Victory in Suffering – A Change of Perspective
By Maria White, Kroc Center Hawaii, Ewa Beach, HI
Recently while preparing a message for an audience of senior citizens, I met with a lovely older woman who at the time was not feeling so lovely. She had a stroke a while back that has left her much more limited than she has ever been. She has lived her ninety years in independence with a zest for life and a thirst for adventure. Being confined against her will has been a test of her inner strength along with her physical body.
We talked about the new year and how she planned to go forward in it. She had few things to say as her thoughts were filled with her limitations. I asked her, “If you had no bodily restrictions, and you could do anything you wanted to, how would you use your time?” Her ninety-year-old answers shocked me! This lady is a wild tiger inside that broken-down body! She was filled to overflowing with ideas, dreams, and adventures! Her eyes lit up as she told me the things that she would choose to do if she were able. The list was exciting and extensive! But alas, there she lay in her recliner unable to do anything… or so she thought.
I explained to her that with a change of perspective she could do these things and more! She was willing to hear me out. I continued to share with her scriptures that point out the difference between body and spirit. I told her about John 14:12-14,
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
I explained to her that Jesus was our example of being trapped in a human body. He could only do so much, Yes, He did a lot, no doubt! Yet it was because He went to be with the Father, the Father would send in His place The Holy Spirit. When the flesh is out of the picture the Spirit has freedom to move on a larger scale! We can, in the Spirit go places the healthiest versions of our bodies could never go, and in an instant, we can be transported to any physical place in the world, without leaving our home. I shared with her the importance of prayer and how she now has freedom to go on prayer adventures to the ends of the earth!
We were both excited at this point and came up with a few ideas:
- As she watched the news, the stories that concerned her most, she would commit those to the Lord in prayer. She would join in fighting wildfires, finding missing children, and serving our US veterans. She would and could do all these things in a powerful way before dinner time! Talk about feeling accomplished at the end of the day!
- Pray for her daughters who she knows will soon be living without her presence. She would pray for their relationships with God to flourish. She would pray they witness her loving and serving God until the day He welcomes her home to live in glory with Him.
- Begin praying for the attending staff at the senior residence where she now lives. She would pray for their health, their hearts to have joy in their work, she would pray that they would see the change in her attitude and wonder why. She would pray for the opportunity to share with them the truth of the scriptures.
She was now motivated and chomping at the bit to put all these thoughts into practice! Her eyes shown with a sparkle rivaling sunlight dancing off fidgety waves of water. She was excited to “get busy” praying for victory for God in these situations and more. The following week, after I concluded the Sunday Message at the Senior Residence, she called me to her side. She was thrilled to tell me the tales of her praying adventures. She was more alive than I am! I was inspired by her anticipation of doing more with her life in the Spirit!
Her perspective had changed, though her bodily situation is declining each day, her zest for life in the Spirit is soaring without limits. Praise God for His perspective and Praise God for giving us such a miraculous life!
As you consider the challenges you are facing today, how might you change your perspective or actions to help you find victory in the midst of suffering? Ask the Lord and wait expectantly for Him to answer.