Two very familiar Bible stories have recently taken on new meaning for me. I've heard both of these stories all my life, but the emphasis was always on the "healing" part of the story...until recently, I had never really noticed the other part...
The first is the story of Jesus healing a blind man, recorded in John 9: "As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him." (vv. 1-3)
The second is the story of Lazarus, recorded in John 11. When Lazarus became ill, his sisters, Mary and Martha, "sent to Him, saying, "Lord, he whom you love is ill." But when Jesus heard it He said, "This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it."" (vv. 3-4)
Interesting, huh? God clearly has a purpose for the difficulties and suffering of this life. We don't know why Hannah had to have cancer or why God did not choose to heal her physical body, but we can certainly see that He had a purpose for her life. And that is a great source of comfort and assurance!