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    Waiting in Hope

    Mike lives in a body distorted by cerebral palsy. His mind is fine; he’s intelligent and engaging and has a wonderful sense of humor. But his body twists and turns in upon itself with random jerks and contortions. When asked what he hopes for, Mike says, “A new body.” He doesn’t really say it because Mike is not able to speak. Instead, his clubbed hand with outstretched thumb must jab at a word pad. After Mike labors for a stretch of time, a disembodied mechancial voice says, “A new body.”

    How do you wait in hope when what you hope for is not possible in this world?

    For some of you with physical impairments, disabilities, or disease, complete physical healing will not come this side of heaven. In the midst of this truth, God must still be sufficient.

    Mike longs for a new body, and he has been promised one, but he has longer to wait. Even knowing his suffering, Mike would join to tell you the words of Psalm 33:20-21: “Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and shield. Our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.”

    Mike, living daily in physical suffering, would say to us, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

    In truth, with the pain and suffering of sin and death, this world is never going to be a place of ultimate healing. That realm is reserved for heaven, where it is said that God “…will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

    In the meantime, however, God has promised to be with us. He has given us his Son. He has given us his Spirit. He has provisions to comfort us through the love, lives, and examples of other people. God lives. Hope lives. “And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).

    In some ways, I wish I could tell you that your current suffering is your last suffering. This simply isn’t true. What I can tell you is that God is able to sustain you through your suffering and help you find your way to healing. It may not be the complete healing of heaven, but it will be sufficient for now in this world. And each time you successfully navigate your way through suffering to healing, it will be easier to find the path the next time. For there will be a next time, and a time after that. And each time, God will be with you.

    Look for God in the rainbow, in the comfort of others, in the example of Jesus, in the whisper of your prayers, in the certainty of his Word, in the presence of his Spirit, and in the touch of his love.

    SOURCE: Chapter 8: “Vision,” God Can Help You Heal by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.

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