There are many things in this world and this life that I do not understand. Today, I don’t understand chronic physical pain. I get the purpose of acute pain, such as the pain you feel when you touch a hot burner on the stove or cut yourself while chopping vegetables. That pain tells you there is an injury that you need to attend to. It is pain that can be dealt with and has a purpose and a definite end.
But chronic pain just goes on and on as a reminder that something is wrong that you can’t do anything about. I struggle to understand a purpose for that kind of pain. I suppose it makes one sympathetic to others who suffer from chronic pain, but if it didn’t exist at all then such sympathy would not be necessary. Which leaves me right back at not understanding. Sometimes it’s enough to make me want to give up altogether.
But then I remember something that I do understand: faith. Martin Luther said, “Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. It is so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” When I consider the faith that has been granted to me by the Holy Spirit, I know that I cannot give up. Faith helps me remember that this life is not all there is, and that chronic pain will have a definite end someday. Maybe not today or tomorrow, or even next week, but there will be better days and there is eternity living in God’s grace.
I wasn’t going to mention any music in this post, since that seems to defeat the purpose of having a designated Music Monday. But there is another song on the MercyMe CD I’ve been listening to this week that has really helped to strengthen my faith and helped me to endure the physical pain. It’s called Move, and the second verse and chorus have been such a blessing to me this week:
This hurt is getting heavy
But I’m not about to cave
Everything is about to change
There’s gonna be brighter days
I just might bend but won’t break
As long as I can see Your face
When life won’t play along
And right keeps going wrong
And I can’t seem to find my way
I know where I am found
So I won’t let it drag me down
Oh, I’ll keep dancing anyway
I’ve mentioned before that I have a deck of angel cards in my office with an inspiring word on each card. I periodically pull three new cards at random, one for the Father, one for the Son, and one for the Holy Spirit. Today I decided it was time for three new cards (though I hated to put Beauty, Grace, and Love back in the deck). The three new cards that I pulled are Joy, Healing, and Truth. These seem quite appropriate for today.
As I pondered these words, I realized that there will be Joy in Healing when I am no longer in pain (whenever that may be). But more importantly, there is Joy now in the Truth of God’s mercy and love. Joy is not dependent on my physical wellbeing, but is the natural state of a heart captured by Christ. Joy comes from faith that is confident in my position as a child of God. This is the promise that Paul shared with the church in Rome:
Faith Brings Joy
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:1-5.
Some things I don’t understand, but faith in the love and mercy of Jesus our Lord and Savior I do understand. How it gives me such joy in spite of trying circumstances remains a mystery, but the fact that it does is indisputable.
If you are struggling today with chronic pain that you don’t understand, I can sympathize with you. Don’t give up! Hang onto the knowledge of God’s love that the Holy Spirit supplies, the promise of brighter days that God’s Word offers, and the faith that brings a joy that transcends human understanding.