November 30, 2012
What It Takes to Struggle with Something Hard
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Romans 8:37 (NIV)
Beginning in my twenties, I wrestled each day with chronic pain and fatigue. The first few years of it, doctors had no idea why.
Then came the diagnosis: fibromyalgia.
I was told this condition was poorly understood, not very treatable, and also not reversible. In fact, they called it "degenerative," meaning it would worsen as I aged. In short, doctors said I had no chance to conquer this pain.
The pain worsened for a couple years and I couldn't image what my life would be like five, ten or fifty years down the road. I prayed for deliverance.
Looking back I'm astonished that despite my pain, I continued to work a full time job and take courses for a master's degree. I really don't know how I did that—except through Christ—because it was such a struggle daily. To concentrate on my work or schoolwork took an inordinate amount of effort because I had to focus over top of the ever-present pain in the foreground. Not to mention, a lack of quality sleep.
Fibromyalgia was the thorn in my side, quite literally. And I leaned into God for strength. Often through tears.
A long-distance friend wrote me this week to tell me she was experiencing a near debilitating condition: fibromyalgia. She gave me permission to share a portion of what she wrote:
"Life has thrown me some pretty horrible punches and I have always gotten right back up. Except now. And to be honest with you, Rach, this is NOT a LIFE! And I can't BELIEVE that GOD would do this to me ... why isn't He healing me? All He has to do is say the word! I BEG Him to do that daily. While He keeps His mouth shut [on the healing] He did give me Psalm 88 the other night, and I cried a river. I was jumping for joy in my heart, but at the same time. Do you know what I mean?"
I did know what she meant. So I told her my story. I told her that I walked this painful path too. I gave her my best tips for physically managing this condition. I told her how I tried to do all the right things according to my doctors. How I prayed, and prayed, and prayed for healing—sometimes out of faith and sometimes out of desperation.
I told her how, seven years after my pain began, I was walking by a lake one day praying yet again for deliverance from this. And while I had often sensed God heard my prayers, this time I sensed He also answered. I sensed deliverance.
Year-eight saw me pain free from fibromyalgia—the incurable, degenerative condition doctors don't totally understand. My condition stopped degenerating that evening by the lake and instead began improving.
So in honesty and with compassion I told my friend:
"Will God heal you soon? I don't know."
"His ways are higher than our ideas of how things should go. But I can tell you this: It is possible. He hears your prayers and He is not indifferent to your plight. God loves you. Above all, don't equate your suffering with how God feels about you."
Because despite all this stuff we're struggling with, victory is ours through Christ who loves us.
I don't know what your story is today—what you are struggling with or against. But I know this: God knows your situation and He is not indifferent toward it or you. He loves you mightily! And His right arm is not too short to save you.
So lean into Him because you need His strength until His deliverance comes.
Lean in, pray and persevere despite the pain you are in. And keep hope alive in your heart. For this is how we struggle with something hard while holding the title "More than Conquerors in Christ." In Him overwhelming victory is ours.
Dear Lord, thank You for rescuing me from all my troubles–either here and now, or in eternity. Strengthen me until your deliverance is seen. I believe victory is overwhelmingly mine through You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit Rachel's blog today and leave her a prayer request. She will pray for you.
It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know by Rachel Olsen
Reflect and Respond:
Study and take heart today in the truth from Romans 8:18: "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." (NIV)
Romans 8:22-25, "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." (NIV)
© 2012 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 30 November 2012.