Verse of the Day


"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."

~Romans 8:28


Today's Devotional Thought

December 11, 2017 by Rachel Piferi



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Different

How much energy do you spend wishing, or maybe even praying, that things in your life would be different?

Illness. Relationships. Job situations.

There are all sorts of things in our lives that are not perfect. Things that cause us real pain and real heartache. Things that we wish were...

Different.

Recently, my oldest daughter had surgery at our local children's hospital. It was a minor, routine surgery to remove two rods from her arm that were placed there to help her heal from a bad break last spring. This particular children's hospital is like a second home for us. It is where my other daughter gets her routine kidney check-ups and various other testings. It's a place that has become very dear to me and each time we go, I am overcome with many emotions.

Last week, when we were checking in for surgery, I became so aware of the other patients and their families who were also checking in for surgery.

Children of all ages.

Toddlers. Children. Teenagers.

Suffering from all sorts of ailments.

Some visible. Some not visible.

Each one with their own unique story. Their own struggles and triumphs. Their own families.

I saw a sweet little girl who was probably only about 18 months old. She had the tiniest little operating room gown on. And, as she teetered across the waiting room floor to get a toy, I saw her sweet little feet in these little pink hospital socks. I didn't even know they made hospital socks that small. And for a moment, I was so sad to think they even had to. It nearly took my breath away.

I saw a 12 year old boy in the recovery area. He was waking up from anesthesia. Same gown. Same socks. Just a tad bit bigger. And blue. Eating a slushy as he watched a Disney movie with his heartrate monitor beeping in the background.

I also saw a sweet 3 year old little girl. Laying in a big hospital bed with her mother laying right beside her. Both of them drifting off to sleep. Both in those same hospital socks. One pair quite a bit bigger than the other. Arms around each other. IVs and cords entangled as they slept.

Only at a children's hospital.

While I was there, I was so overcome with the reality of childhood illness. I know the road well and it is not new to our family. But sometimes, and on some days, it catches my heart off-guard and I see it all with fresh, tear-filled eyes. And my heart broke all over again for anyone on this childhood chronic illness road.

I have several friends who also know this road well. It is a road that is sometimes so hard to describe to someone not walking it. And it is a road I saw so beautifully & painfully depicted in the lives before me last Tuesday.

It is hard to see sick children and not be tempted to ask God why. It's hard to see an 18 month old in her tiny hospital gown and small pink hospital socks and not get a tad bit confused at how God allows this to be so. Hard not to shake your fist at the sky and ask Him to do something. Demand even, that He intervene and make it...well...

Different.

I did it for awhile, actually, early on in our chronic illness journey. I didn't want my daughter to have to go through the pain of a chronic illness, let alone two chronic illnesses. I didn't want her to be different from her peers. Or have to walk a road that was hard that no one else could understand.

I just didn't want it to be the way it was.

And honestly, I got stuck for a while. Stuck wanting it to be different than it was. Wanting it all to be good and normal.

Wanting it to be the way I wanted it to be.

Ever been there?

Not just with illness, but anything in life? Ever gotten stuck because something wasn't the way that you wanted it to be. And instead of just walking fully and effectively down the road that was before you, you sat and dwelled on the fact that things weren't like you wanted.

I have.

But Jesus was so faithful to us. And, he kept showing me in big and small ways how much He had for me on the road that He has chosen for us. You see, I have grown to understand that He's choosing not to change my circumstances because what He is most interested in is changing me. Growing me. To thrive in my hard circumstances and not just pass through life in the way I want things to be.

Growing me.

Equipping me.

Perfecting me.

I am convinced that much of our sadness in life comes from our refusal to live in what actually is because we are wishing it was different. And we get stuck, asking God to change things when He really is trying to change us to thrive in the way that things are. Because, He needs us different if we are going to walk fully in what He has for us.

Please don't get me wrong, I pray for my daughter's health all the time and I do ask the Lord to heal her. But I also ask Him to give me the strength to walk in the path He has for us if His path for our lives does not include healing.

And you know what He's doing? He's making us different.

Different and able to understand a road in life that not many people can. Different and equipped with His strength to walk into the unknown. Different and trusting in Him to guide us on this indescribable road. And while my daughter may feel a little different from her peers right now, I trust that someday the Lord will use her difference to make a difference in someone else's life.

He's making her different so she can make a difference.

And He's making me different too. My prayers are less that He'd change our circumstances and more that He'd change us so that we can walk fully in what He is making us into.

And the same can be true in any situation or trial we endure. Oh how amazing are the plans that God has for us. Plans full of purpose and victory and overcoming. Plans that are going to require us to be different than we are right now if we are going to walk fully in them.

And God knows what we each need to grow into to walk the road, the purpose, He has for each one of us. But, it starts with us surrendering our ideas of how things should be and fully walking in how they actually are.

I want to be different if God needs me different to fulfill His plan for my life.

I heard a song recently that speaks this message far better than I ever could in writing. I have it below for you today. If you are walking through a storm that you have been begging God to change and He is choosing not to change it, may I encourage you today with this message. And may I speak sweet truth into your heart with these words: If He's chosen to allow it, then God has a purpose for it. And that purpose starts with changing you to walk boldly & fruitfully in it.

It may just be time to stop wishing things were different and instead, asking God to make you different so that you can walk fully in what He has for you.

Lord, if you are not going to change this situation, then change me....

I want to be different. I want to be changed. 'Til all of me is gone and all that remains is a fire so bright the whole world can see that there's something different in me...






Memorize this verse today:

"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."
~Romans 8:28



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