I really struggle sometimes with understanding why I have to deal with chronic pain. I have a curve in my spine made worse by a car accident I was in some years back. It’s constant, daily upkeep and maintenance just to be able to function during the day. If I slack one day with stretching in the morning and at night or if I accidentally slip when i’m walking or have any kind of impact, I’ll pay for it for weeks at a time. Shooting pain throughout my neck, back, and down my legs. Can barely walk or stand or sit up or lay for long. Everything is painful. I’m fine for the first day, but by a few days of dealing with the pain and being unable to do anything at all, it starts to get to me. That’s today. I’m an active person, very hands on. I hate to sit still, I love to actively help others and be outside and physically doing things every day. Why of all people do I need to have so much limitation? I know there are absolutely worse things in life to deal with trust me. But anyone out there that deals with daily chronic pain understands what it’s like. It controls everything I do, every day.
So what does God say about it? I’ve asked for healing for years. I get prayer for it all the time. Nothing. Actually just getting worse. I’ve asked Him why many many times and the reason it always comes back to is that I NEED these limitations. That’s not a reality that I deal with well. I have a major problem with being independent, self sustaining, never asking for help or acknowledging that I even need help. It has taken 7 years of being constantly held back by this injury to slightly even begin to stop me from trying to push through and not get help. I still always wanted to push it and it took me to 6 months ago where I wasn’t able to hardly walk for about a month. Couldn’t work for 2 months and had to completely change the way I ever do anything in my day. In that time of being completely immobile and helpless, is where I found out just how prideful I actually was. I always thought of pride as someone being cocky or with attitude or full of themselves. I never thought of it as the fact of really just having the mindset of I can handle it myself and really I don’t need God, I’m stronger than this and can handle anything. I wasn’t turning to Him in dependency AT ALL. I would just try to take His directions in things and run with it. I gave Him no room to even come through because I was trying to just come through on my own. I’d ask His advice but didn’t really want Him involved any further than that, just like how I handled all my other relationships.
In 2 Corinthians Paul talks about a “thorn in his flesh”. He had some kind of issue going on that was bothering him. He said that 3 different times he asked God to remove it, and each time God said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness”. Paul says so then when he is weak then he is strong. Not strong in himself, but through the power of God working through him. In my old self, I didn’t want to admit a need for anyone, including God. Not really. That caused me to keep a distance between myself and other people. Really it kept me above them. I was alone and thought I could handle anything. I always said I wanted to be a softer, more intimate person with people. I didn’t realize that becoming vulnerable and admitting your weaknesses was the way to that.
It’s important that we all realize that we DO have weaknesses. If we didn’t, then we’d have no need of God or each other. In my recent time of beginning to see myself for who I really am, as a human like everyone else, the hard shell that I’ve always had around my heart has finally begun to soften. Vulnerability is scary and can hurt and really just doesn’t always feel natural. But my faith is in God, that He is my constant. That even though I am weak and in pain and not able to do all the things I feel like I can, He has a plan. He knows what’s best. It doesn’t always make sense but whatever He is allowing to happen is all working towards building my character to be more and more like Him. So if pain and limitations is what it takes then I guess it’s what it takes. I’m not happy about it and I struggle. I have breakdowns about it and get angry. But God is still God. He hasn’t stopped being God just because things aren’t going smoothly for me. He works ALL things for my good, even in this.
“The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8