I love April “The Peaceful Wife” Cassidy’s blogs. They’re mostly written for women with the primary goal of honoring God while helping wives find peace in life and especially their marriages. As a guy I often feel somewhat an interloper when reading April’s postings – but the writing and the wisdom she shares transcend gender. The following is an example that I find particularly useful. I’m totally blessed to not suffer with any type of illness, pain, or exhaustion at this stage in my life but realize I, like anyone, can be thrust into difficult physical conditions at any time. So, having this type of information available is a nice type of hip-pocket resource – always available for my own use or to share with others. This particular blog posting appeared at: www.peacefulwife.com as: Being Peaceful in the Face of Illness/Pain/Exhaustion. I have omitted the ailments which April lists in her post but you can read those through the link to the original article above. RMF
Being Peaceful in the Face of Illness/Pain/Exhaustion
by April Cassidy
I don’t think of myself as having any big health issues. I do have some problems, but, to me, they are very small in the grand scheme of things. Obviously, many people have vastly more difficult health issues than I do.
But just for the sake of transparency, for those who may be interested, I am going to share most – but not all – of the details of my situation (this may be TMI for some people, you are welcome to skip the following list if you prefer)…
Most of My Current Health Issues (Not including past issues here):
Some of my health issues are fairly under control most of the time by lifestyle changes – an anti-inflammatory diet, regular chiropractic adjustments, exercise, and a few supplements and OTC medicines. It gets tricky when multiple things flare up at once – which, of course, they did over the past week as I have been writing this post. Sometimes I wish I could avoid eating food entirely. Life would be so much easier!
Some of these issues are just part of my life. I can’t fix them. God hasn’t removed them at this point. I’m at peace with that. None of these medical issues are my identity. I don’t think of myself in terms of these health problems. In fact, I really don’t focus on them any more than I absolutely have to. My identity is in Jesus alone. I’m so thankful that the Holy Spirit is able to give me power and victory even when I am weak. When I am in Christ, my weaknesses become a showcase for His strength.
I didn’t choose my health problems. But I do get to decide what my attitude and response will be!
An Incredible Example
My 94 year old grandmother, we call her Mom mom, powerfully demonstrated this concept to me even on her death bed in her final three weeks of life this past winter. Whenever we came into the room, she gave us her brightest smile, as long as she was able to respond. She told us what was going on when she could. Sometimes she was truly suffering. 🙁 But Mom mom wasn’t negative. She never lashed out at us. She wasn’t short-tempered, irritable, or grumpy.
She was concerned about how everyone else was doing. She continued to make friends with her caregivers up until the last few days when she couldn’t stay awake or talk anymore. She had such joy in Christ! That beautiful smile of hers was the most precious gift she could have given to us. I will always cherish the memories of her beautiful attitude and radiant smile even in the midst of her tremendous pain and suffering.
As a believer in Christ, I know that nothing has come into my life by accident. Every trial is purposed by the Lord to help refine me and conform me to the image of Christ. Because I trust Jesus and His leading in my life, I know He is with me. I receive His promises to me. So I can look at things with new eyes.
I choose to be:
Full of praise to the Lord
Available to God
Dependent on Him
Verses that help me in any kind of difficulty:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But 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. That 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. 2 Cor. 12:7-10
How Can I Respond to My Family in a Godly Way When I Am Feeling Awful?
Note – I am not saying I have arrived and am perfect. Anything good in me is from God – and I know I still have quite a lot of refining left to go through to get rid of all of self.
When I face health issues, I can seek to remember that:
My exhaustion, pain, or illness does not justify me being grumpy, irritable, hateful, bitter, or entitled.
God is with me and as I look to Him, He can give me supernatural strength to respond in His Spirit’s power, yes, even when my flesh is very weak.
I can respectfully ask my family for what I need.
I can know my limits and may have to say, “I’m so sorry, but I am just not able to do X right now,” at certain times. I have to admit I am human and I need help sometimes, too.
I can be honest and vulnerable and share my problems with my husband when something gets worse or there is an issue. I usually only have to do that once. I don’t want to complain unnecessarily. Minor things, I try to keep to myself. But if something is a significant issue, I want to be sure Greg knows about it so he can adjust accordingly or help me if I need help.
When God wants me to do something for Him, I trust that He will give me the power to do it, even when I don’t have the power on my own.
I can lay all of these needs before Him and entrust them to Him.
I can ask for healing, provision, and wisdom.
