The brother’s hugged before one entered surgery. Little did they know what lay ahead.
Two brothers, Chad and Ryan Arnold. One with a healthy liver, the other with an incurable liver disease. But love won out. In Denver, Colorado, Ryan…age 34…the brother with the healthy liver, was donating a part of his liver to his brother who needed it to live. The surgery was complicated and dangerous. Everything seemed to go well, but complications set in. Within four days, the brother with the healthy liver had died while the sick brother survived.
Serving God doesn’t entail absence of suffering. Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. (James 5:13 NLT)
Discovering why suffering comes isn’t nearly as important as my response to it. Accepting it as something God can use is important. When I see it as usable, God can teach me critical life lessons. Suffering reminds me that my body is afflicted, will age, and will die. Nothing I possess is indestructible either. Everything decays because of sin’s presence.
James later instructs the sufferer to call the church elders so they can pray for him and anoint him with oil. Oil was medicinal and also symbolized the Holy Spirit. This reminds me that I should appeal to the physical and spiritual when suffering. Ultimately, God is my great physician, but he gives wisdom to medical professionals. There is wisdom in taking advantage of their services.
Prayer is comforting in times of suffering—mine and others. Through prayer, I receive the assurance that God cares about what I’m experiencing. When others pray for me, the comfort is maximized. God hears and acts when believers pray.
But at the end of the day I must accept God’s will where suffering is concerned. Not all ailments are healed, financial situations restored, possessions replaced, or relationships healed. Like Jesus, I must declare, “Not my will but Yours be done.”
How do you respond when suffering approaches?
Prayer: When suffering comes, Savior, remind us You are in control and will bring good out of it if we respond in faith.
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