During this season of Lent, we’re journeying together through the Book of Job. It’s a story of suffering, faith, questions, and one man who cries out to God in the midst of heartbreaking affliction.
Over the next few weeks I’ll share stories of “suffering well” with you, from Sojourners at each of our campuses and from brothers and sisters that have come to know Christ through Sojourn International, our missions ministry. This week, I’ll share a couple testimonies with you. Today we hear from Brian Ott a member at our Midtown Campus:
I’m not a perfect sufferer and I certainly don’t consider my suffering as comparable to some of the horrors that others face every day. But the suffering that I have experienced has lead me time and time again to seek God and know His face. And I can only be thankful for it.
When I was 13 I was diagnosed with Crohns disease. Crohns is a chronic immune disorder that effects your digestive system. My case falls some where between moderate and severe. At its worst, my Crohns leaves me on the couch in severe pain for months. This leads to dangerous weight loss, anemia, hospitalization and in a couple of instances it has cost me my job. Medical bills pile up while my income screeches to a halt and I remain helplessly in pain.
I’ve thought many times about what my life would be like if I didn’t have Crohns. I could have moved up higher in my job, made more money, achieved countless more goals and simply felt like an accomplished, grown man. But what would I be giving up? More than a disease. During a flair up a few years back I began praying the Lords Prayer every day because I had grown tired of praying for healing and not getting it. I prayed it over and over until I could finally mean the words found in that prayer:
- To call God “father”
- to truly rely on Him for my “daily Bread”
- to know that I need His forgiveness more than physical healing
- to want His will to be done in my life just as it is in Heaven.
But I’m forgetful. We all are! And God knows this. I mean, He calls us to think of His death and resurrection every time we eat bread or drink wine. That’s a lot of reminding! And you’d think that it’d be hard to forget how the God of the Universe died for our sins, but we do. I do. Constantly.
And my God knows this. And He cares enough to remind me. Even when it means taking away my health so that I stop relying on earthly gods. Our pain is not punishment, and it’s not always due to our screwed up prioritizing, but it’s always a chance for us to glorify God in a new way. I may never see the end of my Crohns suffering before Christ returns, and sometimes that really bums me out. But this I know with all my heart; God has saved me from my sin, and the day WILL come that my sinful body will be laid to rest and because of His mercy, my pain will end. And because of His grace I will be with Him.