Thank you, Oksana, for sharing more of your story with us! (Click here to read Part 1.)
What did God teach you in your valley of chronic illness?
That time was very hard for me. I call it my wandering in the wilderness, because I truly loved God, and I truly wanted to serve Him, but in my mind, I was confused. I was crying to God, Why? I couldn’t understand why God was silent. I thought, well, God loved me, so as a loving Father, He would give me what I need.
And it truly was a good reasonable need. It’s not a made-up need. It’s not like asking for a car. It’s a physical need that I had, and it was really hard for me.
I couldn’t understand why God would not answer. And that made me at times be angry at God. A couple of times I threw a fit, in a way, not going to church. I thought if God doesn’t care about me, why do I need to serve Him?
I really doubted God’s love. That was the biggest issue for me. I was saved. I came to know God because I found out He loved me. Someone loved me. My dad never told me he loved me. My mom was not expressive in that way. I felt unloved.
And suddenly I knew God loved me. And that filled that void I had. And here I was struggling with the question, does God really love me? If He does, why does He continue to be quiet, not responding to me at all?
That was then. Now I look back and I see God was actually very good. He was very patient with me, very loving, very caring, and His care was two-sided: for one thing, He knew I needed that lesson, and He would not let me be done with this trial without actually bearing fruit. So that was a good thing.
The other thing: every step God gave me relief, and that was His mercy to me and His goodness that I did not deserve. Because I was not an exemplary Christian at that time. Like a stubborn kid, I was throwing fits. “If You don’t love me, I’m not going to church.”
God wiped my tears, my snot, would raise me up and restore my faith, always. He would make me go back to trusting God, going to church again and again and again. I’m so thankful to God for that.
Now I know God wanted me to learn to obey and submit to his will. I was this kind of child that was insistent on his own will. I wanted my will to be done.
And yes, I heard, I read the Bible, I knew it teaches that I need to fulfill God’s will, not my own, I have to reject my will and follow God. I knew that. But in reality I couldn’t fulfill that in my life. I have a legitimate need, I need help, how can I say no to that?
God was quietly waiting until Oksana calms down and humbles herself. I was demanding instead of asking. I got to the point of saying, “God, I want.” I wanted to be healed. It wasn’t enough for me to just get relief. I wanted to be healed.
And not always, but sometimes, I would get in such despair that I would demand, “God, if You love me You have to do this. If it were my child I would give it. Why do You not give it to me?” I had the wrong attitude, not honoring God at all.
All this time, I was crying out to God. I was fasting, I was praying, my mom was fasting and praying with me, we were crying. But it was just wilderness for me because I didn’t understand what God wanted to teach me. I was blinded by my own desire, by my will.
But then in God’s grace, He brought me to a point when I was able to say, “Okay Lord, I’m willing to accept Your will, whatever You want for me. If you want me to go on with this disease and struggle all my life with that, fine. Help me though to be content and live with it and please give me relief.”
I didn’t demand anymore, “I want to be healed and nothing else but healed.” I said, “Lord, if You heal me I’ll have it. But please give me relief.”
Later on the same thing happened, and at that time it was parallel with my singleness. I wanted to be married, and for a long time God would not give me anyone. I doubted God’s love again. Why would God not give me what I need? I wanted so badly to be loved and so on. But God would not answer that prayer for years.
All those things kind of happened almost at the same time. But I said, “Lord, if You want me to be single, I will. But help me to just be content. I know You will be faithful. I can live without a husband but I cannot live without You. Just help me to rejoice and be content, and give me grace to go on.”
I noticed that after the change of my attitude, God began to change something in my life. And that’s when He brought to me those things that eventually helped me with my sickness, and I got married as well soon after. It all happened when I changed my attitude.
I honestly believe God made me suffer with that illness for a long time because He wanted me to humble myself before Him, and He wanted me to accept His will, to take up my cross and do His will. I’m very thankful for that. It was a very hard time wandering, but I’m very thankful, because I do see the result of that.
The Bible says that a trial doesn’t seem joyous at a time for us, but like suffering. But afterwards, to those who learn from the trial, it brings the fruit of righteousness (Heb 12:11). I truly see that.
It was very hard at the time. It felt like suffering, suffering, suffering. But now I look back and I see a lot of fruit from that. And it’s such a gift to me, because we have to live in accordance with God’s will. We have to accept His will. Then we can experience joy. And I can truly say that God gave me a lot of joy after I just humbled myself before Him and His will.
I learned that His will is always better. His timing is perfect. His will is perfect. His lessons are perfect too. He never misses. He brings things into our lives at the perfect time for the perfect reason. He knows when to start, when to finish. He never gives us more than we can bear. And it perfectly fits the reason and achieves the goals that God has for it.
Has God been silent to your prayers? Have you ever felt He doesn’t love you? Are you fully surrendered to His good will for you?
Keep crying out to God. Keep believing in His love. Keep trusting that He WILL work good out of your trial. And ask His Spirit to help you live fully surrendered to your loving Father’s perfect will.
Let us know in the comments if Oksana’s story has spoken to you! We’ll share the last part of her story next week!