Luke Smallbone of the Christian pop duo for KING & COUNTRY said that while he's thankful the digestive illness he's struggled with since 2012 is in remission, his battle with the disease has taught him about the grace of Jesus.
Smallbone, who has struggled with a severe form of Ulcerative Colitis (UC) for the past five years, made the announcement on Instagram, sharing a photo of himself smiling from a hospital bed.
"For the last 5 years, I've hoped to hear a doctor say, 'Luke, you're in remission' but that statement has eluded me up until 2 days ago," the 31-year-old Australian native wrote. "This picture was taken shortly after I woke from a small procedure that confirmed that remission has taken place. I used to wonder why I got sick but I don't anymore. It's been the single greatest tool in teaching me about the grace of Jesus and because of that, this disease is something I can't help but thank God for. It's taught me, JOY! Thanks for your prayers. Thanks for the encouragement. Thanks for your friendship!"
Smallbone, who with his wife, Courtney, welcomed their first son, Jude James in December 2012, has regularly opened up about the disease, which has forced him to miss 40 tour stops. In 2013, the 6-foot-4-inch singer weighed only 125 pounds as a result of the debilitating illness.
"I truly looked like I just got out of a concentration camp," Smallbone reflected. "Throughout this time, I probably experienced the darkest period of my life, as I was in an awful lot of pain and struggled to sleep. I wasn't able to hold my son, let alone be the father I wanted to be. I wasn't able to be the husband I wanted to be. I was bed-ridden and being taken care of like I was a child again (talk about humbling). I wondered if I'd be able to be on the road again, let alone perform again."
However, Smallbone said that the disease was "one of the best things to ever happen to me."
"God never wastes a pain," he explained. "Even when we are still and when the 'doing' stops, when we feel our weakest and maybe even feel like we have nothing to offer, we can actually hear Him when all that striving has died down. We are loved for not what we 'do,' but because we are His children. That's it. So simple, but so profound."
He added, "Sometimes we have to go through the strangest of journey's to discover real hope. Sometimes journeying into those depths gets you ready to climb great heights."
For the time being, King and Country are currently wrapping up recording for a new album and are getting ready for a U.S. winter tour.