John Newton wrote the below to a friend in tough times; it’s beautifully put.
Your sister is much upon my mind. Her illness grieves me; were it in my power, I would quickly remove it. The Lord can, and I hope will, when it has answered the end for which He sent it. I trust He has brought her to us for good, and that she is chastised by Him that she may not be condemned with the world. I hope, though she says little, she lifts up her heart to Him for a blessing. I wish you may be enabled to leave her and yourself, and all your concerns, in His hands. He has a sovereign right to do with us as He pleases; and if we consider what we are, surely we shall confess we have no reason to complain; and to those who seek Him, His sovereignty is exercised in a way of grace. All shall work together for good; everything is needful that He sends; nothing can be needful that He withholds. Be content to bear the cross; others have borne it before you. You have need of patience; and if you ask, the Lord will give it: but there can be no settled peace till our will is in a measure subdued. Hide yourself under the shadow of His wings; rely upon His care and power; look upon Him as a physician who has graciously undertaken to heal your soul of the worst of sicknesses, sin. Yield to His prescriptions, and fight against every thought that would represent it as desirable to be permitted to choose for yourself. When you cannot see your way, be satisfied that He is your leader. When your spirit is overwhelmed within you, He knows your path; He will not leave you to sink. He has appointed seasons of refreshment, and you shall find He does not forget you. Above all, keep close to the throne of grace. If we seem to get no good by attempting to draw near Him we may be sure we shall get none by keeping away from Him.
Commenting upon God’s provision of daily manna Ed Welch writes:
“Control freaks and worriers are being told that the challenges of life are ordained by the Father and King. They are neither random nor accidental…The tests follow a particular pattern: God will give us what we need for today and today alone.
No mystery here, it is all spelled out…”Take as much as you want, but don’t keep a crumb for tomorrow”. In various forms, this will become God’s plan for human life. You will encounter it again when Jesus trains his disciples and sends them out on a missionary journey with no extra supplies (Mark 6:7-9). The plan of course, is genius. Dump a year’s supply of manna into cold storage and, guaranteed, you will forget God until the supply disappears. Such prosperity would be a curse. God’s strategy is to give us enough for today and then, when tomorrow comes, to give us enough for that day too.
Do you see how this is exactly what we need? Fears and worries live in the future, trying to assure a good outcome in a potentially hard situation. The last thing they want to do is trust anyone, God included. To thwart this tendency toward independence, God only gives us what we need when we need it. The emerging idea is that he wants us to trust him in the future rather than our self-protective plans.”
(Running Scared, p.77)
I came across this 10 minute talk a few years ago but have come back to it recently.
Disability and the world around us can tell us lies; God always tells us truth. Here is a wonderful Christian sister, Krista Horning, teaching herself and us God’s truth to conquer the lies.
You can read a striking article here by Katherine Wolf about her experience of a stroke and her reflections, as a former beauty queen, on the beauty of brokenness.
I think she’s putting her finger on something that’s worth exploring. All humans experience brokenness as we live in this sin-broken world but we try to keep it hidden ‘backstage’ in our lives. The ‘front stage’ we present often looks pretty together.
Disability changes that. Suddenly we find that the front stage of our lives is visibly broken. We live with a public brokenness that others relate to us through.
Of course, that is harder in many ways.
Nonetheless, Katherine Wolf is saying there’s a strange freedom in that; we don’t have to pretend anymore. The front-stage brokenness and the back-stage brokenness can now be joined up and lived as a bit more of an integrated whole.
Not what we might have chosen, but it opens up the possibility of a strange freedom all the same.
Maybe we can be a blessing to others through this.
I found this article so helpful recently. We’re often told that we should ‘move on’ but a deep loss will always live with us and it’s somehow healing to be able to revisit the memories from time to time.