Serving Christ in Personal Suffering

woman comforting a friend who is suffering

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of all adults struggle with at least one chronic health condition. Most who battle an ongoing health problem find it hard to keep up with everyday tasks. Daily life comes to a screeching halt when health problems arise, and adapting to a “new normal” tends to take time.

But what if you are a Christian who is struggling yet your heart longs to serve the Lord? What if you have a painful condition like arthritis or fibromyalgia yet you also have gifts and passions God has given you to use?

Accept Your New Life

Learning to accept that life has changed can be hard. Remember that God is with you for the long haul and He will help you no matter how long it takes. Realize that suffering can teach precious things about God that are useful in missions and ministry.

Look for the “Can Do”

If you normally serve hands-on, is there something else you can do to support missions? Sending cards, providing organization, making phone calls, and praying are vital to ministry. Is there a gospel outreach you could provide food for? If you love the Operation Christmas Child shoebox ministry, then you could work on decorating shoeboxes or making small handmade projects year-round when you have better days.

Serve When You Can

Serving could be possible with a game plan to fall back on. Could you lead a Bible study if you had a reliable substitute ready to fill in? Is there a shorter time frame you could serve with a missions project you love? Perhaps coleading a missions group is a better option than leading alone.

Seize Gospel Opportunities

It is possible God will use you right in the middle of your suffering. Engage with medical staff, looking for ways to demonstrate Christ’s love. Consider witnessing opportunities in doctors’ waiting rooms. Offering to pray for someone who is discouraged could open the door to spiritual discussions. If you attend a health-related support group, then use these connections to share your faith. Many are struggling without eternal hope in Christ. Be prepared with your story of salvation when open doors arise.

Connect with God and Others

If downtime is something you are forced into, use the time for more Bible study and prayer. Make prayer a ministry by also taking time to check on people. We need “connectors” in the body of Christ who are able to help us stay aware of needs.

Mentor in the Middle of Suffering

If your calendar is more open now, God may lead you to someone who needs discipling. Meeting for coffee and sharing a chapter of God’s Word each week could enhance someone else’s walk with Christ. What God is showing you about suffering is a priceless spiritual lesson someone probably needs. Reach out to someone who has just been diagnosed, and encourage her with how God has walked with you on this journey.

Sheila Gosney lives in Monroe City, Missouri. She has battled an autoimmune disease for more than 20 years but feels God has blessed her because of the struggle. Sheila says God’s grace truly is sufficient.


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