In speaking about the thorn in his flesh, whether illness or struggle with habitual sin, Paul says, "Three different times I begged the LORD to take it away. Each time he said, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. Since I know it is all for Christ's good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Doesn't make sense does it?! It goes against what the world and our nature considers success or favor. Weakness made strength? Only these things can be understood with spiritual minds, regenerated by the Word and Spirit of truth.
The last 7 days have been exhausting and trying for me physically, but truth be told the peace and beauty of Jesus has been my food and delight. I don't always handle my physical limitations with grace and wisdom (or in patience with my children) but I want to. God's power has allowed me to embrace this illness as a precious gift in my life. One that has revealed his character and goodness in deeper ways than I expected. I have no desire to pray it away, my desire is to be made complete in trust and submission. God is good and I trust his hand. I find myself being driven ever deeper into the heart of the Father.
Something else God is teaching me is that the display of his power and goodness in my weakness is not just for my spiritual well being, it is also for his body the church. I'm learning that nothing in our lives is just for us, even our salvation. Our spiritual gifts, the filling of the Spirit, hardships, joy, provision, poverty, lessons learned, our physical bodies, our eternity is all wrapped up in the well being of the bride. God is teaching me that even this sickness is for the good of his church. "We who believe are carefully joined together, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also joined together as part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit" Eph. 2:21-22. In America we are such individuals but that's not God's plan. We are connected together to display his glory more fully. We can't realize the full power of Christ individually, it's only as we're connected together that we see his full plan and power.
So I offer up my body as a sacrifice, one that's pleasing to Jesus. But also for my brothers and sisters so that his power can be displayed through my weakness and his bride can be encouraged in faith and grace.