The Baptism of Suffering & the Revelation of Glory
The Baptism of Suffering & the Revelation of Glory (Edition 1, 10 Jul 2021; Updated 29 Oct 2022, republished from https://www.mccnresources.org/blog-short-articles)
This is a very late post but one that I would like to share in the hope that it encourages and gives faith, hope and courage to those who are going through pain and inflammation in the body and health issues.
Since being here in Australia from Apr 2019, we have undergone so much as a family in a foreign land; living in great uncertainty and unsettledness. We had to cross multiple hurdles regarding our visas after the pandemic lockdown happened in 2020.
Nevertheless, ministry actually accelerated due to the COVID pandemic, and we were more fruitful in activating disciples to make disciples without being affected by lockdowns and restrictions. By the end of 2020, some who were previously pew-warmers in church were activated and had baptized 10 new followers of Christ in 3 months! God was moving in the midst of the seemingly worst year of most people’s lives with the COVID-19 pandemic. It seemed that God had prepared our ministry which focusses on decentralizing disciples to be missional in bringing God’s kingdom wherever He places them, to thrive in this moment of crisis.
However, there was an attack on my health at the same time. For almost 3 years since arriving in Australia, I was battling and suffering chronic pain and inflammation in my joints.
Firstly, what started out as a shoulder injury during exercise in Oct 2018 became severe bursitis, tendinitis (inflammation of the joint), and frozen shoulder for the next one year or more. When I did an ultrasound scan, the radiologist said, “in my 16 years, this is the worst I have seen. It would take between 12 to 36 months to recover”. That was certainly not very encouraging news to receive.
After 9 months of therapy, treatment, and prayer, I recovered from frozen shoulder. The recovery was shorter than expected! However, shortly after, I came down with tennis elbows and goosefoot bursitis of the knee after some light activity and exercise. I felt attacked in my health, particularly my joints.
While seeking God for healing, I felt the Holy Spirit quickened this scripture from Psalm 103 to me and that I should declare it every morning when I wake:
1Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
In my attempt to be pain-free and as part of seeking God for His healing, I also visited a chiropractor which did not help my condition much. I then tried a naturopath who put me through various tests and was given a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s, an auto-immune disease after more blood tests were done. I was prescribed as many as 15 different supplements and placed on a strict gluten-free diet of no grain, no plant oils, with only wild-caught, hormone-free meat, and expensive organic vegetables only. Then following another nutritionist’s advice for food allergy tests to be done, the results led to further dietary restrictions including being diary-free, egg-free, no beef, no flaxseed, no buckwheat, no to lots of vegetables and fruits, which were full of anti-oxidants or considered “superfoods” I thought were good for me, but turned out to trigger an auto-immune response in me.
Having no answers, I was also ordered numerous tests by a GP and had a total of 10 big tubes of blood drawn for many blood tests to be conducted. The test results showed that I was low in quite a number of essential nutrients including being extremely low in iron, hemoglobin etc., and also had gut issues. I was given the diagnosis of an auto-immune disorder which caused chronic pain in my joints.
Although the diet and supplements helped in reducing some inflammation in my body, I would suffer inflammation of my elbow joints for the next year, as well as knee inflammation daily, not knowing what caused the inflammation after each meal. It was not until a few days before anniversary of my water baptism in June 2021 that I received a breakthrough in my health.
During a simple family time of prayer together on 15 June 2021, God started working His healing miracle in me. I felt the inflammation on my joints easing.
In preparation for a short road trip ahead, I also decided to save myself some hassle and in faith, cut all the nutritional supplements I was on, trusting the Lord had begun his healing process, even though my nutritionist had given me more to take. Hence, I know it was not due to the increment of supplementation or the new supplements that helped the healing.
While on the road trip, I was remembering and reflecting on God's goodness on my baptism anniversary on 17th June as I entered into my 27th year with Jesus. As I gave thanks to God, while we were driving, the pains left me completely. It was a powerful moment of healing and restoration in my body.
Interestingly 17 June 2021 marked the beginning of the 27th year since I took the step of obedience and faith to be baptized in water to follow Jesus. 26 years ago, I did not fully comprehend what I was entering into when I was baptized in water. But after almost 3 decades, I am experiencing an even greater fullness of what that entails.
On this special anniversary, my dear heavenly Father granted me the wonderful present of healing and restoration. Now, more than a year later, I have been eating everything without any dietary restrictions or supplements, and I have been pain-free since! I believe that my auto-immune response and the cause of inflammation was also dealt with at its roots, whether be it my gut or whatever other root cause. And I continue to believe that the blood of Jesus has sealed my healing and wholeness.
The greatest gift to all of mankind that God has ever given is His very own Son Jesus, who came to die for our sins, and took our judgment upon Himself. In His death, we have eternal life. In His blood, we have forgiveness of sins. In His brokenness, we are made whole. By His stripes, we are healed.
Providentially, our visa application for the whole family was also put in by my agent on that baptism anniversary date!
Thanks for continuing to pray with us for our visas to be approved so that we can continue to see His kingdom come and His will be done in Australia and in the world!
We also ask for prayers for our beloved dogs who have been with us for over a decade. 🐶🐶 Snowie and Trixie have been so much a part of the family and the ministry for the past decade! Through them we have made many friends and have so many open doors for God’s kingdom to connect with people for Christ!
This past year, we have been walking through the Valley of Baca (weeping) regarding the fur kids particularly Snowie, who was mishandled during relocation and arrived in Perth needing surgery to her hind knees and has now become a special needs dog dependent on us to provide care. God gave us the grace to turn it into springs of refreshing, fresh opportunities, and many open doors and hearts for His kingdom, as we press on from glory to glory and strength to strength to Zion! (Psa 84)
Updates: Snowie has passed on 6 Dec 2022. After her death, we held memorial gatherings in our home where we have had been able to share with many others including our neighbours, family and many other dog owners whom we meet at the dog park about God our Creator, through our life with Snowie together and how God used her in His work for her here on the earth. (Read more on blog " All of Creation Eagerly Awaits")
What glory and what hope, as we persevere in sufferings! As we are baptised into the fellowship of sufferings, we are also baptised into glory with Christ.
May these verses grant hope, encouragement, and peace to you as they did for me.
"For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance."
Romans 8:15-25 NKJV
In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.
Pressing on to Zion,