This week I was poked and prodded, all part of regular check-ups to monitor the effects of Motor Neurone Disease on my body.
Throughout it all, I felt a strong sense of God with me.
I thank God that this disease, as bad and dark as it is some days, has not shaken my faith.
The strange thing is that in our humanity, we can sometimes allow our belief in God’s goodness and love to become weakened because of someone else’s trial or dark times.
I have witnessed people get mad at God on behalf of someone else and yet the person going through the bankruptcy, broken relationship, illness, or loss is not mad at God at all.
To the contrary, the person going through it is dependent on God’s presence and comfort in the midst of what they are going through.
Can I encourage you not to carry offence towards God on behalf of someone else?
Don’t take on offence because of what others are going through. Don’t make my trial your excuse.
It takes a strong person to be able to get close to another’s weakness, close to their mortality, and stay strong in their personal faith in God.
Let me say on behalf of all those in a trial, we need our friends to be strong, not mad.
Watching your strength gives us strength. Watching you become weak over our trial only adds to our trial.
I think of John, the disciple of Jesus. In Acts 12, we read that his brother James is killed by Herod as a young man. In the very next verses, we see that Peter gets supernaturally rescued by God. John’s brother dies while Peter is saved.
We see that not only does John stay the faith through this trial, he encourages and supports the growth of the Church through writing books that expound God’s faithfulness in trials.
In 1 John 1:5, he writes “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” And in 1 John 4:16, he writes, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
This doesn’t sound like someone who, because of the trials of others, had become disillusioned, offended or bitter with God.
And so, whatever you are observing in another’s battle, please continue to have compassion, continue to care and support them. Fight for what is right and for justice but do not get offended with God because of someone else’s dark valley. God and us will be ok.
If you need God’s strength to be strong for someone else, I encourage you to get into His presence, spend time in His Word, ask Him for strength.
By the way, I’m doing a road trip in the USA with my good friend Steve over the next three weeks so for “Fridays with Phil” updates, follow my journey on Instagram (@pcamden).