose to our trials in the area of transforming and growing us.
I surrender myself into Your loving hands today. I yield to You my entire life – my mind, my body, my spirit, my will, my heart. I thank You for being with me through every difficulty and trial, and for being the One who helps me to endure them. Today, I ask that You would encounter me and show me what it is that You are doing in me and through my situation.
I lift up anyone I know who is sick right now. I pray that You would be their comfort, their strength, and their song. Give them peace and help them to endure.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Pray for someone specific you know who is unwell today. Seek to serve them by checking in on them, making food for them, or sending them a prayer.