Friday, September 9, 2011

Accepting Illness through Faith

(Based on a former post edited for Chronic Babe's Blog Carnival: Spirituality, Faith, and Chronic Illness.)

I'd like to think that over the last year and a half I have begun to accept my pain better. I don't cry every day or complain non-stop. I have a lot of limitations and live in pain every day, but most days I try to live the life I've been given as best I can. I believe coming to accept a chronic illness is a life-long battle against self-pity, worry, and depression--a battle that must be fought with truth.

Even if I live with chronic pain for the rest of my life, no amount of trying to "think on the bright side", telling myself not worry, deep relaxation, or pain medication will help me really accept my condition. Rather only by knowing the One who is in control of all things, and putting my hope in Him, can I do this.

Faith is much more than "religion". For me, it is my life. It is by faith that I am able to have hope when even the darkest of circumstances come my way. It is not a blind hope that things will be better in the future, but an assurance built on a sure foundation of truth (Hebrews 11:1).

Many people say they cannot see how a good God could allow bad things to happen, therefore either God doesn't exist or, if he does, they don't want to know him. However, studying the Bible and seeing God's sovereignty, or ultimate control over everything, gives me great hope and helps me come to accept (on most days) my chronic pain.

Through studying the Bible I can see that God is who He says He is and can be trusted. There are numerous passages that show God working in His people's lives by means of trials, hardships, and suffering. One verse that has really helped me in understanding God's control over "bad things" is Isaiah 45:6-7:

"that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things."

Most of us think of calamity as being bad, right? Then how can a good God create something "bad"? Webster's defines calamity as "a state of deep distress or misery caused by a major misfortune or loss". I have often felt like my pain is a has caused me deep distress and loss. But this is looking through my human eyes. God sees the past, present, and future; He sees how an illness, the death of a loved one, a barren woman, or a devastating earthquake fits into His perfect, loving plan.

It's not that God reacts to evil and suffering to somehow make "something beautiful" out of a messy situation. My pain is not some fluke or mystery (no matter what the doctors may think) that happened in my life apart from God's plan. He was not surprised by it, but rather this IS His good plan for my life, and I find great peace and rest in knowing that God will fulfill His purpose for me (Psalm 138:8). And while suffering can be considered a calamity to us, God sees the big picture and can call it good because it is His means to a beautiful end. God is working all things for the good of his children and for His glory (Romans 8:28).

While chronic illness isn't what I had hoped for my life, I know there is purpose in my pain.

1 comment:

  1. I so agree with what you said. I do believe that the only way we learn and evolve is through pain. It is God's way of saying do not become complacent and know that we are greater than our physical bodies; to identify with our soul.

    Thank you for a very good post.