The other day I met someone who was diagnosed with a serious illness several years ago. I remember that time; and I remember how relieved he was when he learned the good news that he was now well. When I met him, he told me that his illness had come back and he’s getting ready for treatment. Despite his positive attitude, I could tell that he was down. It’s not a stop; it’s a stay.
Perhaps we have been there before. We thought it’s just a stop—a brief halt—but it turned out to be more serious than we thought. We ended up staying for a long time. Or we thought that we just needed to stay and eventually would get out of the situation. But we thought wrong; we ended up not only staying but also remaining in that situation, even to this day. It’s not a stay; it’s a remain.
A stop, a stay and a remain share one thing in common: We ought to suffer through it. At age 17 Joni Eareckson Tada’s life came to a screeching stop when she suffered a spinal cord injury, resulting in a long hospital stay. When she was discharged, her life underwent a complete change. She became a quadriplegic and has remained so for more than 50 years. God has used her to bless so many people.
I’d like to share with you something that she said, “Sometimes God allows what He hates to accomplish what He loves.” God does not like suffering—in fact, He hates it. Do not ever think that God enjoys seeing us suffer; not at all. However, to accomplish what He loves, sometimes He must allow what He hates to happen to us. He loves those who are disabled, so He allowed Joni to experience that tragic accident. So, through Joni, a disabled, many disabled—and abled—folks would be blessed. Just like through Jesus, God’s Only Son, we would be saved. You see, God hates the cross, but He loves us.