Submitted by Andy McIlvain.
I like to fix things. Most people do. It is a facet of our humanity that we create and repair. Life is short. And in our short sinful imperfect lives we are called by God to be co-regents, to participate in the restoration of the Kingdom of God in the here and now. So how do you and I repair/restore the world together; how do we repair ourselves, the people in the complex and paradoxical world in which we live?
It is only through God the Father, Christ Jesus, and the mentorship of the Holy Spirit that we can do this. I am 63 now and my health is not the best. I am a cancer survivor. Proverbs 27:1 states I am not guaranteed tomorrow. I live in the “now”, and I must make my time in this now count for Christ.
We help heal the world one heart at a time. This task is called “tikkun olam” in Hebrew, “restoring the world.” Life is filled with mystery, courage, heroism, and love — things we witness but cannot measure or understand; things that are part of the restorative process in which we participate. Tikkun Olam is a collective task that involves all people who have ever been born, presently alive and yet to be born. We are all healers (or destroyers) of the world in the brief time we are given.
My own wounds, my own sufferings, have enabled me to feel compassion for the sufferings of others. Without my suffering, I wouldn’t understand the suffering of others or be able to connect to them or participate in the restoration of the people and world around me.
Vaneetha Rendall Risner is a writer, speaker, and mother who tries to help people find joy and purpose in their suffering. Her life with polio, among other adversities, shows how God’s love transcends all circumstances and helps us in restoring the world around us. (See video below.)
There are times in our lives when what appears as a great adversity, will, over time, build a strong foundation from which we can live a good life and help those around us flourish. You can ultimately live a good life even though it isn’t an easy life. Disability and disease can become our norm by which we help bless the world around us. Most if not all people come to understand and experience this wisdom.
Adversity, illness and suffering are some of the ways God strives with our rebellion and influences us toward being more Christ-like. People that are disabled, sick, or healthy – whatever their circumstance or condition – are valuable to God and participate in this renewal, even if it is unknown (except by God) to the world around them. Just as we are restored by Christ, we assist in restoring the world around us.
Watch the video below, “Worth Every Second: Vaneetha’s Joy in Suffering”