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  • Tracy Hagler

Chronic illness doesn’t define us. God does.

God uses our experiences and sometimes places us where we are to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks.

If you have a chronic illness, it may not look possible for you to do anything for the Kingdom of God. You might be at a place in your life where doing anything for God or His church seems completely unattainable.

If you are in a relapse, unable to do anything but pray, you have a ministry. Prayers can move mountains and accomplish great things for the Kingdom of God.

Everything that happens in our life has purpose.

Even chronic illness can't hold us back from God's purpose. God's purpose will always prevail.

There are so many men and women in the Word of God who had no ideal that everything in their life was preparing them for a purpose, a Kingdom purpose.

Our experiences prepare us to gain compassion and love for others.

Through our experiences we can relate to others and give a word of encouragement.

It might make someone else's journey a little easier.

Often times, we don't realize that our whole life could be preparing us for a moment in time. A time that will have eternal, everlasting effects.

In the book of Nehemiah it tells a story of a man who was the Persian King's Cup Bearer. He was a common man but was trusted by the King. God had placed a genuine heartfelt compassion in Nehemiah's heart. When Nehemiah heard that Jerusalem's wall was still in ruins, his heart was broken. When God told him that he would have a part in helping rebuild the Jerusalem city walls, Nehemiah left the comfort of his job, money and title. God had prepared him and placed him in a position to have favor, to be able to do a Kingdom job. Nehemiah didn't know what his purpose was until God said "Go".

I realize many of you may be thinking, "I'm not even in a position to help myself, how could I ever make an impact for the Kingdom of God?" "My circumstances are nothing like Nehemiahs.”

But if you've walked through suffering, I bet your heart breaks for others who are experiencing suffering. Just like Nehemiah's heart broke for Jerusalem.

Walking through suffering can humble us and cause us to have more compassion for our fellow brothers and sisters who are also walking through suffering. It can give us key insight on how and what to pray for them.

If you find yourself at home sick, confined to bed, please don’t feel like you are useless. Your prayers could mean everything.

We are making a difference in the Kingdom, right where we are. Our prayers are building up the Body of Christ.

Our relationship with the Father and our prayers may not get seen by people.

But when we’ve been spending

time in our secret place, in the presence of our Heavenly Father, His love and attributes will naturally flow out of us.

So even if we don’t see a soul, being in such close relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, will cause us to be able to pray for others with the mind of Christ.

Those prayers could be helping someone else endure their next step through suffering.

We don't have to be physically "doing" to be a part of the Body of Christ.

Our Father in heaven sees what we do in private, in our secret place.

That's real. That's the stuff that matters. That's the authenticity that has an everlasting impact on a lost world.

Flowing out of our secret place will be a love, a compassion and a desire to comfort others.

Comforting others in their suffering shows the love of Christ.

Praying and interceding on the behalf of others is a ministry! A huge ministry!

In Ephesians 4:15-16 (ESV) it says.........

15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

This verse says that every joint supplies.

Every person in the body of Christ is equipped with whatever God has gifted each individual with.

Working together makes the body grow and therefore, builds itself up in love.

In 1 Corinthians 12:15-26 (ESV) it says........

15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.

16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.

17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?

18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.

19 If all were a single member, where would the body be?

20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,

24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,

25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

This verse tells me that no matter if you are a pastor, a greeter, a children's church worker, a missionary or someone who is sick and bed bound, there is no difference.

A greeter is just as important as a pastor. A person who is at home in bed due to debilitating chronic illness symptoms is just as important as a missionary.

We are all a part of the body of Christ and every one of us have a purpose.

Just because one person's gift and circumstance may look different than yours, it doesn't mean that your part is any less important or that their part is any less important.

God says all parts are important and must work together to function properly.

We are many parts, yet one body.

We may not be able to physically serve at church. But instead of being the hands and feet, we might just be the heart. How important is the heart in keeping the body alive? It's imperative for survival! Although, we can't physically see the heart, it has a vital role in keeping the body functioning.

We have a vital role in the Body of Christ.

Despite chronic illness.

While we are home bound or in a relapse, God may be calling us to intercede on behalf of the body of Christ. He may be calling us deeper into our prayer closet so we can fight for others in the spiritual realm.

You are not any less important. The body can't work properly without you.

Just because your service isn't seen by people, doesn't mean that you're not doing your part in the Body of Christ.

You may just be called to serve behind the scenes for a season.

So no matter where you find yourself serving, ushering, greeting, worship leader, pastor, yard mower, toilet cleaner, or at home bed bound due to sickness, you have an equal importance in the Body of Christ.

God has called us to work together in unity and love, with mutual respect for one another.

So we can make Christ known in all the earth.

Chronic illness doesn’t define who we are. God does.

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