A Painful Reality
When our family moved to the Middle East, we went through some desperate times. I spent most of the first six months on our couch, depressed. I moved to the Middle East to change the world, but I couldn't even change my jeans without help.
Through my neurological disorder, I lost almost all my arm strength and suffered constant burning pain in both of my arms. I was disabled.
I've seen that weakness is the way so that God gets all the glory.
No medication could help ease the pain or lift the darkness of depression that engulfed me. At least a hundred times a day, I said to myself, "I wish I was dead, I wish I was dead." I just wanted to die. My depression had so vandalized my joy and sense of God's goodness that everything in the world looked dark. This was the start of my work planting Redeemer Church of Dubai.
God Still At Work
That was almost ten years ago. Fast forward to today and I wish my story had a fairy-tale ending, but it doesn't.
I'm still disabled. I can't drive. I can't shake hands, pick up my children, or open most doors. I can't put on my seatbelt, carry a heavy book, or lift more than a pound or two. I'm in physical pain 100% of the time.
Throughout the journey, I've struggled greatly with depression. There are still days when life seems hopeless. And yet, the ministry has grown. People have come to faith. Churches have been planted.
But, here's what my pain has shown me. I've seen that weakness is the way so that God gets all the glory. God has used my weakness to humble me—and exalt himself—and to teach me and all those around me that God is the one who gets the glory. He did the work.
God loves using weak people to make it absolutely clear that it is he who is building his church. This is the story of the Bible. This is the story of our lives.
Suffering is not outside of God's control and he has a purpose for it.
While Christians are never promised immunity from suffering, they are promised a purpose in the midst of it.
Where is the hope in Psalm 88?