I’ve spent over half of my life battling Crohns disease. Four surgeries and countless emotional, spiritual and physical struggles later, I came to a revelation.
When I was first diagnosed over 20 years ago, my brother Paul, who had already had Crohns for a few years before it showed up in me, told me to offer up my suffering to Jesus. He said, “You’re going to suffer anyway. Don’t let it go to waste.”
So, from the beginning, I have offered my suffering (and it has been a lot) to God in the hopes that he could use it somehow, in ways I could not comprehend.
Then, at church the other day, I realized my Crohns wasn’t really a sacrifice as much as it was a burden. Sure, it was my cross to bear most days, but, since I didn’t have a choice in whether it was active or not, or whether I needed surgery or not, or how my body healed or suffered as a result, Crohns was only a burden.
Sacrifice, at least in my mind, is a conscious decision. An option you don’t HAVE to choose.
I don’t have a choice when it comes to Crohns. If I did, I would get rid of it.
Therefore, I must do better. I must not only continue to offer up my burden, but I must also find something else to sacrifice. Something hard. Something I don’t want to give up. Perhaps be more diligent avoiding sins that continually pull at me.
I’ll be honest. I wasn’t really happy realizing my chronic illness wasn’t really a sacrifice. I’m not saying offering up my suffering from my disease has been wasted. Far from it. I hope God has used my many hours of pain for his glory.
But, I hoped that would be enough. That I would not need to offer up anything else. But I do.
I must increase my burden by adding to it true sacrifice.