This past Thursday one of our church members took me out to meet a few of our members who are physically unable to go to church. This opportunity was a treat for me. More often than not the when you visit home bound members you have the opportunity to hear wisdom and learn from experience. This was true today.
As I sat in several of these ladies living rooms I asked them when they joined Memorial Baptist Church. Almost every single of these senior ladies told me that they joined our church in the 40s. Wow! We talked about their families, their fond memories, the good times of the church and the rough times. As I left, I asked each woman what I could pray with them about. I was surprised by their answers. I guess I expected them to tell me about their ailments and their desire to be free from pain. Of all the ladies that I visited, I don’t remember one whose request focused on physical struggles. Instead almost all of them asked for me to pray for their kids and grandkids.
The prayer request that struck me, though, above all the others was one by a sweet woman who has only been apart of our church since the 1990s. She asked that I would pray for God to remove her sinful struggles over removing her pain. In the 10 plus years of serving in one ministry function or another I have never heard a prayer request like that. When I grow old I hope that I am able to have a heart so set on service that my prayer life if about God refining me.
Today in church we are looking at Jesus as he heals a man’s son. As I studied the passage, God led me to understand the great mistake we often make when we study the miracles of Jesus. We think the miracles are the ends of God’s miraculous work. What I have learned is that the miracles are not the ends, but the means to the ends. God uses the physical miracles to produce spiritual miracles. He heals a boy from a physical disease so that He can heal the family from a spiritual disease.
God’s big plan is this world is not, nor will it ever be the removal of all pain. God’s big plan is redeeming people back to Himself. Sometimes for us it means being broken by our pain, whether physical or emotional. It is often when we hurt the most that we look to God as our only source of hope. It is when we are in pain that we realize how desperately we need something bigger than us. It is in pain, often, that we realize how trivial life is and how important eternity is. God wants to work wonders through your pain today. The question for you is whether you are going to be so fixed on it that you miss God’s bigger plan.
His grace is sufficient for you and His power is perfected in you weakness. Look to Him.