Tag Archives: Illness

Job 12:13-16:10

I recently caught up with a friend who has been going through severe and mysterious health ailments. Tentatively she shared a detail, then another. I don’t have the full picture of what she’s been through these past months, but I recognized a holy privilege to be invited into any space of her journey. (Oh, the awe of holy ground. I do not want to mar it with an impulsive or incomplete response!) As I listened to her, I heard the natural bubble of her voice. She has always been joyful. And even in this, she waits with joy and patience and confidence.

“I have heard many things like these;
    you are miserable comforters, all of you!
Will your long-winded speeches never end?
    What ails you that you keep on arguing?
I also could speak like you,
    if you were in my place;
I could make fine speeches against you
    and shake my head at you.
But my mouth would encourage you;
    comfort from my lips would bring you relief
.” (Job 16:2-5, NIV, emphasis added)

I wonder if it is the deep lows in life that allow one to speak comfort to another. Empathy. Compassion. Sincerity.

I don’t know all that she’s experienced in this trial, but I know she still walks by faith on this dark path. She looks at me and shines her light. She is in the deep lows, and yet when our conversation was over, I felt hope, comfort, and relief because of her joy and confidence.

As I read through Job’s story, I think on his friends and their responses. They speak in judgment. They speak judgment of God. But God wasn’t penalizing or punishing Job–God called Job faithful. Maybe someone carries a heavy burden because of mistakes they’ve made, or from actions made by others. And maybe someone was appointed by God to carry a heavy burden, because God knew he could.

Lord, I hope I always remember the person’s heart who walks through heartache and trial. I pray that you would give me guidance how to comfort, encourage, or even to be still as I bear witness the journey. I pray that in my own walk, that you would send me support to encourage me for burdens I might carry. I give thanks for my friend, Lord, and your presence with us.

Courtney (66books365)


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Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover

2 Chronicles 2; 1 John 2; Nahum 1; Luke 17

“The temple I build will be great, because our God is greater than all gods. But no one can really build a house for our God. Not even the highest of heavens can hold him.” 2 Chronicles 2:5-6a (NCV)

This past week, my husband has been away traveling to participate in graduation ceremonies to receive his Masters of Divinity (Congratulations Richard!) and to be a part of his best friend’s betrothal ceremony (Congratulations Anbu!).

This past week, I’ve had food poisoning…

Between acting referee to my children, listening to booboo bawls and squeals of delight, witnessing loving moments filled with hugs and kisses, trying to keep everyone busy, singing, laughing, playing, scolding for biting, for hitting, for drawing a mural on the wall with black crayon, handling one daughter’s teething pain and another’s fever and cough…I’ve been running to and from the bathroom praying that the hum of Pocoyo and Peppa Pig in the background will keep the girls occupied long enough to do my business in peace.

Throughout this week, I tried to stay on top of things. I tried to get things ready to pack for our visa-clearing trip to Sri Lanka next week. I tried to get the better of the never-ending mound of laundry, clarifying which items are clean and which are dirty after the girls mixed the two together. I tried to keep the living spaces in reasonable order, picking up toys and books, sweeping the floor at least once a day to prevent an army of red ants from coming to snack on the remnants of breakfast, lunch, and dinner that the girls pushed to the floor uneaten. I tried to manage the kitchen, doing the dishes once in five days, half of the contents of our kitchen piled up waiting to be scrubbed. I tried to make the bed…I tried to change out of my pajamas…I tried to take a ‘shower’…I tried to brush the rat’s nest out of my hair…Needless to say, best laid plans.

The Lord is good,

giving protection in times of trouble.

He knows who trusts in him. Nahum 1:7 (NCV)

In the midst, I pressed into God for His strength. I praised, scraping the bottom of my reserves offering my ‘widows mite’ of gratitude. I laid open my heart to Him, honest in my frustrations at feeling like a failure, like I can never accomplish the things I set out to do. I prayed for help getting through.

And, of course, the Lord is good. And, of course, He met me right there, in the middle of it all.

Some of the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the kingdom of God come?”

Jesus answered, “God’s kingdom is coming, but not in a way that you will be able to see with your eyes. People will not say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ because God’s kingdom is within you.” Luke 17:20-21 (NCV)

Once more, He reminded me that it isn’t about what I can accomplish in a day. It is about what He accomplished on the Cross. It isn’t about how clean my house is or how well behaved my kids are in any given moment or how put together I am (He doesn’t even mind my stinky breath or my BO). It is about His Kingdom, the Kingdom of the True Living God inside of me, flowing out of me.

But if someone obeys God’s teaching, then in that person God’s love has truly reached its goal. This is how we can be sure we are living in God: Whoever says that he lives in God must live as Jesus lived. 1 John 2:5-6 (NCV)

He reminded me that living like Jesus lived, means putting my complete trust in Him – trusting Him to give me the strength I need, trusting Him to support my perseverance, trusting Him to comfort, to heal, to protect, to provide, trusting Him to help make a way so I am able to finish tasks, trusting Him to help me love others, and even trusting Him to help me love Him.

