Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"1 (Lyrics)
James 1:2-4 – Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (NIV)
A dear friend once told me that a butterfly can still take to the air even if it had lost 75 percent of its wingspan. What a miracle, and yet society would most likely categorize such a disfigured insect as being disabled. Surely, our Creator enabled her still to fly, to have a purpose, to carry pollen from plant to plant. If people would only take a closer look, they would see how encouraging her perseverance is to anyone struggling with disabilities.
Without warning, a severe form of arthritis crippled my wings. Learning to fly differently has been extremely challenging, humbling, and at times downright scary! Miraculously, being forced out of my comfort zone, I have new clarity and depth to my life — so much so, that I can honestly say that I believe that the testing of my faith is enabling perseverance. Therefore, on the days when I feel that I can't bear another flare-up, I cling to the joy of knowing that perseverance will finish its work, so that I will be mature and complete, not lacking anything!
Waking early this morning, I knew from past experience that I would need to walk and stretch out my sore muscles; otherwise, my day would not go well. With every step, I moaned inwardly, until a robin broke my thoughts, as it chirped a hello from the cedars nearby. Thanking the good Lord for this distraction, I began noticing the woody fragrance coming from the dew-laden branches nearby and paused to bathe in the warmth of the sun's healing rays as they filtered through the surrounding tall trees. Before long, my steps were less shaky, and I was excited to face the day. Truth be told, before arthritis took its toll, I had hurried through most of my waking hours, forever trying to catch a glimpse of tomorrow, a pattern that had left me mindlessly missing out on all the precious moments of today — moments lost forever!
Finally, dear friends, would I consider myself disabled or mislabelled? My answer is neither, for I am enabled by the grace of God. I know that, because God lifted me up with His wings. His love is the reason that I soar!
Psalm 91:4 – He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. (NIV)
So be encouraged, dear one, if you are feeling overwhelmed with fatigue and pain. You are not alone! God is watching over you.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, Lord, grant us the wisdom to see beyond our differences and have respect and compassion for those who are struggling with physical and mental pain. Give them peace, purpose, and hope, so that they can persevere until that glorious day when they will be made whole. Amen.