WRITE: Devotionals, Out of the Dust, Battles and Blessings
How can a good God allow bad things to happen? The problem of pain is one of the classic questions theologians and others explore. In today’s Out of the Dust devotional, Avis Goodhart shares her answer and how God turned a disability into an asset.
#11 Battles and Blessings
Scripture Reading: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).
Thought: God can use everything, even our trials, to carry out His purposes and bring Him glory.
Excerpt, Out of the Dust: The spiritual battles continued on my next trip to Honduras, when a strange facial paralysis struck me. A diagnosis of Bell’s palsy didn’t keep me from serving on the mission field, but it did keep me home from my teaching job that fall.
By November, though, I realized something else must be wrong. The Bell’s palsy had healed, the swelling disappeared, and the virus that caused the problem had vanished. So why is the pain so horrible? I wondered. The neurologist who examined me said some of my nerves had healed the wrong way. This left me with severe facial spasms, eyes that wouldn’t water, and unbearable pain.
Another long round of doctor visits began. I missed my students, but I couldn’t return to teaching. Not yet. . . . I finally wound up at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, where I received Botox shots to relax the cramping in the left side of my face. These reduced the pain and improved my appearance, but the nerve damage had its effect. I couldn’t pronounce certain words correctly. I had hearing damage in my left ear and reduced sight in my left eye.
Some speech pathologist friends taught me how to speak and gave me exercises to help me close my eye. The shots, which I still get every six months or so, make the pain much more bearable. I still struggle to pronounce words correctly, but with God’s help, I manage.
“How could all this happen to you when you were doing the Lord’s work?” people often ask. God’s Word says it rains on the just and the unjust. And the Bible also says, And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28 NASB).
I know God heals. I’ve experienced healing and I’ve also had the gift of healing operate through me. But sometimes, He has another plan.
After months of waiting, praying, and seeking medical help, I received news that the school district would release me on disability. This meant two things: for the next fourteen years, I would receive two-thirds of my salary; and I was free to become a full-time missionary.
What Satan meant for harm, God used for good. And there was much more good – and many more trials – left to come. (Chapter 11)
Prayer: Wonderful Counselor, help me see everything in my life as from your hand. When I encounter trials, help me to recognize your greater plan and purpose. Give me the faith to keep trusting in you.
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Read about Avis Goodhart and Go Ye Ministries