Having a chronic illness is a challenge in more areas than just a bad body day or remembering to take loads of daily meds.
There are days my body rebels against my will and on those days I may lay on my bed or in the living room on the sofa and groan with disappointment and pain. I may cry through words or tears, as I find my heart sinking from the weakness in my body. I have noticed when I reach the point of groaning its mostly due to the disappointment and sadness of spending another day horizontal. Another day of a schedule canceled or at the least severely disrupted yet again. There may also be a groan of fear for what is ahead for me in the temporal and a grumbling for dreams deferred. Lamenting a healthy body I once had… Sometimes I really just run out of words or am tired of thinking the same things and find there is nothing left but a groan.
I recently found there is an alternative groan, a better way. Paul shares in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 that the groaning I experience can be viewed from a different perspective that is of an encouraging nature rather than contributing to the potential for a negative mindset that will only drag me deep into the depths of despair. This groaning is the cry of expectation that overflows from a heart looking ahead to the eternal. My being, what makes me who I am knows that something is amiss. I was not made for this chronic illness. We, me AND you, may groan and become tearful over various types of pain but there is a deeper place of understanding in our spirit regarding the pain our temporal bodies feel.
Whether I am conscious of it, and now I will be more so than I have ever been… deep within my soul I am longing for home, for Heaven. In heaven, there will be no sickness or pain. There I, we, will have a trouble-free, pain-free, existence surrounded by eternal, unconditional love and light. My new body will work perfectly and my heart will be constantly overflowing with love and joy and my mind, well it will be free and clear of clutter and chaos.
I have decided, after reading Pauls words and chewing on them for a bit, that this challenge my body has here in this life does not have to be a period, it can be a comma. The comma can signify a breath taken in a sentence of a chapter of our life story that points toward the significance of pacing self as our story unfolds. My groan can now reflect a seeking of peace, restoration, wholeness, and redemption which fosters hope. I have despaired of hope and it’s a pain that burns just as deep as the fire of hope when I am able to turn the despair on its head! When I cannot His strength is sufficient for me to hold on until hopefulness returns! This is real life and I am just human and the Father knows this and I believe He is patient with me as I work all this out through Him and apply His word to my heart and life each day.
I now desire my groans and tears to point me toward Christ and eternal life rather than to despair. My suffering is but a moment incompatible to eternity. That isn’t to say I enjoy it or I just shrug it off because it is very real in moments of pain but I can now recently myself intentionally and seek refuge in that the Father has provided through His word. My tears depict there should be more. There is a heavenly body to look forward to, this mortal body is a brief shell. Someday soon I will have a new body forever and be home with Jesus and all of Heaven.
This brings me to HOPE! Enduring and persevering is found rooted in hope and we hope when we have a solid belief or even the smallest hope of something on the otherwise of the need to endure and preserve. We press forwards because something in us says “It’s worth it, press on!”. We can have a hope in Christ and our Heavenly reward that is secure. We as humans love security, seek security, and become distressed when we do not have security.