Saturday, August 16, 2008
Reaching Out to People with Chronic Illness - Do You Hear the Call? By Lisa Copen
You reach out to me and ask Why? You write pages of letters, sharing your pain and I ask God, Why? Why must life hurt so much? I pray for you, but I wonder if you feel the prayers. I wish I could focus enough to sit down and write a long reply, but my hand barely holds a pen and my fingers have spent too much time on a keyboard already. My body is swollen. My heart sometimes bruised. But I won't give up. I will never give up.
I should feel overwhelmed. I should feel What can I do? Who am I? But I know that with God beside me a difference will be made. God can make the difference. God can use each one of us to touch another life, even while we are still within our own pain. I don't want the glory. I don't need to feel important. I just want to overhear how God has changed a life.
You begin to wonder what you could do. What do I have to offer? What can God use out of this broken body and bruised heart? Some of you approach me and ask about starting a HopeKeepers group and my heart goes out to you. Others email and say, I want to help. I admire your courage. I understand your fears. I know the difficulties that you may encounter, but I also anticipate the joy you will come to know.
There is not a more amazing feeling then knowing that you are doing what God wants you to do. A calling is a precious thing that shines through all of the muck in this world, and you walk towards it-determined. You don't understand it. You don't feel prepared… but that's when you know it's God. When you know that you will have to give Him the glory, because you never could have accomplished it on your own.
We lack confidence. We lack knowledge. But we are His. We are afraid. But we also have a feeling of excitement. Eagerness. Urgency. We can't not do this. We try to talk ourselves out of it. We get sick. Our family needs us. Life starts to get in the way. But as we stand and do the dishes our thoughts wander- I must. I must do it. When the time is right. As you throw the clothes in the laundry, you hear a voice in your heart that says, "Now."
No, Lord, not now. When the time is right. Now isn't a good time.
But Lord, I don't know what I am doing!
If the call is the last place you ever thought that you would be you are likely in the right place. God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. If you had dreamed of a bungee jumping ministry ten years ago, it makes perfect sense that God's call is chronic illness ministry. He wants us dependent on Him.
Pray. Read His Word. Listen for the call. Do you hear it? It's there. We all have a purpose in this life. It may be simple. It may be a season where you just learn to worship God. Or it may be to serve someone else for a while. Too dependent on depression? Have you become too comfortable in your callousness? Too pleased with your pity? It's easy to do when you live in pain, but that's not the end of the story. That is not your call.
"We can hold on to things and stay in places of brokennesss," says Kathy Troccoli, Christian vocalist. "We can go on in ways that are false in healing and false in peace. And, in doing so, we can suffer the tragedy of missing God's heart. Or we can lay down our lives in celebration to let God do as he wishes with us."
If you are interested in laying down your life in celebration by volunteering with Rest Ministries, we have many opportunities to serve others, including writing notes of encouragement, returning calls of those who want prayer, leading a chat online, writing daily devotionals or article newsletters and more. We will gladly match your calling with our needs. You can also ask for a HopeKeepers Info Packet if you are interested in beginning a group in your church or community and would like to learn more. Call us 888-751-7378