“Injured for His Glory”
This past year I have begun a friendship with a dear brother in Christ by the name of Brad Reiches. Recently, when he was in the area, we met and he gave me a copy of his book by the above title. It is really the story of his life, up to the present, and he shares lessons he has learned across the years. I identify with much that he shares, so I thought we all might profit from what he has written. Brad suffers from Parkinson’s disease.
In the preface, he wrote, “God is way bigger than I ever imagined. Injured for His Glory? It took me thirty-six years to even begin to understand it. Thirty-six years of bitterness. Thirty-six years of frustration. Thirty-six years of discipline, pruning, refining and yes, wounding.
If I’ve learned anything over this past fifty-years of walking with God, I have learned that the God of love is a God who wounds. In a world of sin and brokenness – physical, emotional, relational and spiritual brokenness – the God of Job, Jacob, Joseph, Paul and the blind man in John 9, remains the Great Physician.
Much like the harsh reality of sin, sometimes the presence of cancer requires surgery. And, just as the skillful and caring surgeon ‘wounds’ the patient he or she seeks to restore to health, God sometimes wounds His children in order to heal them.”
Brad then takes us to these passages of Scripture —
Hosea 6:1 – “Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us …”
John 5:18, “For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds but His hands make whole.”
As Brad has had to deal with his own illness and issues across the years, there are several conclusions he has come to.
Conclusion #1, God is Love.
The motivation for everything that God does is His love. His love is perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Conclusion #2, God is Sovereign.
He is perfect in all His ways. All of His motives are perfectly pure. He is not limited by my limitations.
Isaiah 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways”, says the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Brad wrote, “Therefore to have any chance of understanding what God is doing in my life, at any given time, I have to forsake my own understanding in favor of His revealed word.”
Conclusion #3, God is a Healer.
He is a Savior, Redeemer, Restorer and Deliverer. He came to heal the sick, and cleanse the lepers. He came to bind up the brokenhearted, deliver those who are crushed in spirit and set the captives free. God’s motives are always health, healing and wholeness, yet, in this life. God purposes to use our ‘perishing’ physical bodies, to prepare us for an ‘imperishable’ eternity with Him.
1 Corinthians 15:52-57
Conclusion #4, The surgeon’s scalpel is a tool for healing.
God must sometimes wound in order to heal. Sometimes the only way to get a cancer is through an incision. Once the cancer is removed, the scar serves as a reminder of a wound that was used to bring healing.
Brad: “I learn obedience through the things I suffer. Therefore, because of the grandeur of God’s love for me, He sovereignly appoints periodic seasons of suffering that result in greater levels of obedience, which in turn, enhance my relationship with Him. The closer I get to God, the more righteous my life becomes and the more useful I become for His kingdom.”
Conclusion #5, There are two kinds of suffering in the world.
“The first is the result of sin. So much of the heartache and sorrow, tragedy and despair that plagues our world is the fruit of sin.
The second kind of suffering, however, is from God; sometimes actually caused by God. As His word confirms, suffering ‘according to the will of God.’ (1 Peter 4:19) is the suffering from which we learn obedience (Hebrews 5:8) and the suffering that is considered an honor and a privilege. (Acts 5:41).
This is the “fellowship of His sufferings” that is ‘granted’ to those who are truly His disciples. (Philippians 1:29; 3:10)
Let me close with several examples of people who were ‘injured’ by God that resulted in an eternal weight of glory.
· Jacob – who later was renamed Israel. Genesis 34:24-30
· Job – 19:23-27
· Joseph – Genesis 45:1-8
· Paul – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
· The man born blind, John 9
I believe in each case the reason these situations developed was as Jesus put it was, “that the works of God should be revealed in him. John 9:3
Let me conclude (Leonard speaking) with this word —
Philippians 1:6 – “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Folks, — He is still working on, in and through us.
Praise the LORD!