A Glorious View: God's Sufficiency and Grace for Those of Us Who Need it Most
There were times when I wanted to quit trying, but it turns out that this grueling trip has been worth it.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.—Psalm 27:13–14
I once had to drive on a winding mountain road in severe winter conditions. Since I am from Florida, this took great concentration and patience. I drove my car with a laser-like focus on the road ahead, so I never even noticed the mountains or the beauty around me. After I reached my destination, an awe-inspiring view of the landscape was my reward.
I recently traveled down a long road of physical ailments. Health crisis after health crisis crashed into me, forcing me into the slow lane and often to the side of the road altogether. It is hard to keep going when your body breaks down over and over again. There were times when I wanted to quit trying, but it turns out that this grueling trip has been worth it. I wish everyone could see the glorious view without traveling a similar road, but a steep climb seems to be the only way here. I have a perspective of the landscape of my life that I would never have without my journey through health issues. The view from here is glorious.
Before illness, I could get out of bed in the morning without making a great effort to move my body. I did not have to use one hand to loosen the spasming claw like fingers of the other. My regular morning prayers did not include asking God to stop the burning in my body and the bone-crushing pain in my feet. When I was healthy, it was easy to accomplish tasks like showering, getting dressed, and driving my children to school.
I now grieve not only the loss of my former life but also how my health issues have affected my husband and children. There are wholesome meals I did not make, school events I have not attended, and family outings I could not join. But on the rare occasions when medicine and miracle converge to help me function, I revel in the blessing and satisfaction of caring for my family. Feats that before illness were commonplace and—dare I say it?—burdensome are now wondrous accomplishments. Formerly mundane tasks such as going to the store and cooking are a cause for triumphant celebration. The view from here is glorious.
Since every activity causes significant pain and fatigue, something is worth doing only when it positively affects those around me. I do not have as much to give anymore, so I must make what I do give count. I have learned that the activities most worth suffering for are the ones that enrich and bless others. The particular people I have a burden to bless are those who are traveling up the same road but are broken down by its side and unable to go on. “Keep going,” I want to tell them, “because the view from here is glorious.”
The poor and the suffering, the weak and the lost—did these ever settle deeply into my thoughts before? I would have brief moments of concern, but my thoughts and actions were like a butterfly that alights on one flower after another and flits off as quickly as it came. They were of no real consequence. Now I have greater urgency and a burning desire to bless, along with a question in my heart: What can I do with my gifts despite the limitations I have been given? So now I pray, “God, show me how I can share the truth of Your vast sufficiency with those who need it the most. Fill me to overflowing with the power of Your Holy Spirit. Let people see Jesus instead of me.”
Yes, my daughter, God whispers to me. Now the view from here is truly glorious.
This summer, support the work of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, which provides resources like the Spiritual First Aid course for pastors, church leaders, and laypeople.
Andrea Herzer, author of Incurable Faith: 120 Devotions of Lasting Hope for Lingering Health Issues, is intimately acquainted with the hardships that accompany debilitating health issues, having spent the last 20 years with multiple illnesses, including complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Andrea lives near Austin, Texas with her husband, Mark. They have three grown children. For more information, visit her website.