Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
A good friend of mine and his family had their lives turned upside down recently. After a four-wheeling accident, my friend’s spine was severed and several of his vertebrae are considerably damaged. His wife was also in the accident, and while her injuries are not as severe she faces a painful, slow recovery in a back brace. He is currently undergoing treatment and therapy to learn how to function without the ability to walk. His family is in shock, heartbroken, stressed and worried.
I recently visited him in the hospital. That visit taught me a lot about a godly perspective on suffering which I can only hope to have should a similar burden ever be placed upon me. You see, my friend has spent his life preaching the gospel to as many people as he can from the pulpit, through the written word in articles and through CDs, DVDs, and religious broadcasting. Many in his situation would dismiss the idea of ever preaching God’s Word again, but not my friend. He told me that his goal is to preach the gospel just as he had done before, only this time in a wheelchair. Smiling, he told me that now he would likely have opportunities to reach people he likely would not have reached before, and was praying that God open doors for him to share the good news of Jesus with others who had been injured as he had been. His mother had told me minutes earlier as we walked to his room that he was already handing out CDs and DVDs of his Bible sermons and lessons to his fellow patients and to the hospital staff. He also told me that if it was God’s will for him to spend the next thirty to forty years of his life in a wheelchair, then he would accept it because thirty years is but a blink of an eye to the glory waiting for him as he walked with Jesus into heaven. Several passages of scripture came to mind as he said that to me.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens…He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him” (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1, 5-9).
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak needs, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God…” (Hebrews 12:11-15a).
Yet before any of these passages I was reminded of Psalm 30:5, shown above. You see, a few days before visiting my friend I was looking for writings in my office about suffering and trials of life because what had happened to him was weighing heavily on my mind. I found an article in one of my books on equipping Christians to deal with adversity. The title of the article came from the above quote in Psalm 30:5.
The author of the article was my friend.