“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1
At times when we are ill, all we can see are our current circumstances and what is going on in our own lives and bodies. It can be very discouraging and disheartening.
But there are others who have gone through devastating circumstances and have come out with amazing strength of character and spirit. Some of those have finished their journey and have already gone on to Heaven. Some of those are still here, fighting the spiritual and physical battle on earth.
These people are our great cloud of witnesses. Witnesses that God will help us through, and that we can actually thrive in our circumstances and trials.
Look to examples of the faithful, Corrie ten Boom, who suffered years in a concentration camp, Joni Eareckson Tada, who for almost 50 years has been a quadriplegic in a wheelchair bringing the gospel all over the world, the apostle Paul who suffered constant persecution for his faith, Susanna Spurgeon who spent a great deal of her life bedridden with illness but was still fruitful for God (see The Need To Be Useful Part 1), to name a few.
A very good witness of persevering even in illness is a man named David Brainerd, who in the 1700s was a missionary to Native American Indians. At the age of 22 he was sent home from attending Yale because he was coughing up blood. It was believed he had contracted tuberculosis. However, he did not let his disease prevent him from ministering to Native Americans, and he worked with worsening symptoms until he could no longer work on the mission field. He died at the young age of 29 from that illness, but saw many souls come to know God.
If the enemy is convincing you to give up, that you can no longer be of use because of your illness or chronic pain, look to the great cloud of witnesses who have thrived spiritually and run with patience the race that is set before you.