Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Delhi Belly" & the Grace of God in Christ

The Sunday before I left for India I preached as usual, and then some of the people from the church gathered around and prayed for me. My good friend Greg Chaffin spoke a word over me that I knew was from the Lord, the main part of which was 2 Cor 12:9. Paul writes, “But he [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Then when the service was over a woman approached me to say that the Lord had shown her I was going to get sick while I was here, and that I should know that this was part of his plan. She said that the way I reacted was going to be very important. I really took this to heart because my stomach didn’t do so well last time I was here and I just knew that same kind of thing was going to happen again.

And sure enough it did. I don’t mean to be disgusting, but I literally used the bathroom more than 50 times before lunch yesterday. On the one hand, this became rather painful and, on the other, it led me near to the edge of more serious issues. So I spoke with my friend Seiji about this and we decided to go into the local pharmacist and get some medication, after which I spent some time resting.

Later, as I came downstairs for dinner, one of the children asked, “Pastor Charlie, are you feeling better, yeah?” “No,” I replied, “but I’m happy because God is with me.” I really meant that. My ailment was not fun, believe me, but I was feeling such joy because it was a small entrance into the suffering of Christ for the sake of these people who I have come to love. And so, with faith and hope in God we bowed in prayer together and asked for his help.

Praise be to his Name, I was able to sleep through the night without any problems and my issue has almost completely gone away. Seiji has insisted that I eat different food and I have listened to him and I think this is helping as well. God has used the combination of a pharmacist, the prayers of his chosen children, and the kindness and wisdom of a new friend in Christ to bring healing into my body.

I was supposed to begin a series of devotionals today from the book of Ephesians. For those of you from Glory of Christ Fellowship, this will come as no surprise to you! But instead of beginning that journey I took the children and staff to 2 Cor 12:9 and told them the story of how God had spoken to me about my weakness and illness before I even left for India, and what a grace this was from God. They were, as I was, touched by the hand of God moving in such a seemingly fleshly situation.

And the main point I tried to make to them was that whether in weakness or strength, sickness or health, God is the God of all the earth and he is worthy to be praised. Although our bodies are wasting away and enduring all kinds of ailments and worse, our inner nature is being renewed day by day as God the Father so powerfully works his might in us through Christ. The question is, do we have eyes to see?

I am so thankful for the grace of God that’s been manifested in this “Delhi belly” of mine!

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