I'm excited to share these words from my guest blogger, Hannah Grace Furcinitti -
Honestly, these past two years have been filled with the most intense suffering I have ever endured. Living away from home, coming down with random illness after illness, learning how to disagree with fellow believers whom I love deeply. It has been plain hard, and I am eternally grateful to my gracious God who works this suffering for the good of His saints and the glory of His name.
I often tell my family that Dengue was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I mean that. It opened my eyes in a new way. God grabbed my attention and turned me to Himself. I lay on a hospital bed, doubting whether I’d survive this, doubting that I’d see my family again in this life, feeling afraid and alone. And how kind God was to put me exactly there! Where else did I have to go but to Him? The best place to be is where you recognize God as your only hope and treasure. How kind that, as our loving Father, He cares too much for our eternal state to leave us healthy, comfortable, and happy for our entire physical lives.
It’s so hard to discipline someone. If you have a kid, you know this. It hurts. Kind is the father who goes ahead and disciplines his children anyway because he loves them that much. How much infinitely kinder of our omnipotent Father who could give us our every last desire but doesn’t because He cares for us too deeply to leave us in such a state as that.
John 11 contains one of my favorite stories in Scripture, with (to me) some of the most insightful words on suffering that God speaks to us. First, Jesus says (verse 4), “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” How amazing that God uses us as vessels of His glory! That He uses our fellow humans to show us more of Himself!
Then, John says, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So (or therefore), when He heard that Lazarus was ill, He stayed two days longer in the place where He was.” What?! God is telling us that this is what His love, true love, does: it allows and even works suffering for our good and His glory. Jesus stayed put so that they would know and love Him more. Again I say, what a kind and loving God we serve!
Verse 14 says, “Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe.’” This seems backwards and unloving! Maybe even cruel. But it’s right there in the Bible, alongside texts written by this same man, John, telling us that God is love. Seeing as the Bible is inerrant and unable to contradict itself, we must therefore believe that this is love in action. Because it is! Jesus allowed this suffering that His disciples might believe. Us believing in Jesus leads to our eternal delighting in Him, which is good and kind and gracious of God to want for us. To quote John Piper, “The glory of God in Jesus is the only thing that can satisfy your soul... Therefore, if He must take away your health for you to see that, if He must take away your life for you to see that, that is love.”
As a thick headed, stiff necked sinner, I am eternally grateful that God graciously used whatever means necessary to secure my soul. Whether that be destroying my health or taking my worldly possessions, He is good and He knows best. He is working all things for my good, even my sufferings.