As I’m writing this the nerves in my back are causing jaw clenching pain and my hands and feet hurt so bad that not having them seems like the best option. My body is exhausted and I wish I could crawl in bed and stay there. Most days are like this and it’s only because I trust God with my chronic illnesses and pain that I get out of bed each morning. And according to statistics, there’s a good chance you’re suffering as well.
Did you know 38% of women suffer from at least one chronic disease and 70% of chronic pain sufferers are women? But…
We’re also more likely to remain silent about our pain and illnesses and when we finally seek help, doctors and employers don’t always take our complaints seriously.
Having lived with chronic illnesses and pain for over 25 years, I get this and pray that God uses my story as a beacon of hope for you.
My Chronic Illness and Pain Story
The pain started when I was strapped into a plaster and metal brace that wrapped around my hips and ran all the way up around my neck. As a preteen, I wore this thing for three years, only taking it off to shower.
The hope was it’d straighten my horribly crooked spine enough to prevent lifelong issues.
Fast forward 10 years and I was laying in the hospital diagnosed with two chronic illnesses. Hit fast forward again and you’ll find me passed out on the floor from pain.
You’d think that was enough but…no, it didn’t end there.
Even after doing everything the doctors said would keep me from developing more complications, my already long list grew longer.
But God used these things to draw me to Him and the last 25 years has been a journey of trust.
Why Chronic Illness or Pain Should Grow Our Trust in God
Yesterday was an extra bad day for me. In the past, it was the kind of day Satan would use to try and drive a wedge between God and me. He’d whisper that God wasn’t listening, didn’t care and that my suffering was my fault.
Maybe you relate…
Friend, our God always listens and He does care.
But chronic illnesses and pain are part of living in a dying world, and just because we’re Christians, doesn’t make us immune. Nowhere in the Bible does it say we’ll be free from sickness, disease, or pain.
Instead, it says we should expect suffering (John 16:33, 2 Timothy 2:3) and trust that “the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)
If you’re struggling with this right now, know that God has never left your side. He’ll never leave you and wants you to say like Joseph did,
“you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Genesis 50:20)
God wants us to trust Him through illness and pain and allow Him to use it for good so that “many people will be kept alive” aka find eternal life.
Think about it…
- How could your illnesses, pain, and suffering be used to reflect God to the world around you?
- How could trusting God in the midst of illness and pain lead others to Jesus?
Struggling to Recognize God
Sometimes this feels impossible. Some days my pain screams so loudly I fail to hear God’s voice, fail to see what He’s doing for me, and can’t imagine being used by Him.
Everything God’s doing around me is more Charlie Brown’s teacher, faceless and unrecognizable.
When I’m not persistent with my Bible study and prayer time, a lot of my days feel like this. Plus…
My trust in God wavers when I let my illnesses and pain blur God out.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last 25 years it’s that time with God is critical. It has to be the most important item on every day’s to-do list because it infiltrates every cell in my body, and brings healing and life, despite my illnesses and pain.
It’s like I’m “healed” without actually being healed because the presence of God, the joy of being His child, and the strength and power of the Holy Spirit all overwhelm me. They leave me with a deep assurance that God is carrying me and He will provide everything I need, for everything He asks me to do.
From this place, I remember all Christ’s done for me and can put a smile on my face and press on. But… This has all been about me and it’s you that I care about.
Share how you've learned to trust God with Chronic Pain or Chronic Illness
How have you learned to trust God through chronic illness and pain?
I’d love to hear your stories so be sure to add them in the comments below or… Email me and we could arrange to talk on the phone or do a video chat.
As you’ll read below, it’s important we not suffer alone.
While reading my story you may have gleaned some “trusting God tips” but I want to leave you with a few action items that have helped me over the years.
How to Trust God Through Illnesses & Pain
1. Ingest God’s Word
When you’re learning to trust God with chronic pain or illness, you’ve gotta ingest God’s Word. It’s more important than the food you eat and the air you breathe.
God’s Word is a “lamp to our feet and light to our path” (Psalm 119:105). It adds “length of days and years of life and peace” and “life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh” (Proverbs 3:2, Proverbs 4:22).
I don’t know about you, but those are some powerful motivators. It’s in God’s Word that…
- we find hope
- learn who God is
- learn who we are as His children
- it teaches us how to pray
- how to live,
- how to do everything
If you’d like to learn more about ingesting God’s Word, check out the two posts below.
Use it to speak life, overcome pain, give strength, and provide hope for all God’s called you to.
2. Cry Out to God
Not many people know it but… I’m a big fan of throwing a fit with God. Some days I want to pull the covers over my head and make it all go away and because I can’t, I throw a fit instead.
I’m a 45-year-old woman who still throws fits and I truly believe God wants it this way.
If you’re struggling to trust God with your chronic pain or wondering how it’s even possible to trust God with the illness(es) you have, use Psalms to shape your cries to God.
Over one-third of Psalms are “psalms of lament” that are about crying out to God in the midst of suffering. Click the button to download a list of these Psalms.
3. Don't Do It Alone
When we’re struggling, we’re not supposed to struggle alone and as I write this, I know I’m also writing to myself.
One morning as my ex-husband was driving me to the ER he said, “Tell them how you actually feel. No one can help you unless you’re open with them.” And for 15 years God’s been reminding me of those words.
We need a godly and trusted friend or family member we can be 100% raw with so they can help us see the truth (p.s. I’m still working on this one).
The best part is that two or more always equals three when Christians are gathered (Matthew 18:19-20).
- Who do you reveal the depth of your struggles with?
- How has it deepened your trust in God?
If you don’t have a godly friend or family member to talk with, reach out to me. I’d love to hear your story.
Plus, when they see us trusting God through our illness and pain, it also deepens their trust in God.
4. Be A Reflection
If you saw me you wouldn’t know I’m living with chronic illnesses and in constant pain, and for that, I’m thankful. For the last 20 years, my prayer has been that people would see Christ and not me.
It’s taught me that no matter what we’re going through, a huge part of our testimony is wrapped up in how we reflect God.
My prayer is that God gives you the strength to confidently say “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
- How does your illness, pain, or suffering allow you to reflect God to the world around you?
If you’re uncertain, ask the Holy Spirit to show you how trusting God through illness or pain can be used to reflect Him.
Over the last several weeks I’ve been wrestling with God and asking Him how He wanted me to connect with you. Asking Him what we had in common and how I could serve you in a relatable way.
All I could hear the Holy Spirit saying was it was time for me to open up and share my pain. This isn’t easy for me and I’ll be the first to admit, I keep my struggles to myself.
Guess God decided it was time for my trust in Him to do a bit more growing. So unless God tells me differently, I’m going to be sharing the depth of my heart and trusting that what I’ve learned about trusting God through illnesses and pain will provide you hope.
It’s one of those things you probably know, but if you’re dealing with chronic illnesses or chronic pain, it can feel like you’re alone. And boy ‘oh boy do I get that.
A dear friend once told me to cling to your head knowledge until it becomes heart knowledge and that’s why it’s so important we ingest God’s Word. How else can we “trust in the Lord with all your heart” and not “lean on your own understanding?” (Proverbs 3:5)
My friend, you can trust God with your health issues and pain.
Until next time I’m praying the truths in 1 Thessalonians 1:6-8 become true in your life as well…
“You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you…your faith in God has become known everywhere.”