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In April of 2019, I began suffering from an unknown illness. Later diagnosed as IBS-C, a tortured colon, and suspected endometriosis, these ailments were triggered by stress and an inherited genetic makeup of generalized anxiety. What puzzled me, however, was why now?

For most of my childhood and young adulthood, I’ve known what it means to be an anxious person. I don’t remember high school memories, making friends, or competing in a dance competition without some perilous fear. 

Over the past two years, however, my physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and intellectual health have plummeted. Crying in agony on the floor in my bathroom, I’ve tasted pain. Holding tightly to my boyfriend’s hand, I’ve remarked that I’m sorry I can’t be normal. With bitter tears in my eyes, I’ve hated the girl I now am, wishing to go back to who I once was. And in essence, I’ve lost a part of that woman.  

Now two years later, I’m starting to grasp how to handle these things that have happened. Through counseling, the removal of medication, the addition of vitamin supplements, and trial and error, my health is starting to return to what it once was. I am tasing hints of redemption. I cannot always see the days without pain, but I know they are there. 

Because as much as it has sucked, I think I’ve finally come to realize the answer to why now and why me is not why but when.

In the Scriptures, it is clear that Jesus Christ and His Disciples suffered greatly. While some had a thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12), others were fallen to personal deceptions of the truth. We have all been called to suffer in a sense, and while it isn’t always physical, I know that the Lord has and will continue to use what has happened to glorify His Kingdom. 

I do not believe that God wishes for me or anyone else in this world to face sickness and pain. Still, I think that what the enemy (rather that be Satan or the consequences of our choices) intended for evil, God can redeem for His glory (Genesis 50:19-21; Romans 12:19-21).

During this illness, I’ve often faced just as much physical pain as mental and emotional. Tears have become my best friend, and I am convinced that I have married my heating pad. Nevertheless, Christ within me has called me to “cast my bread upon the waters.” 

Though it hasn’t been easy, a Professor once told me years ago that the best way to let God work in your life and to see the fruitful results is to do precisely that. And so, I do not find it coincidental that amid my suffering, I’ve not only written a book I’m in the process of publishing but been given numerous opportunities that I’ve prayed for years to happen. 

Amid pain that runs more profound than the bone, I’ve asked God to restore all that’s been broken and make something of me. Even at times when I lost hope and didn’t see how He’d use me, He rewarded those prayers, hopes, dreams, and ambitions that I cast at His feet. Today, when I doubt, He still provides. 

As I continue to recover, I want to ask for two things: 1) That you pray for those who are suffering and 2) That as they have the hope to cast their bread upon the waters, the Lord will continue to be faithful in providing for them however He sees fit. Help encourage them to continue to launch even when all seems lost. 

I am not 100% healed at this point in my life, but I am 100% loved by a man who died to redeem me from everything I might face on this temporary earth until He comes. 

In a sense, I know what it’s like to be satisfied and still longing for more (Philippians 4). But because I am human, I still feel the frailty of human pain and emotions every day. Confidence in Christ tells me that my redemption is coming, but I am no longer the girl I once was, and that’s okay. And why? 

Because now that I’ve tasted pain, I’m stronger than before. I may feel weak, but the Lord is my strength (Psalm 28:7-8). I may have diagnoses, but I am not my diagnosis.

The Lord will heal, and by His power, we will accomplish whatever He has set for our lives despite the circumstances and tribulations we may face along the way. 

I believe this for me, and I believe it for you.

Cast Your Bread Upon The Waters, friends. It’s time you do. Because even if it seems unlikely, that’s when our God is in the business of doing the miraculous. 

Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth. If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth, and if a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie. He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good. Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun. So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity. Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity” (Ecclesiastes 11: 1-10, ESV). 

Pray with me:

While I am in the trenches of this battle, Lord, remind me to believe and cast my bread upon the waters. It may look unlikely and like all sides surround me, but we will find it after many days. I will not merely observe and pray for the things I want to happen, but I will believe that you can and will provide as you see fit. Help my unbelief. 

Release peace to my finite mind that does not understand your ways and remind me that you will fulfill your purpose for me no matter what happens. In the morning, Lord, even when doubt comes, I will sow my seed. I will fight the good fight, realizing that though my days here on earth are limited, you call me to a higher eternity. Heal my body and mind physically, socially, mentally, emotionally, and socially. You are so good, Lord. Thank you. Amen.

Agape, Amber