I have dear friends who face every minute of every day with chronic issues – pain, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, grief; the list goes on. It seems life is a chronic issue. The question is – how do we make it through each day with chronic XYZ making us stumble?
If you’re hoping for “the” answer, sorry. I don’t have it. But I’d like to wrestle this issue with you. I’ve been dealing with a chronic physical issue for the past 6+ months. For someone who has made it this many decades with nary a problem, this is irritating. And energy zapping. And humbling. It makes me angry and cranky, and occasionally it makes me cry.
Returning again and again to the Psalms helps somewhat. Thousands of years ago, the writer(s) of the Psalms also struggled with chronic life issues. They cried out to God in pain, anger, and weakness begging for relief and/or answers. They wanted revenge on those who’d wronged/hurt them. They wanted a return to good health. They wanted answers. Since I’m no Bible scholar, I don’t know if they got what they wanted or not.
But what I see repeatedly in these words of anguish and exhaustion is a giving up – not of hope but of their need for control, their focus on themselves. Over and over the writers share their needs and struggles with brutal honesty. But then something amazing happens. Without an answer to their prayer (yet), they turn their attention to the object of their prayer – God. And they remember who He is and what He can do. They praise Him not because they got what they wanted but because He is still God, regardless of life’s issues. They run out of anger and hurt and grief and realize He is what matters most.
So as I await an answer to my issue, as I pray for those around me who suffer so much more and have for so much longer, I remember to whom I have turned – the God of the Universe. Not my own private cosmic butler who waits to do my bidding or soothe my complaints. No, He’s the One who created me, loves me wholly and perfectly, and who knows my struggles. My relief, the real answer to my prayers is not a drug or therapy, it’s not listed in the most comprehensive medical tomes. It’s found in the One who has endured far worse than me; the One who knows pain, abandonment, grief, even death and now lives to give me true life.
Regardless of our chronic lives, we have the hope of eternity, the promise of complete healing, the joy of knowing this is temporary but He is eternal.
Life is a chronic condition. So is the love of God.