The challenge of physical pain and illness can be an all-consuming one. Unlike some other difficulties we may face in life, pain cannot be avoided or put off until tomorrow, nor are we given a guide on how to keep living life with this menace weighing us down. Once it has been thrust upon us, we are in its thralls, subject to its ebb and flow. When chronic pain becomes a daily part of life, we are launched into a stormy sea that we once took for granted as being calm. Day and night, waves of unrelenting pain beat down, and we are forced to lay bare our most basic character as we fumble for a means to cope with feelings of fear, anger, indignation, desperation, and sheer exhaustion at keeping our head above water. As our body is consumed by pain, so too can our minds when we feel imprisoned in our own body, feeling weak where we once felt confident. When our peace is taken away from us by pain, only He can restore it. Softening our heart, shifting our perspective from looking at pain as a curse to viewing it as a gift and an opportunity to build strength, endurance, and solidarity in God lightens our burden and brings new hope. Each time pain tries to take control, we become stronger in Him, calling on His name in prayer and relying on His strength to carry our weight for us. Our Lord becomes our rock to cling to in the tumult of pain, always there for strength when we have none. He has set us in this crucible because He knows we will emerge as gold, purified of what was only holding us back. With pain biting into us, we see how very weak and powerless we are. Knowing we are weak, and turning not with shame or anger, but with joy, to be renewed by His grace, we know that He can now do His best work with us. Though we may be physically weak, we become spiritually strong the more we hold His guiding hand.
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” Job 23:10
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” Romans 5:3-4
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16