What inspires a young woman at 25 to think she could start a national ministry for people with chronic illness?
Why did Lisa think this was a good idea when she was battling daily chronic pain herself and the diagnosis she had just recently received back in 1993 was that it would only get worse?
Lisa was diagnosed in 1993 with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 24 and life changed dramatically. She searched for some time, but was unable to locate the kind of Christian support that she desired to help her along this unexpected detour of chronic illness.
Surely she couldn’t be the only one who lived with daily chronic pain, and believed in the Lord–and still wasn’t healed, right?
She began Rest Ministries in 1996 and incorporated it as a 501(c)3 Religious Organization the next year.
Since then Rest Ministries has reached hundreds of thousands of people–over 80,000 to the web site alone each month. And it continues to grow through the help of our volunteers who keep it going every day. And we are honored to be an affiliate ministry with Joni and Friends International Disability Ministry, the ministry of Joni Eareckson Tada. [Read about how this came to be.]
We invite you to watch our 5-minute video to learn more about how Lisa began this ministry, what is does now, and how our HopeKeepers groups work.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
We here at Rest Ministries believe that all humans have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and God gave His only begotten son to pay the price for our sins. His son, Jesus, was crucified, died, and was buried and rose again on the third day, paying the price for our sins and becoming the one true sacrifice that saved the world.
In order for each of us to be saved and have the gift of everlasting life, one needs to acknowledge that he/she has sinned and repent of their sin and turn from sin and in so believe that Jesus is the Son of God and His death paid in full the sacrifice for our sin.
We are a Bible-believing ministry and not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.
It is hard when someone asks us (or tells us) why we are not healed, isn’t it?
And even if we kind of know how we feel, it can be difficult to grab those correct scriptures. We hope this helps offer you a resource when asked about your spiritual beliefs and how they address suffering?
We believe that God can and does heal in our current day. We also believe, however, that God offers strength in our weakness and, at times, allows us to grow spiritually, although not always comfortably, by allowing the “thorns” into our lives, (2 Cor. 12:9).
We believe that God can heal despite our lack of faith, if it is his will, therefore, we are not able to meet a formula of “praying harder,” and be guaranteed an outcome of healing (Mark 6:5,6). Illness is not necessary a sign that we have done something wrong (John 9:3) nor that we have “hidden sin” in our lives, (John 5:14).
We caution against worshiping “the idea of healing” rather than God, (Exodus 20:3). Although we encourage people to pray for God’s healing, we also comfort them in their pain; as we believe that we are called to comfort others in their pain, as God has comforted us in our own (2 Cor. 1:3-5), even when we are still living with pain in our own lives (1 Peter 4:10).
We believe that scripture tells us that we will suffer (John 16:33) and Romans 8:17 is very clear on why we suffer: “we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” Everyone defines “suffering” differently but for many of us here at Rest Ministries we see one of the purposes in our suffering is to bring glory to God–even if we don’t fully understand how. This is not to say God can’t heal us–He can! But if He does so the reasons are one of the mysteries of God.
Like King Herod, (Luke 23:8-11) people want to see a sign–they like physical healings because they are much easier for us to understand (and more fun to celebrate!). But God is holy and not here to entertain us. He is much more concerned about our character and who we are in Him rather than our temporary comfort.
Paul also wrote Romans 8:18: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Even when our suffering seems pointless, God has a plan.
John 16:33 starts out kind of depressing, “You will have suffering in this world.” But the scripture continues. . . “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. But be courageous! I have conquered the world.” He has conquered the world! It doesn’t say He will conquer the world–He has conquered the world.
So why does He allow so much suffering? Because He is just waiting for more to find Him. “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”To me, that’s evidence of a loving God, that He would care that much for you.” (2 Peter 3:9)
As Ecclesiastes 7:8 states, “The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.”
Copyright Rest Ministries, Lisa Copen. You can share, but please list us as the source.
Looking for more resources? We recommended When God Weeps, Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty by Joni Eareckson Tada
REST MINISTRIES PURPOSE STATEMENT
Rest Ministries, Inc. is a non-profit Christian organization that exists to serve people who live with chronic illness or pain, and their families, by providing spiritual, emotional, relational, and practical support through a variety of programs and resources, including:
- HopeKeepers groups
- Daily devotionals
- Our book/gift store, which includes Bible studies and small group materials
- Rest Ministries Sunroom online social network
We also seek to bring an awareness and a change in action throughout churches in the US, in regard to how people who live with chronic illness or pain are served, and teach churches effective ministry tools in ministering to this population. One tool for this purpose is National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, of which we are the founders and sponsors.
REST MINISTRIES STATEMENT OF FAITH
Romans 1:16 say, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for the salvation of everyone who believes. . .” In a time when it is politically correct to say and believe many things, we stand firm on what the Bible says.
About God: God is the creator and the ruler of the universe. There is only one, true holy God. He eternally exists in three personalities: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God. Genesis 1: 1,26-27, 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; I Peter 1:2; 2 Corinthians 13:14.
About Jesus: Jesus Christ is the Son of God. His is co-equal with the Father (God). Jesus lived on earth by a miraculous conception and virgin birth. He lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return again to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Matthew 1:22-23; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-5, 14: 10-30; Hebrew 4:14-15; I Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 1:3-4; Acts 1:9-11; I Timothy 6:14-15; Titus 2:13; John 14:6; Hebrews 13:8.
About the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make people aware of their need of Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. The Christian seeks to live under His control daily. 2 Corinthians 3:17; John 16:1-13, 14:16-17; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12, 3:16; Ephesians 1:13; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 5:18.
About the Bible: The sole basis for our belief is the bible. The Bible is God’s word to all people. It was written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, the Scriptures are infallible and inerrant in the original manuscripts. They are the final authority on all matters of faith and practice. 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21; James 1:22; Hebrews 4:12; Romans 1:16-17.
About Salvation: Because of the sin of Adam, all have sinned and are separated from God. The result is eternal death and separation from God. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, however, we have the gift from God to all people, Salvation. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can people be saved from sin’s penalty. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith. Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 14:6, 1:2, Titus 3:5; Galatians 3:26; Romans 5:1,8; John 1:12; Romans 10:13; Revelation 3:20.