You have a disease. Or many illnesses. It cripples your mornings, costs your afternoons, and keeps you up at night. You take whatever medicine the doctor tells you to take, feel better or worse, find some hope, lose some hope, and do it all over again.
You’re sick and tired of people telling you why you’re sick when every part of your body that’s hurting feels like it has its own heartbeat.
Then someone tells you you’re sick because of the sin in your life. You’ve heard the speeches about how you should eat better and that you did this to yourself, but you haven’t heard this before.
Please remember this one thing, dear friend:
Remember the blind man Jesus healed.
Remember Jesus’ words when his disciples asked him who had sinned and why the man was born blind. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:1-3).
I’m not a theologian nor a preacher, but I don’t think it’s hard to understand what Jesus is simply saying here.
What we think is unfortunate in our lives could very well be one of the deepest, most amazing ways God displays His glory. It’s through the trial. It’s through the aching. It’s through our sickness.
Every once in a while, I’ll find myself trying to make sense of pain and suffering. Yes, it’s a very large thought indeed. While my mind will start racing to answer, Jesus steps in and halts my mind.
Perhaps pain draws us to God. Perhaps we cannot grow spiritually or even morally for that matter if pain was non-existent; we cannot show compassion unless there is someone in desperate cry for care. We cannot give to the needy if no one has less than us. Everyone’s pain is an opportunity to show His tender-hearted love.
I don’t know your story or what chronic illness you’re going through, but I do have empathy for you. I understand because I know chronic pain—I know it well and I’ve known it for years. I know the agony of what disease does to our body and how the pain feels like a never-ending heart attack. I know the feeling of wanting to toss the papers that read normal life out the window. Our stories may be totally different or on the contrary seemingly similar. We may not understand why we have a disease, but our pain is not hopeless. And our pain isn’t because of the reasons a random person online tells us it is; there is no one cause of pain. It’s what God himself is stirring in us; what God is doing in us through it for others. And it’s beautiful.
We all know that all it takes is one forged smile to hide an aching soul—to hide what’s really going on. Be real with the ones that love you; hold their hands while you’re sipping your morning coffee and pour your heart out. Talk with others going through chronic pain, you’re not alone. Don’t let the words of others that don’t understand dictate your hope.
Have faith in the pain. Remember the blind man Jesus healed—remember His words, dear friend.
photo: kendall lauren vegan photography