God’s eyes

What does God see in my friend’s painful illness of more than eight years?

I ask that question because my friend is so discouraged that he is even losing hope in a divine miracle.  He has watched healing shows on television, contacted prayer centres and I have prayed with him every time I visit him.

On the medical front, he has been examined by medical specialists in almost every discipline along with trying various cures outside the traditional medical stream.  Some have given him different diagnoses but the solutions haven’t worked.

So what is God up to?

I can see that is the question behind my friend’s frustrations.

It’s a question that many of us have asked at various times in our lives.  I have never gone through anything like my friend’s illness but I have been disappointed at times that God hasn’t answered my prayers the way I thought he should.

I admit that my vision is limited.  I am shaped by my experiences and what I have learned in a long life.

But I am struck by God’s response to Job who had lost his entire family, his health and his wealth through satan’s attacks.

Initially, Job reacted admirably by saying he trusted God even if God killed him.  But finally he complained to the Lord after well-meaning friends suggested he was really at fault for his own problems.

God’s response to Job’s complaints seem harsh. He fires a serious of tough questions at the suffering man beginning with: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?”

The point the Lord Almighty was making is that we do not know the big picture – only God does.

John Eldredge touched on the problem of unanswered prayer in his book Moving Mountains: Praying with Passion, Confidence and Authority.  It’s a book that our prayer group has been studying for several weeks.

Just after talking about God moving powerfully through healing prayer, Eldredge writes about friends who have not been healed.

One afternoon, Eldredge’s wife sat by the bed of one of their friends, lying in hospital with an unexplained disease which racked his body with fevers, chills and pains for months.  As she sat there, he gasped out the words, “I love you, Jesus. I worship you. I love you, Jesus. I worship you.”

“It was one of the holiest things she ever witnessed,” says Eldredge.

Eldredge asks the question: “What is the goal of this life?”

Paul’s says in 2 Corinthians 3:18 that “the Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image”.

We are being moulded into the image of Christ in this world in preparation for the world to come with God.

Eldredge says: “The goal of human existence is union with God, an absolute union of heart, soul, mind and strength, the union Jesus knew with his Father.”

I don’t understand why some – like my friend – suffer horribly and others don’t.

But I believe God loves my friend – deeply.  And there will be a day when he rejoices with Jesus – pain-free.

And he will finally understand as he sees his life through God’s eyes.

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