Suffering becomes bearable if you can find meaning in it. Pain feels a little less like an attack and a little more like a challenge if you can see some reason for it. I've been looking for that ever since I got sick with ulcerative colitis in 2007 and never got better. Why...? I kept wondering why. What was the purpose of all this pain and humiliation? All these upset plans of mine?
What? To make me better person? Wasn't I humble enough? Didn't I depend on God enough? Did I think too much of my work, my looks, my skills, my life? To make me stronger? Cripes, I've never been weaker in all my life in every sense of the word. Was I so terrible at my chosen career that God would rather I be locked in my bedroom? Would I be such a horrible mother that God put this here to keep me from having a family? What was God trying to tell me???
I, I, I, I, me, me, me... Funny how self-centered being trapped in your own body makes you. I admit it. It's hard to look past your own nose when you can't get out of your own bed. Well, I got out of my own bed, and it turns out my pain wasn't about me at all. It's about Christ. And it's about you.
"For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested on our mortal flesh. So that death is at work in us, but life in you." (2 Corinthians 4:11-12)
If you really want someone to believe something, if their life truly depends on it, you don't stand on a soapbox and lecture. You get on your knees and beg. The true rhetorical stance is on your knees, a wise man once told me and wow, has the Lord ever brought me to mine. (Thank you, Charles, I shudder to think of living this life without that knowledge).
"I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak." (Ephesians 6:20)
Consequently, when my Mayo Clinic Pain Rehab Bestie suggested that I start a blog, I couldn't say no. Although I am as hesitant as anyone to share my struggling for fear of some reprisal, I couldn't shake the reality that if by reading about death in me, life starts to work in you even a little, well... maybe that's a part of God's why to my pain. Selfishly enough, in you, my suffering has meaning. As far as fear of reprisal goes, my struggle--like my suffering--has very little to do with me.
And so, to those of you struggling with chronic pain, physical or emotional, injury or grief, sickness or sadness, whether your back hurts or your heart, I find solace in pointing you to Christ in hopes that you, too, will find some solace there. "And hope does not put is to shame." (from Romans 5:5)
Click here for my first post: "Heal ME," and come back to When Suffering Doesn't Stop: Life With Chronic Pain on Tuesdays and Thursdays for new posts that include Scripture, art, music, and humor, and are dedicated to making the unbearable portions of life bearable through meaning in Christ.