Saturday, July 3, 2010

Trusting God with our Pain

God has an open door policy.  At anytime, day or night, 24/7/365, we are free to come to Him for comfort in bad times or to rejoice with Him in good times.  And unlike doctors offices there is no line. We don't have to spend time in the waiting room.  For those of us with Fibromyalgia, it seems like we go to Him more for comfort from the unrelenting pain that is a constant part of our life than rejoicing.  However, if we trust Him, we can rejoice in our pain.

When your life has been changed irreversibly as ours has, it is sometimes hard to trust God that His is the right path for our lives.  Part of learning to trust God is learning to trust that He will lead us and keep us on what may not be an easy path but it is a safe one. Sheila Walsh described it as being “in the shoes of a child, learning to take one step at a time; as a child looks into the eyes of her mother to see if she’s doing it right.”  We must learn to set our gaze on God and trust Him because He will catch us if we fall.

Sometimes the pain is so great that we cannot even pray. This may be physical pain or it may be pain caused by a loved one or a stranger. We may even doubt for a moment that He is really there. God has provided for us when that occurs.  Romans 8: 25- 27 reminds us:

“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.”

There have been so many times when this was all I could do. The pain was so severe that all I could say was “Lord, please help me.” Many times, I felt that His answer to me was to wait, to be patient. There was a reason for my pain. Other times the horrible pain was taken away as I finally slept for the first time in days. God always answers our prayers. Sometimes the prayers aren’t answered as we would like them to be but He always answers them in His way, in His time.

Stress and depression is another part of our fight. Stress from not having a doctor, family or friends who understand that we really are in pain from a very real disease is very common. Stress from wondering how we will pay for our medications, groceries, mortgage or utilities because we can no longer work.  Life becomes so dark around you that it is hard to see God’s light shining and even harder to trust Him to provide. That is when we go to the Proverbs to draw strength:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” Proverbs 3: 5-8

It is important to remember that God created us and He loves us. We must never loose sight of that. We are all called to be witnesses to God’s amazing love and care for us. Those of us who have chronic pain have a unique opportunity to share our faith. We have the amazing opportunity to show that even when things are not at their best, the Lord provides and our faith is strong. How we share His love, claim His promises and trust in Him, is our greatest witness.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel your Savior; Do not be afraid, for I am with you." Isaiah 43: 2 -3 and 5a

Friday, July 2, 2010

You're invited

to join us at Crafty Swapping Friends a Yahoo group where we swap a hand made goodie every month, we play Bingo :) and we have so many craft and gift ideas, you'll flip! Come and play with us :)


This morning I began reading Sheila Walsh’s new book, Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God. I’ve only read the introduction and first chapter but already see so many ways where her battle with depression parallels my battle with fibromyalgia. I have a hard time trusting because of things that happened in the past. I hope that when I finish this study, I will have learned to trust God more in my everyday life, to finally, once and for all, turn my life completely over to Him, trusting Him to direct my path even when I don’t understand where it is headed. I think I’ve always trusted God on the big stuff but the day to day stuff has been a challenge. Sheila says that waiting on his direction and trusting in his presence helps us to become more like Christ. I need patience as well as trust. I want the instant answers that I receive when I am in charge. Maybe the key to me trusting is to have patience to wait for his will to become clear to me.

Jesus wants us to trust him so completely that we no longer question anything that he puts into our hands or on the path he has chooses for our lives. That’s my biggest struggle right now. It’s hard to trust when your body rebels and you hurt so badly that you cannot pull your self out of bed for days on end. It’s hard to trust when your mind is so foggy that you can’t remember the next word in the sentence. It’s hard to trust that all will be well when your income is cut in half and the bills go up. It’s hard to trust when the bill collectors are calling. It’s hard to trust when you aren’t able to do the things you use to. You get the picture.

Job wrote that “Yes, God does these things again and again for people. He rescues them up from the grave.” Job 33:29-30 (NLT) Isn’t that wonderful news? Over and over God is there for us and will pick us up when we fall or when someone turns against us.

Sometimes in the process of learning to trust, we suffer. We don’t like to suffer. Who would? And who would believe that suffering can be helpful? The Bible tells us that suffering truly can be helpful so I work toward finding that help. Suffering is helpful if we turn to God for understanding, endurance and deliverance. Turning from him will only make things worse and harden our hearts. When we lay our suffering at his feet, we are able to learn from a trustworthy God. When allow ourselves to learn from God, it prepares us to accept help from others who are obeying God’s order to help others.

“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always, be eager to practice hospitality”. Romans 12:13 (NLT)

“Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church…those who can help others”. 1 Corinthians 12:28 (NLT)

In Joshua 1:5, God assures Joshua that He will be there for him just like he was for Moses. He promised … I will not fail you nor abandon you. Aren’t those beautiful words? God is here with us every step of the way. I think about how Joshua must have felt following in Moses footsteps. As the saying goes, those were some big shoes to fill. Joshua went from being an assistant to being the person who would finally lead the Israelites into the Promised Land – all two million of them. I’m sure that he must have felt overwhelmed. God always reminded him to be strong, courageous and follow God’s word for direction. That’s what we need to do as well. Joshua 1:7 – 9 tells us:

"Be strong and courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord you God is with you wherever you go.” (NLT)