Chronic illnesses, such as ME, arthritis, fibromyalgia, etc., bring with it so many different emotions. It is difficult enough living with exhaustion and unrelenting pain. However, these emotions can rear their ugly heads often. Emotions such as anger, loneliness, grief, anxiety, etc. are ones we deal with. From what I have been reading, these are all normal for us.
Often times, because we are Christians, we are told just to have more faith, trust Jesus because he’s all we need. These statements are true, however, they put us off from ever sharing how we truly are feeling. How many of us really have someone we are able to share with about what is going on inside our hearts and minds?
Having studied the life of David and reading the Psalms, I see he was a man of God not afraid to share with him how he felt. He was very open with God. I have been in churches where they say it’s rude to be open with God, as if we never get angry with him and if we did, how dare we say so. Please know it is okay to tell God we are angry and don’t understand why we are suffering. It is okay to cry out to him in anguish because we have lost those things we used to love to do. It is okay to feel frustrated when the healing doesn’t come.
In my own personal time with God, I have begun to be honest about what struggles I am facing. There are days I feel lonely in this illness and need encouragement, other days I grieve and feel rather depressed. I have even fussed at God for allowing all of this to happen. Even when I don’t have the words to say, I just remind God that he knows and I leave my feelings with him. I have found in doing so, peace and joy begin to overflow my heart. I have also found listening to praise and worship music and hymns, and reading God’s word very helpful on the most difficult days. Sometimes, just reading a simple devotion helps.
With winter around the corner, I find we tend to suffer more in silence. May we take the time to cry out to God, even if it’s just short sentences or groans. He sees our tears, he knows our hearts. Be honest with him. God is bigger than us and our situations. He loves us and desires for us to be honest with him. David was a man after God’s own heart because of his honesty. May we be men and women after God’s heart.
May we also support, pray for, and encourage each other. Listen. Truly listen and be a friend that cares. You would be surprised what a difference it makes to be able to share with someone how you feel.
Be encouraged, you are not alone. God is always with us. He can handle whatever comes our way. Seek God himself, not just for the healing, not just for blessings, but for who he is. I promise you will be blessed yourself.
I close with a favourite Psalm of mine during difficult times. I have repeated verses 5 especially in my prayers. It is Psalm 42:1-6a
1 As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. 2 I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? 3 Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, “Where is this God of yours?” 4 My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be; I walked among the crowds of worshippers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration! 5 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again- my Saviour and 6 my God!