Pray for My Brother

My older brother Jon has been in the hospital trying to overcome problems with his colitis.  Please pray with me for his complete healing.  Here is part of a recent note of his on facebook: 

"What in the world is colitis?  I have had this condition called ulcerative colitis for over 18 years (since I was a freshman in high school). Most of the time I hide it pretty well. I am a “SUCK IT UP” kind of guy. Just be tough, grin, and bear it. Truth be told, the curse of this disease is that a person can look totally normal and you would never know they have it, but underneath it all they are really suffering more than you would ever know. A friend who is a woman says that colitis pain is even worse than labor pain! I am not gonna vouch for that one, but I have heard that is pretty stinkin bad!

I don’t want to go into too much detail about colitis, but basically it is from the devil! It messes me up and my stomach so bad that I lose blood, sometimes start vomiting and then vomit some more. I usually lose a lot of weight (not on purpose), lose my appetite and get dehydrated. Usually it strikes really bad at least once a year, but has been in remission for the past 5 yrs. I am so thankful for that. Many times it has gotten so bad, like this time, that I need to go into the hospital so the doctors can give me close attention, get me fluids, & get me on track to heal quickly & put it back into remission. 

5th … I praise God for my ulcerative colitis!!!
What? That’s right. And here is why:

Lessons I have learned from my sickness & disease.
1. God has a plan even in my sickness and pain. 
I know God is in complete control & have such an incredible peace & strength that only comes from him. He did not cause the sickness. He comes to give life and healing (“By His stripes we are healed”), but I do believe that He allows this kind of thing to happen. I believe His plan is perfected in it. What does that mean? I can tell you one thing for sure, I would not be in ministry at Kenosha First Assembly and the youth pastor of the most amazing youth group on the planet today if it was not for this disease! God got my attention and set my reliance on Him through the toughest times of my life with this sickness. I am youth pastoring today and giving my life away to equip students because of this sickness and pain. God’s plan is still being perfected through my pain.

2. Even in my sickness, I have SOOO much to be thankful for.
I could be in Haiti and have lost my family & home (my prayers still go out to the people of Haiti). I could have a life-threatening cancer. There are so many could be’s and yet here I am with so much! I am thankful for great health for the past five years, for an amazing wife, and two gorgeous little girls. The list could go on and on forever, and I do have the list in my journal. But the point is that when I count my blessings, they far outweigh my junk. I have so much to be thankful for & can't help but praise Him, even in the midst of all my pain struggle. You should try it sometime. If God is worthy of praise in the good days, He is all the more worthy of our praise & thanks in the cruddy days! My God is worthy no matter what. 

3. It is not about me. The whole reason I do not like sharing my medical issues and struggle with others is that I do not want or need the attention. It is not about me! It is about others. Jesus modeled this in His own suffering on the cross when He prayed for those killing him and those next to Him on the cross. I have learned to pray for others more effectively and fervently in my suffering. Today as I was walking the hallway, my prayers went out for those suffering around me, and their families. My prayers went out passionately for the people still suffering in Haiti. 

I am not perfect at this by any means and still suffer with the disease of selfishness more than I care to admit. But I do know that in this time of struggle, I am learning, and asking to be more like Christ and give my life away as a servant to others. I pray that He can teach you the same through me."