Questions: Discouragement

Hey folks, every Thursday on my blog I take questions from you. They can be personal questions, questions about faith, theology, whatever you have on your mind. You can submit questions on this thread or if you want to remain anonymous you can email me at mikewise77@gmail.com

Today’s question comes from Rachel who says:

I have been disabled due to lymphedema since 2005. I deal with chronic pain and depression daily. I asked God for help and guidance with this condition. I get two steps ahead and then I get a cold or flu and end up with a leg infection (cellulitis) and I end up taking ten steps back. I do what the doctors tell me. I have lost over 100 lbs closer to 150 lbs, and I keep my leg wrapped 24/7, take my medicine but I still dont get any relief from this problem. I am unable to exercise due to not being able to wear a shoe. I do chair exercises but I need more. I get so discouraged and lose faith in God and I know that is wrong, but sometimes my discouragement gets the best of me.

I empathize with your pain Rachel, sometimes in life we seem to be to be hit with bad luck all at once, and then we go to God in prayer and we ask for relief and none comes. SO we are left seemingly on our own trying to get by the best that we can, searching for any relief that we might be able to find and doing what we can to enjoy life.

Over the last several years I myself have dealt with conditions of varying degrees that have caused me some pain and suffering. I’ve had dizzy spells that have lasted months, chronic shoulder pain and an anxiety condition that makes me fear the absolute worst things in life. Like a lot of people these conditions as I deal with them are the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about when I go to sleep. It’s  not easy and anyone who would dare say that living with chronic conditions like lymphedema is easy or that we should just tough it out has obviously never had a condition like this themselves.

So what do we do when we get discouraged by this> When we cry out to GOd and he seems to not hear us and he doesn’t lift a finger to heal us?

Rachel first of all, I thought of you when I wrote my post earlier this week on the laments in the bible, check out that post I think it will help. The thing is you are not alone, many of the key biblical figures that we read about dealt with pain, anxiety, grief, Even those that we would think had a direct line to God wondered where he was and why he deserted them(read Psalm 22) We read about healing in the bible and we tend to think that it was a common occurrence but in the scheme of things it really wasn’t. For every invalid that Jesus healed there were thousands more who were left in their afflictions. Healing and miracles are rare occurrences, they are meant to show the great glory of God. Most of us won’t be healed and even if we are healed from one thing or another we will still get sick enough or injured enough that we will eventually die. That’s the harsh reality in our broken world.

It’s easy to allow that to discourage us but I have been learning things that have encouraged me instead of discouraging me. Because I believe that I am learning lessons from the very pain that I deal with, lessons that I would otherwise never be able to learn.

The life that I have lived for the last 35 years has in many ways broken my heart. I’ve had dreams that have been unfulfilled I’ve lost people that I have loved and I’ve dealt with pain and mental illness. Part of me wants relief from all of this, to live a life in this world that is happy where I make money and I have kids and I work doing things I love but what I’ve learned is that all of these things pale in comparison to the richness that can only be had through intimacy with God through Jesus. If I can experience peace there than it doesn’t matter what this world throws at me. So I believe that God has allowed me to go through pain so that the idols I’ve chased after in this life could be broken. That my need for just a good life and for happiness would be surpassed for my deepest longing and need which is the God who could give me that life. The first aim of this life isn’t to be a good person, it’s not to be rich or to be happy, it’s not even salvation, salvation is what gives us the chance to enter into the first aim of this life which is simply to enjoy God and allow him the chance to enjoy us.

I’d love for you to read a book  I recently finished Rachel it’s called Shattered Dreams it’s by Larry Crabb, it deals with this exact subject matter and if you need a copy let me know and I will send one right out to you.

I hope this has encouraged you and I join with you in praying for a relief from your pain, but until that happens let it draw you closer to God because he loves you and thinks you are amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

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Seat Belts

seat belt

seat belt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is something that you should know about me. I don’t normally wear seat belts. It’s not that I forget to put it on I purposefully have refused to wear one. It’s not normally something that I talk about with many people, it’s kind of an awkward conversation right? Usually when someone points it out I’ll just buckle up, especially when riding in someone elses car. I figure it is a sign of respect towards someone in their own car. Besides, again, it would be an awkward conversation.

“Hey man make sure you buckle up.”

“Oh well I don’t normally wear seat belts”

“Why not?”

The thing is… I don’t really have a good answer for this, not one that would make sense to many folks. I have seen the data that has proven that wearing a seat belt is safer. I’ve also seen the sensationalist pictures and videos they show of what happens to people when they don’t.

But, you see, all the facts and data mean nothing to me. Because the one time I needed a seat belt to work it didn’t. Many of you who know me know that my brother died in a car accident back in 2001. He was wearing his belt and his airbag deployed. He still died. When you lose your best friend all the facts and data go right out the window.

If a seat belt couldn’t save the one person I needed it to save, what the hell do I care what happens to me?

See? I told you, not a good reason.

Well recently I got a new car, a 2006 Chevy HHR. Being a newer model car it has a signal that goes off after you’ve started driving that reminds you to buckle up. I was chatting with my wife about this and during the conversation she told me that it would mean a lot to her if I wore my seat belt while driving.

The things we do for love.

Don’t get me wrong, I think our need and desire for safety has in many ways led to much paranoia in our modern society, but if my wearing a seat belt is going to male my wife feel better about me driving than I can take the 2 seconds it takes to buckle up for her. But that’s not the real reason I’ve changed my mind

In Matthew 4 Jesus is tempted by Satan to show his power by throwing himself from off of a temple so that the angels would catch him. But Jesus resists saying that one should not put God to the test. When we do reckless things in life aren’t we putting God to the test? I think there is some truth to that but that’s also not the reason why I’ve changed my mind

In it’s own strange way, the signal informing me I’ve forgotten to buckle up has also informed me that it’s time that I let go of some of the strongholds I have held onto for so long. It has reminded me that life goes on. It’s just the next step in my healing that has been going on for some time. In a lot of ways my refusal to buckle up has been about anger, and my anger is one of the strongholds that has hindered my walk with God. It’s time that I start the process of letting it go.

So since buying the new car I have remembered to buckle up every time that I have driven it. It’s a small thing sure, one that many people do all of the time, but it’s a big step for me. As big a step as going back to church was. Maybe someday I’ll be able to claim that I’m not an angry person anymore. That’s my hope.

How about you? What is something seemingly small in your life that you feel you’ve been led to do that has helped with your healing?