Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Health Update

For those new to my blog you may not know that at the beginning of this year I was ill with a kidney infection which left me in quite a lot of pain and with very little energy . Catrina was a single parent for the best part of 2 months (she was amazing coping with it all) and a number of people had to step in to preach and lead in my absence. Quite a few people have been kind enough to ask me recently how I'm doing so I thought I'd post an update here. Well last Tuesday I went to see my consultant and he's given me the all clear. The infection has cleared up completely and there is no need for any surgery on my bladder which he thought might be required - praise God. I've got to go back to see him in a years time but that should be it. His only advice for me was not to work too hard and to get plenty of rest - I'm trying hard to do that!

So what did I learn from it all?
  • God sometimes lets us go through tough experiences to develop our character and to give us a deeper knowledge of him. Romans 5:3-4 says "we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us". I know that God has been working on my character, in particular reminding me that he is God and I'm not and allowing me to know him at a whole deeper level.
  • God uses suffering to give us a better understanding of what other people are going through. Having never been ill before (other than man flu!) I'd always found it hard to understand what it was like for people who were ill - particularly the frustration and disappointment when you think you are starting to get better then get ill again. I've always felt drawn to 2 Cor 1:3-4 where Paul writes "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." but I now understand that with a whole new depth. I hope that's come through in my interactions with at least some of you.
  • Illness isn't always the result of personal sin. Some people were quick to tell me that I was ill because there was some hidden sin in my life and that if I was truly walking with God then I wouldn't be ill. That was probably one of the most dispiriting and discouraging things I've ever been told, especially after I'd sought God to ask him if there was any sin I wasn't aware of and felt him say nothing. However, the more I read Job and what happened to him, read what Jesus had to say in John 9:2, pondered what Paul wrote to Timothy and read of the health struggles of people like Smith Wigglesworth, Billy Graham and our own Andrew White I realised that there is often a mystery about illness, and although I believe that God does heal today we live in that time between the first and second coming of Christ where we know some healing and some answer to prayer but are till longing for more of God's kingdom to come and God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
  • Rom 8:28 is a truth we can build our lives on - "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose". Not that all things are good, but in all things God works for our good, even if at the time we can't see what God is doing. As Zoe said on Sunday night God has given us the power to choose life, and part of choosing life is choosing to believe Rom 8:28 and put our confidence in God, not the circumstances of what is going on. I can now see some of the good God did through me being ill including Lee developing as a preacher, a number of people developing as leaders as a result of stepping in when I couldn't be there, the realisation of what a loving community God has put me in and a new appreciation of what a wonderful wife I've got.

So there it is. I'm still learning to try and get enough rest (just to keep this in reality Catrina will tell you that the last couple of weeks I've done too much and I've been tired this weekend) but that's just normal life rather than me being ill. Thanks so much to everyone who's been interested in how I've been doing and has been praying for me.



Anonymous said...

I'm so pleased you are feeling better Simon, it can be very hard when you don't understand why God is putting you through something.

There are a lot of people who sadly believe that if you are ill, you are committing a sin or that it is caused by the devil/demons - not true!!


Sandra said...

I echo your feelings of being blessed to be part of such a loving community Simon and also the power of prayer. The last few months have been difficult for me with family illness and ultimately bereavement but I've felt completely supported and uplifted in prayer from my Kerith family. What a privilege to be part of Gods church at this exciting time.

Anonymous said...

Hi Simon.
Thanks for the update, I'm sure the whole church is thankful that things have cleared up. We rejoice with you. I'm very grateful for the insight into what God has tought you through this - You speak the truth and I'm in total agreement with what you've said about Illness and the journeys God takes us on.


Anonymous said...

Hi Simon

It's good to hear you have been given the all clear. I totally agree with what sandra has said I am very blessed to be part of such a loving family. I don't honestly know where I would be now if it wasn't for bracknell family church and the leaders in it.

regards karmenie

Anonymous said...

I'm so pleased that you are feeling so much better although i did not know that you were so ill. God bless you & your family. You are such a great inspiration to me.


Jonathan H said...

Simon - There are some meetings (and I can think of one in particular) where people stand up one after the other and say all the amazing things that God has done for them. I think it is really good when people do acknowledge God's gifts of healing and change, but as I look round I see that there are also people who God has not changed or healed and who can feel they are out of the mainstream of God's blessing. For you to go through your illness and reflect on God during that time was inspiring. I am also thankful for doctors and medicine and when you think of Zimbabwe at the moment you realise how blessed by God we all are.