In this life, we are not promised that trials will never come. Instead, we are promised that when they come, we will never be alone. We will always have our Heavenly Father in the middle of the storm. We have this hope to help see us through the darkest of nights.
Abby Banks experienced the ultimate storm when her son, Wyatt, unexpectedly became paralyzed due to an autoimmune disease that attacked his spinal cord. Ultimately, she came to realize that often, our pain serves a purpose in our lives. She wrote about her experience and what she learned in her book Love Him Anyway: Finding Hope in the Hardest Places. I have chosen exerts from Abby’s book that show the purpose of pain and hope.
“I wish I could put a pretty ribbon on suffering and tell you that it is easy to rejoice, but I can’t. It was hard the day Wyatt was diagnosed, and it was hard this morning when I strapped him into his wheelchair and watched him roll into school. Rejoicing can be hard, but it is healing. Rejoicing points us to the One who is bigger than our hurt. Rejoicing is not a superficial happiness that pretends the hard doesn’t hurt.”
“I don’t believe that rejoicing has to look the same for everyone. For me, rejoicing begins with thanksgiving. It begins with an acknowledgment of the blessings before me. Thanksgiving leads me to praise my Maker, and it moves my soul closer to my Father in heaven. It takes my mind off the things in life that I cannot control, and it reminds me of the One who is in control of it all.”
“As much as I hate to admit it, pain serves a function in our lives. It is not wasted if we address it. It can protect us from destroying ourselves, and it should spur us to correct what ails us. It should cause us to seek out the source of our pain in order to stop it. If our pain is physical, we go to the doctor looking for answers, but sometimes we find it more difficult to see the purpose of the emotional pain that destroys us from the inside out. It’s hard to cry out to God when we don’t know why we are in the darkness. It’s hard to accept that God has allowed pain in any form to find us. It can cause us to doubt His goodness and sovereignty.
“I don’t know your struggle. I don’t know if you are in the middle of a raging storm being tossed by ferocious waves or wading in calm, crystal waters, but I do know that Christ longs to be near you in either place. He is the same on the top of the mountain and in the valley. If you are a child of the Risen King and God hasn’t pulled you from the darkness, He has a purpose for it. You have not been forgotten, my friend. Call out to God and ask Him to show you His goodness and rejoice in the fact that our hope extends beyond the life we are living. Even if God doesn’t bring the healing we crave in this life, eternity beckons. This life is not the end.
“If you haven’t met Jesus yet, He is calling you in the middle of the darkness. He is calling you in the middle of the calm waters. He is calling you wherever you are to live a life that is filled with the hope that only He can provide. Open your ears. Open your heart. He is calling. He is calling you through a little boy in an orange chair.
“It’s hard to reconcile suffering with the goodness of God. It is a battle that I will never completely understand. There are still days when I get angry, confused, and bitter, but I choose to focus on what I know to be true. God loves me anyway. And He loves you. And that is where my hope will rest, not in medicine or healing, but in the unfailing love of a Savior. Who sees me. Who knows me. And who loves me in spite of it all. Anyway.”
To learn more about Abby and Wyatt and Love Him Anyway, visit HERE.