Wednesday, June 30, 2010

He is strong

One of my all-time favorite passages about God and living in chronic pain is writen by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians. We don't know really what condition Paul had but in other places he talks about his eyes being weak - and having a physical illness. Here is the passage:

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (New International Version)

7To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I have probably talked about this passage before - but it is so rich in encouragment. Here are some of the main points that I think can be applied to the life of anyone with chronic health conditions and also to the family and friends:

1. Paul was given this health issue from GOD. And the reason was because God had given Paul great knowledge and had revealed much to him. The illness was put there for the purpose of keeping Paul from being proud in himself. I don't know about you, but I find that prideful people are the hardest ones to be around ... and I don't want that in myself. So if God gives me any health issue to help keep me on my face before God and giving the glory for my life to God rather than taking it for myself ... awesome!

2. Paul is honest about how he didn't want this life. He begged God 3 times to take this away from him. I think the Christian world in particular makes those of us with physical problems feel bad if we acknowledge that our illnesses or pain is not something we wanted in our lives. Paul's writing is so honest. Let's be honest with each other - and with ourselves. Sickness and pain are not easy, they are not things that most people would ask for. But as we see later - God can redeem something that is hard for us and make it into something to rejoice in!

3. Paul is content. I have done a lot of research of what's out there as far as support groups and forums for people in chronic pain. I am greatly saddened at much of what I see. There seems to be an attitude with people who are in pain or people who counsel them that contentment will never happen as long as whatever issue is not cured. But I also have seen that so many people never get cured on this earth. Once we have been honest about the fact that pain hurts in many ways - we can then move on to being content even happy in the midst of physical illness and pain. Paul did. He even goes father and says that because of his physical weakness God is shown strong in Him. The final conclusion is that it's all about God. If people see someone who they think should be a victim to their illness living a life of purpose and joy and giving all the credit to God - then God is glorified.

This is what I desire in my life.

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