Something to get you thinking…
I suspect the following may well be controversial, but it got me thinking so I wanted to share it. It talks about gratitude and what we should be giving thanks for. “Your affliction falls well within the overarching decrees of God. It comes from His wise and kind hand and for that, you can give thanks. In it and for it.” — Joni Earekson Tada, from the Daily Devotional Email 19/11/12 Here’s the link to the original post.
Does God ‘give’ disability, or just ‘allow’ it?
So, does God give us our afflictions, in my case physical disability, and chronic illness, amoungst other things.Joni’s reasons for reaching her conclusion is that the daily grind with her quadraplegia brings her to God minute by minute, Another reason she gives is that God’s Word asks us to give thanks for everything so for her the ‘everything’ includes being thankful for her disability. The sovereignty of God means her suffering through her disability is not somehow separate either, as God is also Lord of her disability. Also, instead of having her quiet time and then getting on with her life, it forces her to live out her faith wheeling close to her Saviour, as i read the other morning in “More Precious than Silver Daily Devotional e-book.
I do absolutely recognise the logic of her argument. If God is Lord over everything, that includes my disability… but to give thanks for it, specifically?! I do thank the Lord he is using my disability to teach me how to depend on Him for everything, and how to ask others for the help I need without becoming so dependent on them, that I shut God out. I recognise it is God who has walked me through the four years since my operation which gave me a bag on my tummy, and eventually meant I needed carers, and an electric wheelchair amongst other things. Indeed, it is God who gives me my very life, my very breath, and if he chose to, he could take me home to be with Him in an instant, but did he give me my disability, something which gives me so much pain, and tiredness, and so limits my life? He is using it for his Glory, and to help me to help others, as you can read here, if you haven’t already.
if He did not give me disability, then how could he include it within His plan for my life? Indeed, God knew what each day of my life would bring before I was even born. (Psalm 139) I cannot reconcile this with God giving me my disability though. I would so like to know everyone’s thoughts on this, and work through it together. In the meantime, here are the verses from God’s Word that inspired the text of which I write.
19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:19-20)
4 thoughts on “Thankful,but for what?”
Its a really difficult one Jackie, and something that I struggle with. Lately its “did God give me my stroke?”. My gut feeling is that no, He didn’t. Stuff happens to us because we live in a fallen world, but God is there to help us through it all. If we are in a trap, He is right in there with us. I am learning to see the blessings that have come with my sudden illness and current disability, i.e. so many people have earnestly offered help, love and support to us, and that is something I thank God for, but I don’t believe that He really wants any of His children to suffer. I acknowledge that I will no doubt learn lessons during this testing time, and hopefully draw closer to God, but I think that is more about Him ‘working things for the good of those who love Him’ (Romans 8 v 28).
My view is borne out of life experience rather than a deep knowledge of the Bible. I will be interested to read other people’s views on the subject.
Thank you, for such an honest answer… I get what J.E.T. is saying… but am probably with you on this one… it is so hard. I’ve read elsewhere that J.E.T. says, if God didn’t ‘give’ us disabilities and things, it is as though satan is holding God to ransom, letting him to such to this one, such to that… am still thinking… and waiting to hear from others too.
I don’t think God gives us our disabilities but he allows it which is quite different (Job is a good example). I once heard someone talk about how God is crying with us. He didn’t want our world to be as it is but sin spoilt things.
A while ago I remembered my training as a nursery nurse which was every time we answered a question we had to consider the child’s overall health, physically, mentally, emotionally, sociality and spiritually.
I could see how (and you) are strong in other areas apart from the physical.
I’ve also read in the past about someone who was worried about debt until they started to praise God every time a bill was posted. They ended up praying for God to show them how to use all the money that was coming in from strangers who just felt prompted to send them a cheque. I think it’s more to do with a positive attitude rather than being glad of our limitations.
I watched the documentary on TV last week about people who are locked in their bodies and how new research has them imagining playing tennis so that the scans show their brain is active which is the only way to communicate with the outside world. These people were considered brain dead before. So yes, I can praise God for my disability.
I’m not trying to belittle your situation. I so admire you for the way you cope with your daily challenges but what I have written might help encourage you. I hope so because you are a strong person with many wonderful attributes and I’m so pleased to know you.
Hey there. Will give this a stab.
I don’t thank God for my illness, nor do I feel I have to thank God for my illness. Why? Because of Jesus’ words to the woman crippled by an evil spirit who could not stand up at all ‘ should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free…?’ (Luke 13:16)
I think you can thank God for things that come through the illness, but I think we are also set free to weep for the sin and sickness of this world. We don’t need to pretend that something that is bad is good. There will be no sickness in heaven, no tears, no death. We don’t need to thank God for sickness or death, it is as a result of our fall. We can thank God IN sickness and at death. The two are different.
Much love x