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