As a Christian, I often turn to God’s word—the Bible—for encouragement, hope and even direction in life. Living life with an autoimmune disease raises lots of questions and fears, and I have no doubt that many often wonder (as I have done) where God’s hand is in all of this. People that don’t know the God of the Bible may see chronic illness as another reason to question his goodness or even his existence. Christians may struggle with keeping their focus on Christ and remembering where our hope is found. Because of this, I decided to put together a blog series reflecting on Scripture that I feel relates to living with rheumatoid autoimmune disease (aka rheumatoid arthritis / RA / RAD) in some way—e.g., as encouragement and hope, as prayer and honesty before God, or as learning to understand God and trust him through all situations in life. Wherever you're at in your spiritual journey, I hope you find this helpful.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
- Proverbs 16:24
I believe that we can find a sense of healing through God’s word and through the encouragement of others in our lives. Just as the proverb says, words can bring healing to the body and the soul. Let us lift one another up through our own words and through Scripture. I will share with you here a few verses that lift my spirits and give me hope.
One of my favorite passages of hope in the Bible is from the book of Lamentations – which, as the name suggests, is a book of mourning. Wait, there is hope in mourning? Yes. Hear these beautiful words:
Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for him. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men. -- Lamentations 3:21-24
Though grief may grip us, it need not consume us. It is God’s love that sustains us. Each new day, His compassion and faithfulness will bring us through whatever trial we are facing.
Going right along with this, is a verse from the Psalms that I first discovered after having surgery:
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. --Psalm 73:26
Again, our hope comes from the Lord. He is my strength. In Him I will trust. He heals and restores.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases
Those who trust in the Lord can have confidence in knowing that God will bring healing, and will bring an end to disease. The Bible talks about the so-called “End Times” in the book of Revelation (appropriately, the last book of the Bible), and the apostle John wrote down these words concerning his vision of this day:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
This is the day that I hope for, that I long for. This is the day of healing and restoration. This is God’s ultimate plan for those who love Him.