In Sunday School this morning, we discussed the Holy Spirit and the fruits of the Spirit. As someone else in the group was reading aloud, I was following along in my Bible. Galatians 5:22-23 says: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such things, there is no law.
I’ve read, heard, and recited these 2 verses countless times. I learned something new today. One of the words in my post title is patience. The version of the Bible this person was reading from had patience as long-suffering. I’ve seen this many times before as well, but today it just clicked. Just about anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a patient person. My husband says it, my friends say it, and even the teenagers I work with have mentioned it before.
Infertility and long-suffering go together. The definition of long-suffering is “having or showing patience in spite of troubles.” The lesson in Sunday School rang so true to me today. I love how God can show me something new with a verse I have heard over and over my entire life.
The sermon our pastor shared today was entitled “When Hurts Won’t Heal.”
I was immediately intrigued. I have my new realization of long-suffering very fresh on my mind (um, Sunday School let out 5 minutes ago) and now I see the phrase when hurts won’t heal. Okay, God, I hear you loud and clear today.
The scripture reference was 2 Corinthians 12:7b-10:
A thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being conceited. Three times I pleaded with Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
The “hurt that won’t heal” I am experiencing in this season of my life is infertility. Others might be facing the loss of a loved one, a broken marriage, an ill family member, and the list goes on.
There were a few things I wrote down during the sermon because I wanted to remember them. The first was something that Bruce shared as he was preaching: God is too wise to be mistaken and He is too good to be unkind. Just let that sink in for a minute.
Yes, we will face hardships. I’d be doing myself a great disservice if I went through life thinking that because I am a Christian, everything will be sunshine and rainbows. In fact, one of the times I felt closest to God was just before I went through one of the most difficult times in my life. But you know what? God used that time in my life in a huge way. Not just for me, but for my family, my friends, and even strangers in my community.
God is faithful. Period.
He does not make mistakes and He is not unkind.
In the letter to the Corinthians above, Paul wrote about boasting in his weaknesses. The thorn in his flesh represents weakness and it remained so that Paul would not become conceited. Bruce also shared that our faith should not be a competition. We can’t play the game where we go thru hardships, but because my faith was so strong, I was blessed. That discounts the faith of others who are experiencing hardships, but do not receive the answer for which they prayed. My faith is not better than anyone else’s. God heals not because He is blessing us, but to show His power.
So, that difficult time in my life I mentioned before? God showed off in a mighty way that day. I was in a freak accident with an inflatable slide. This is a series of blog posts all on their own, but for time’s sake, I’ll just share that I was thrown over 130 feet. Over a grassy area, over a street, over the top of a camping trailer that served as the first aid area for this particular event. 6 broken bones, a partially collapsed lung, bruised spleen & kidney, and a traumatic brain injury. I am alive, I can walk, and I smile when I think back on that time, knowing how faithful God has been in my life.
He was faithful then and He will be faithful again.
Don’t get me wrong. With all this infertility stuff, I sometimes get down and think to myself that I know I have a purpose, but did God save me that day just to go thru all this?
What if He did?