God’s Mercy Amidst Suffering

Mother & Child

Mother & Child (Photo credit: Andy Magee)

 

Today, I advocated for my daughter. I educated. I informed. I explained. I defended. I took her to get medical attention, during which I did more explaining and educating and ended up getting exactly the care she needed at the right time. Most of all, I was her voice, because no one believes a 12 year old child who is missing so much classroom time because of these issues. No one but Mama. And by the grace and sovereignty of God, He saw fit to allow me to have this same illness so that I could know what she is going through-so that I could understand. I could believe her. I could be her place of refuge when no one else would believe her. And, He knew that without me suffering from this disorder myself, I, too, would be one of those saying “This can’t be real. She must not want to go to school. She must be exaggerating or just avoiding class.” Oh, thank God He saw fit to allow me to suffer with this so that I could understand, know, FEEL, what she feels, and be her voice, not the 12 year old voice that no one hears but the Mama voice that speaks loud and dares anyone to doubt her. Thank you, God, for allowing your mercies to be seen amidst suffering. For it is through your mercies that we feel your love and embrace even in the midst of trials and suffering and pain.

 

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

 

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Pain, Fatigue, Guilt, and Hope

Hope

Hope (Photo credit: bitzcelt)

Every day I hurt. Every day, I am tired. Not like the good kind of tired where you have worked hard all day and you feel satisfied and fulfilled from a job well done. No, this is the kind of tired where you sometimes have to stop and sit down while you wait for the elevator. This is the kind of tired where you sit down on the couch to have a snack and realize you forgot your drink and think, “Dear Lord, how bad do I want that drink? It’s all the way over there..”

My new “normal” has become pain, fatigue, and guilt. Why the guilt? Guilt because I can no longer be the mom and wife, friend, daughter, sister, etc, I used to be. I cannot run around the yard and throw the football with the kids because I hurt, and the activity will make it worse. Guilt because it takes all I have to “give” at work all day, and I “give through the pain and fatigue and well, by the time I get home, I have little to nothing left. Guilt because I take medicine just to feel some kind of normal, and I don’t really “believe” in medicine. I mean, what kind of a hypocrite am I? Guilt because church attendance has become another chore (which doesn’t get done), something that my body just cannot get on board with because, uh, you guessed it by now, pain and fatigue.

The new question has become, “Is this what my life is going to be like?” And, “Is this not just a little flare? Is this it? And, how much worse is it going to get?” Another doctor visit, more tests, and more, “Here try this medicine.” Another medicine I have “failed” at because the side effects debilitated me more than the pain itself and didn’t fix the pain, anyway. Another wish to cry out to the doctor, “Do you have ANY idea how much this hurts? Every day? All day?” And, no I don’t want those other pills, the ones that have all the atrocious side effects (like lymphoma, for example).

And, then, the realization sets in…they cannot help me. I am on my own. The doctors can’t fix this. Silence…Where is my hope? I need hope…And then, “ I lift up my eyes to the hills–where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2.  I pray, I cry out to God and ask for wisdom. I claim His promises for me. He promises not to withhold His wisdom from us when we ask. In fact, He says he will graciously give it to us.

And, I recall learning about a wonderful Integrative Medicine doc…I have hope restored, not just in the doc, but in the God who reminded me to go in that direction. Despite the pain that is still there, burning, throbbing, reminding me of its tenacity and power, I have hope. Hope in a God who is bigger and more powerful than my pain. Hope in a doctor who is carrying her God-given purpose on this earth. Hope for His plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans for a hope and a future. Hope that says, “He never would allow anything to come upon me that He did not plan to use for my good and His glory.” I WILL trust in Him! I WILL press through the pain! I WILL believe that on the other side of this, there will be beauty. There is beauty in the suffering, for it is through the suffering that we come to know Him better, love others better, and know that Christ’s power rests in us to do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us.

So, though I am not cured instantly, not set free from my affliction, strangely, I have a little more peace knowing that He gave me HOPE. He has not forgotten me. He sees every tear that is shed and He has saved them in a bottle (Psalm 56:8).

My new normal is not normal, but then, nothing is here in this fallen world. This is not our ultimate destination. But, thank God, we have the hope of the life that is to come, and we have His loving hand to hold as we journey through this world as well as opportunities to love others who are suffering as well. There is purpose in the pain. I WILL push through it to the purpose, even if I do not learn of it until I cross to the other side. He will not let it be wasted. I have hope!