“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”” John 16:33
“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”” Rev. 21:2-4
I was standing on the street talking with a beautiful severely disabled woman trying exceedingly hard to understand what she was saying to me given every part of her body including her speech was enormously impaired due to the disability she had dealt with for what appeared to have been all of her life. She sat in her electronic wheelchair with her sweetheart of a little dog attached to the chair by a leash, and as she sat there with her hands so twisted by the disability and her feet turned in such a way she wouldn’t have been able to walk even if she had been able to stand up which she obviously could not, she and I chatted for some time. As I knelt next to her chair, her little dog even climbed up onto my lap as though I had been actually sitting which I was not. The three of us were assembled under the peaceful shelter of the Lord’s love as He had clearly in His blessedly tender mercy gathered us together amid the usual noises and sights and smells and dirt and hurried pace of the New York City streets where we were.
When I talked to her about the Lord, she made abundantly clear she didn’t know if He existed. A self-professed agnostic, as I had once been, she shared with me a tragedy that in my estimate was even worse than the disability that had wracked her body for decades. Christians had told her when she was growing up that she should pray so God would heal her body. Guess what happened. She prayed. God didn’t heal her body. So how could she believe in Him?
I talked to her about Jesus, about our need for a Savior, that Jesus didn’t promise us an easy life, that God has a purpose when He doesn’t answer prayers, that she is beautiful and an incredible inspiration, and talked to her about heaven where there is no more pain, sickness, evil, disease, tears, etc. And I talked to her about having a forever relationship with God, and how no matter what we go through on this earth, that the most important thing in the universe is the Lord and a personal relationship with Him. Something she could have now, here on earth. I told her that though I have not been through anything nearly as challenging as she has, I have had my own challenges and spoke to her of my personal relationship with Christ. I also spoke to her of Joni Erickson Tada who became paralyzed at a young age and who has had an amazing worldwide ministry for decades. That was the basic gist of our conversation to the best of my recollection.
Do you see the tragedy in this? She was depriving herself of a forever relationship with God because He hadn’t answered her prayers and was doubting His very existence based on her circumstances and the fact He hadn’t given her what she understandably so desperately wanted. She is not alone in this, is she? How many people, I wonder, doubt the existence of God because of their circumstances? How many believers in Jesus, even, myself included, have doubted God at times because of our circumstances?
God didn’t create the world to be filled with hurt, hunger, disease, sickness, tragedy, violence, etc. This all came into the world because of humanity’s sins, and our decision to choose evil instead of God and His ways, but God loves us so much He sent Jesus to the cross in our place so all who repent and believe in Him as Lord and that He died for us and was raised from the dead, genuinely committing our lives to Christ, are forgiven and given an everlasting relationship with God whereby one day we will be with Him in heaven forever where there will not be a single ounce of hurt, pain, hunger, evil, disease, etc. And such that even while we live on this earth, no matter our circumstances and how hard they may be, we can know His love, grace, mercy, peace, comfort, compassion, etc., His intimately amazing and awesome personal fellowship, and hold in our hearts the promise of heaven with Him where all our troubles will be forever gone.
We need to not doubt God because of our hard circumstances. We should be thankful to Him that He can carry us through them and that when we give our lives to Christ we are promised forever with Him with no more pain at all not ever.
At the end of my conversation with this precious woman, to whom I gave my Gospel tract and had to place it in her bag because she couldn’t move her hand enough to receive it, I tried hard again to understand what she said. Know what she asked me? If one day we could get together. And she said she wanted to email me. I didn’t know how she would even be able to send an email, but this I knew. Seeds of hope had been planted in her. Hope that if one day she would acknowledge she is a sinner like all humans are, and cry out to Jesus to save her, and commit her life to Him, that she would be forgiven, promised everlasting life, and one day she would walk through the pearly gates and be blessedly and forever free.
Please pray for her, will you? For her and her sweet dog, that she would give her life to the Lord Jesus Christ, and that though He might not heal her body on this earth, that she would become His forever and know His love forever whereby one day she won’t need a wheelchair because she will be walking in the light of the Lord forevermore!
I walked away all choked up. Moved beyond description by her challenges, and at her beauty, and at God’s majesty that He had brought us together on a random street I hadn’t even planned to walk down, at her indescribable trials, how God would use someone as broken as I once was to share His hope, at the beautiful time we had spent together in His heavenly refuge right on the streets of New York City, and with the hope He will draw her to Himself, into His Kingdom, to be with Him forevermore.
Will she call me? I don’t know. May she, however, and may we all, call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, surrendering our lives utterly and forever to Him, and look forward to the day – and eternity – during which all this life’s troubles will be gone and we will rejoice in His glorious presence forevermore, AMEN!