I can surround myself with godly prayer warrior women and we can pray for one another.
I can praise and thank Him for the trials and invite Him to use them for His glory.
I can be open to anything He may desire for me to learn when I am suffering.
I need my alone time with the Lord more than ever in those moments.
I can focus on my blessings and all of the good things God has provided for me.
I can look for ways to encourage others who may be suffering in similar ways and anticipate how many doors God may open for me to minister to others in the future because of this experience I am going through.
My weaknesses remind me of my total dependence on the Lord and how I can do nothing on my own – that is a good place to be.
I can peacefully rest in God’s love for me and in His sovereignty over every aspect of my life.
I can joyfully receive all that Jesus is, the abundant Life He offers, all that He has done for me, and all of His resources for me.
I can meditate on God’s promises to me and hide His Word in my heart.
In Christ, I get to have all of His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
I can smile and speak words of Life to others, longing to be a blessing to them.
I can savor my time with my family, in spite of my difficulties, and seek to be fully present as much as possible.
I can ask God to love my family through me and to make me a blessing to them in the midst of my pain.
I can try to get the rest, exercise, and nutrition my body needs as I also graciously seek to be aware of my family’s needs, as well.
In Christ, I can love with His supernatural love no matter what my circumstances are at the moment.
Jesus determines my character, motives, thoughts, and behaviors as I yield to His Lordship. My illness and health issues do not.
I can ask the Lord for His wisdom and discernment about how to approach each trial in a way that honors Him.
How has God empowered you to live by His strength in the face of difficult health issues? Or, how would you like to approach your medical problems in a new way after reading this post? What is the Lord speaking to your heart?
Note – I’d like to keep the comments centered on our spiritual response to our medical issues, to God, and to our families as we face health challenges rather than people giving medical advice to others. Thanks for understanding. 🙂
Nina Rosener, author of “The Respect Dare,” doesn’t talk about it much, but she has very significant health issues. And yet, God is using her in amazing ways to mentor and disciple so many women for Himself. She talks about her health issues here.
And here, Nina Roesner talks about facing her son’s chest surgery with peace and joy.
The PMS Issue – Part 1
The PMS Issue – Part 2
Handling Adversity with Joy and without Complaining
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH ABOUT DISEASE?
Disease was not part of God’s original design for us or for creation. But after sin entered the world, disease is now part of life because we are in a fallen world. There are several causes of disease, according to the Bible:
1. Disease exists because sin is in the world in general.
2. Disease can be a result of a person’s individual sin (i.e.: STDs, 1 Cor. 6:18-20, Romans 1:27, or other sins James 5:14-15).
3. Disease can be a result of another person’s sin (i.e.: King David’s baby with Bathsheba got sick and died because of David’s sin 2 Sam. 11).
4. Disease can be a result of Satanic attack (i.e.: Job 1, Mark 9:14-29).
5. Disease can happen if we take the Lord’s Supper “in an unworthy manner” (1 Cor. 11:27-31).
6. Disease can be in our lives so that God might be glorified when He heals us (John 9:3, James 5:14-15).
7. Disease (and suffering in general) can be a training tool and a test that God uses in our lives to refine us, grow our faith, and bring about greater spiritual growth (James 1, 1 Peter, Romans 5:3-5, 2 Cor. 4:17, Heb. 12:4-12)
8. Disease can result from the way we think (Prov. 17:22) – if we believe lies about ourselves and reject God’s truth, that can make us sick. (You are welcome to read posts here by “Radiant” – she was almost an invalid because of spiritual oppression and lies she had believed about herself, God, and others. When she began to receive God’s truth and love and reject the lies she had been telling herself, God healed her very dramatically.)
9. Disease/plagues can be a judgment of God in some situations (Gen. 12:17, Ex. 15:26, 1 Sam. 6, Rev. 6:8 ).
I don’t know exactly why any particular person may be facing an awful disease or suffering. I don’t have access to all of God’s wisdom and knowledge.
What I do know is that our God is sovereign. And He loves each of us beyond our ability to fathom. Nothing that enters into our lives may come without His permission. God, whose motives toward His children can only be good, promises to use anything and everything in our lives – all of the good and bad – ultimately for our good and His glory because we belong to Him. That is a promise to all believers (Romans 8:28-29).
What Does the Bible Say about Suffering?
Verses about suffering
Verses about sickness
Posts about disease and God’s will
Posts about God’s sovereignty