Times of chronic physical pain and illness are full of uncertainty and fear. Uncertainty about health and life, and fear of what the future holds. When our life is dominated by suffering, we can easily slip into self-pity, wondering why we of all people are being made to go through this when others around us carry on in their lives as normal. Each day becomes a struggle as we battle our own body, and normal activities can become a daily challenge to accomplish. We watch others move forward in life while our life is slowed down immensely or even put on hold by illness, and essential things we thought we could count on are no longer dependable. Things we could once do easily fill us with angst as we lose certain abilities, and we begin to become keenly aware of the fragility of our body and health as we must change our lifestyle to accommodate our illness, pain, or disability. As our confidence in our own body dwindles, it becomes easy to lose confidence in God’s plan for us. Finding ourselves wrought with worry about getting more bad news from the doctor, or filled with anxiety at how we will endure tomorrow, we become spiritually, physically, and mentally tense. It feels as though He has finally given us a burden that is too much to carry. In this moment of anguish we are not alone, because He is there to pick us up lovingly and carry us like His child. At this turning point, our muscles finally relax, and though our pain is still there, we can depend on His love to tenderly nurse us through it. Laying our burden and sorrows at His feet, climbing into the gentleness of His arms, we find that the challenge we have been given is a blessing, because it has brought us closer to Him. Without the desperation of living in pain and uncertainty, we would not open our hearts so readily to full dependence on His abundant love and grace. He delights in our child-like trust when we draw nearer to Him and praise Him in times of dire need instead of pushing Him away, remaining steadfast in our faith. Even when we push away His hand and turn away in frustration when our pain is at its worst, He patiently waits for us to return, smiling with pleasure when we do. Relinquishing control and putting our confidence in Him, instead of ourselves or anything else, gives joy to our Father and peace to us in our time of pain.
“Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:9
“This would be my comfort; I would even exult in pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.” Job 6:10
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3
“so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:7