It is Well with my Soul BYU Vocal Point

Sunday, December 20, 2015

More than a "Student of Pain"

I  initially began this post with a summary of my physical challenges right now...But I have had second thoughts.  I just finished reading Joni's book A Place for Healing, and she talked in there about people who constantly give updates on their medical condition  whenever they are spoken to. This is something that has been a real challenge for me.  I find however that people kind of push me into that state, because no one ever sees ME, the person who has an illness....they only see the illness and every conversation revolves around how I am doing medically.  I feel like yelling sometimes.  "I am Cynthia-- a complex being who just happens to have an illness".  It's true that in my minute by minute experience, my mind is largely occupied with just getting through whatever it is I'm doing at the time, so that I can deal with the pain involved..but people do not need to know that. It only distances them from me more.  That's why I so much love to be with my friend Becky.  She acknowledges my  illness but then moves on to other topics of mutual interest.  To her, I am  a person who is challenged by pain...but more than that, I am her friend and we can talk for hours about non-medical topics.

Also, another point of challenge is getting people to understand that I will not get better...I will progressively become more and more hampered by the disease.  It doesn't matter if I am in a wheelchair, using a walker,or walking "free style"---I am in pain and sometimes, using a walker or wheelchair is impossible because it hurts my hands and arms too much to use them. It does not mean that I have been miraculously healed.  I do not deny the possibility of healing.  But I have not gotten any sense at all that that is God's plan for me.  Rather God has granted it to me to suffer.

I've been reading a book called Prepared: Living a Life of Faith in a Hostile World. and the author makes the point that daily enduring pain, illness, financial struggle, or whatever other difficulty we have--Does NOT mean that we am taking up  our cross or that we are suffering for Jesus' sake... The cross we are to bear is our identity with Jesus and our willingness to endure suffering or loss as the people in society are at odds with everything we believe in and will attempt to make us recant our faith.  And with that may come suffering and even death.  This is our cross.

HOWEVER, I think that my acceptance of  the lot God has allowed for me, is a discipline of endurance.  I  also think that should my faith bring me suffering for HIS name's sake, I will be much more able to endure pain because I have had all this training in suffering.  It is God's boot camp.  People may say "You are being paranoid....no one is going to cause you to suffer"--I don't know.  There are more and more examples of people being tortured, imprisoned or killed for their faith.  I live in a world that hates the Name of the One I adore and obey, and that world is getting bolder and bolder in encroaching upon  my Constitutional right to worship as I please. I do not know what is coming down the road...but I do know that we must be prepared. My illness has been my school. Andrew Murray wrote a book called  With Christ in the School of Pain ( I think that is the title) and that is exactly right.

I do not want to be a person who is obsessed with her own illness.  I want people to talk to me about differing topics as well. I feel so cut off and isolated from the Body of Christ.  I get all these telephone calls about various events going on in church or in our community and I am sad....because it is impossible for me to attend. Cookie swaps, Bingo, missionary outreaches in our community.  And that was just one week's events.  How can I be involved?  Sitting here in my recliner I think "Well I could do that.  I could go to this or that event:"  But then I have to put a grocery delivery away or do the dishes and I am slammed to the pavement. I can only be vertical for short spans of time. There is no getting around it.  This school is hard. But I must be thankful to God for this training and for helping me to get out on occasion.



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