He reminded me that in spite of it all, I prayed with my kids over and over again, reinforcing the importance of going to God for all of our needs. He pointed out that I shared stories from the Bible – The Beginning, Noah’s Ark, Moses, David and Goliath, Jesus’ Birth, Jesus’ Sacrifice – and found moments to teach the girls about how much Jesus loves them. He told me that coaching my daughters how to stand in His power against ‘monsters’ in the dark is preparing them for future ‘battles;’ it’s showing them that they can always trust in Him.

He showed me when trusting Him is the focus of my life, my children will benefit as I talk with them, walk with them, lie down and get up with them. His Kingdom will be established in their hearts and in our home, regardless of the chaotic and cluttered outward appearance.

And, that is when the messiness of life is beautiful.

Yesappa, Thank You for always meeting me right where I am every day. Thank You for being there for me, for giving me strength. Thank You for blessing me with children who help me remember that life is messy, but that life is beautiful in You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Filed under 1 John, 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament

Exodus 30, John 9, Proverbs 6, Galatians 5

Jesus answered, “It is not this man’s sin or his parents’ sin that made him blind. This man was born blind so that God’s power could be shown in him. John 9:3 (NCV)

More than 25 years ago, my father-in-law was diagnosed with tuberculosis. The disease ravaged his body, destroying his lungs and eating his spine making walking and impossibility. The doctors eventually gave him only a few weeks to live. They told my mother-in-law to take him home so that he could die.

During the months before, while the disease was growing more and more out of control, friends and relatives rejected my husband’s family, leaving them alone to fend for themselves during this trying time. My father-in-law had been a hardworking teacher, starting a school in his village. He was also well known in the community as the presenter of the Hindu dramas during celebration festivals. As he got sicker, my mother-in-law, choosing not to abandon him, had to support her family of seven on her meager teacher’s salary all the while seeking the gods for answers and yearning for her husband to be healed.

In India, when a man (or woman or child) is afflicted by an infirmity, either from birth or as the result of an accident or illness, it is believed that the infirmity is the manifestation of sin in that person’s life. The sin may have been committed during his current life, in his childhood or young adult years; or that person may have committed a great sin in a past life.

Whatever the case, he is judged by others in and around his life and is no longer deemed unworthy to live in the community. The afflicted is often rejected from his home and turned out into the street, forced into exile in order to pay for his sin. He would most likely lose his job, forcing him to beg from people who would rather see him dead than help him regain his life. He is required to suffer the day to day torments of his infirmity in order to redeem and purify himself of the offensive sin.

It is believed that only through this process of suffering and eventual death sufficient atonement will take place and allow that person to be set free to enter into a more peaceful existence in the next life.

Fortunately, Christ has a different plan for redemption. He gives life. He gives hope. And, He gives healing…

One evening, a friend invited my mother-in-law to a prayer meeting at her church. The pastor gave a word of knowledge during the service about a woman who had a dying husband. The word encouraged her to come to the altar to lay her life down at the foot of the Cross and offered her the hope of Jesus the Healer. In time, she led her husband and children to the Lord.

Every day, the family began praying for healing in Jesus’ name, believing in the Living God who heals. And sure enough, my father-in-law became healthier and healthier.

In two months’ time, rather than succumbing to the death sentence given by the doctors, he grew stronger and stronger. By six months, he regained feeling in his legs. And a year later, he walked to visit the doctors who had doomed him to death.

As he regained his health, the people who had abandoned him were amazed. They couldn’t understand how he could come back from the grave. They knew it was miraculous and thought they might be able to benefit from what they thought was the favor of the gods.

My father-in-law spoke out: These many months that I lay dying I sought the help of your gods. Not one of your gods helped me. But then I met the True Living God. Not only did He help me, He healed me and brought me back to life. From now on, I will only worship Him; I will live only for Him.

My husband’s family began going into the surrounding villages, preaching the Gospel to the people, sharing God’s love, grace, and mercy to the men, women, and children who were willing to listen. Thousands of people, who had never heard the name of Jesus, have been introduced to Christ and nurtured by their Creator as a result of this healing miracle. His glory and power is still being shown through my father-in-law’s testimony and his life even today.

Jesus has paid the price for healing and He wants the health of heaven here on earth. He wants to demonstrate His glory and power to everyone. Healing may be immediate, like the blind man, healing may take place over time, like my father-in-law, or healing may be made perfect in eternity. Regardless of the way healing takes place, the witnessing of miracles brings hope and opens hearts to the Kingdom of God.  All we have to do it put our trust in Him and He will walk with us, support us, provide for our needs, and love us to life.

Yesappa, I ask for healing miracles in lives as people read this testimony of Your goodness and of Your healing power in Jesus’ name. I ask for infirmities to be lifted off of hearts, minds, and bodies in Jesus’ names. I ask for You to remove aches and pains in Jesus’ name.  I ask for You to cure incurable disease in Jesus’ name. I ask for You to repair damage from accidents in Jesus’ name. I ask for You to make well all those suffering from winter illness in Jesus’ name. Thank you in advance for Your healing touch today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, Galatians, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs