Will You Waste Your Rheumatoid Arthritis?

“Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.” – Anonymous.

Today I flitted through some old posts on the blog The Sullivan Four.  It a family’s “story of God’s faithfulness as [they] traveled the road of cancer and the loss of a child,” Hannah, who was a former classmate of mine.  Hannah’s grace and the grace of her family was and continues to be an inspiration to thousands.  I wanted to share something Jill Sullivan, Hannah’s mom, had found and posted to the blog.  While it is written about cancer, Jill had stated “I actually think there are a lot of words that could be substituted for the word ‘cancer’…These ten points could apply to many storms we face in life.”

I’m sure you understand what I want you to replace “cancer” with.  8 out of 10 of these points directly apply to our lives.

“John Piper writes about life after his diagnosis of prostate cancer. The list below and the full article (found at desiringGod.org) suggest purpose for any Christian in the midst of cancer. It is a time not for defeat and despair but rather it is a powerful experience to reflect on our purposes in life. This means that Christians are to seek to glorify God even when circumstances are most difficult.

1. You will waste your cancer if you do not believe it is designed for you by God.

2. You will waste your cancer if you believe it is a curse and not a gift.

3. You will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God.

4. You will waste your cancer if you refuse to think about death.

5. You will waste your cancer if you think that “beating” cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.

6. You will waste your cancer if you spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God.

7. You will waste your cancer if you let it drive you into solitude instead of deepening your relationships with manifest affection.

8. You will waste your cancer if you grieve as those who have no hope.

9. You will waste your cancer if you treat sin as casually as before.

10. You will waste your cancer if you fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ.”

I don’t like having RA, and I never will.  However, I strongly believe this disease has changed me for the better.  I’m not sure of who I would be if I had never been diagnosed with RA, but I’m certain I would not have as close of a relationship with God nor would I understand the importance of being kind to others (whether their storm is invisible, like mine, or not).

We can let this disease get us down, we can let it defeat us, we can wallow in the “what ifs” and “what life used to be’s”  or we can realize that we’ve been given an opportunity to better ourselves and others through our storm, as Hannah Sullivan did.

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