In recent months sad events and sad news have bombarded us. So many critical illnesses! So many deaths in families! So many deaths of members! So many were in intensive care that it seemed we could rent our own wing.

Last week the bombardment intensified. Wednesday Mary Burkett drove to Searcy for a doctor's appointment to determine the source of headaches. Immediately there was emergency surgery for an aneurysm. Thursday night Brad Pistole suffered a seizure. Tests revealed a sizable brain tumor located behind his eye. Tuesday morning, Bill Flippo had a CAT scan which revealed three brain tumors.

We are in shock, but we also rejoice. John Fowler worshipped with us Sunday. His recovery from an extremely serious heart attack is progressing well. Stan Spainhour is able to worship with us again. His battle with a brain tumor is an inspiration. Mary Burkett returned home Monday. In over 95% of occurrences, the type of tumor Brad Pistole has is benign.

We tend to think of God's purposes in terms of physical life. We tend to believe that physical needs are our most important needs. We tend to regard Christianity to be an "insurance policy" to protect us from the physically undesirable. We tend to think that God's priority for us personally is centered in physical well being.

God and Satan are locked in a "war of no surrender." When Jesus died, God defeated Satan. Though defeated, Satan is not yet imprisoned. He is enraged! He hates God! He hates those who belong to God! Satan is determined to cause God pain in the only way he can--by causing people pain and distress.

God uses the physical distress of His people to achieve His eternal purposes. God's promises to us and plans for us far exceed physical well-being. It is incredible that GOD would call us His children! We cannot see what He plans for us (1 John 3:1, 2).

Our real struggle is not against the physical. It is against powers, the world forces of this darkness, and the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).

Satan can hurt us physically, but he cannot destroy us spiritually. That is not within his power. As we grieve and suffer, never forget that physical sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the eternal glory God has for us (Romans 8:18).

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 11 April 1999

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