Most of us deal with a certain level of pain, but few of us live in the kind of tenacious pain that lingers and just doesn’t let up. For years, like clockwork, I lived with regular migraines that could put me to bed. I’d battle it for days, but eventually the migraine would win and knock me out of commission for a day before releasing its grip. But I have a few friends that live with unending pain, chronic pain that seems to have no end. If you are one of those, my heart goes out to you, and I’m posting these suggestions prayerfully, not as an expert, but as one who cares for you and is so sorry for your suffering.
As I’ve been walking with one of my dearest friends through her season of pain, these are a few things I’ve shared with her, and I invite you to listen in today. You may not need these suggestions, but perhaps you have someone in your life that could use them.
Battle the Lie
When you’re in the thick of suffering, it’s easy to believe that things will never get better, that you’ll never again be without pain. Even if a doctor has told you that nothing can be done and that you’ll just have to learn to live with it, don’t allow yourself to believe that. No one knows what the future holds, not even the most well educated doctor. The future is unknown, therefore to believe things will never improve isn’t a fact within the category of “truth.” I encourage you to focus on what is true. Yes, today you’re experiencing intense pain, but that doesn’t mean it will always be this way. New medical discoveries are made every day, and more importantly, remember that Jesus is the same Physician today that He has always been.
Don’t Punish Yourself
Don’t place on yourself unrealistic expectations and debilitating shame. Allow yourself the freedom to suffer physical pain without the added stress of emotional punishment. There is no reason to feel guilty that you can no longer keep the same pace or fulfill the same responsibilities that you could before this condition. Accept this as your “new” normal, but not necessarily your “permanent” normal.
Receive From Others
Allow others to use their time, gifts, and energy to love you well by serving you in this time of need. Don’t push help away with the thought that you don’t want to “bother” others or to “put them out.” Allow the body of Christ to function like God intends; allow others to help you bear this burden. Joyfully receive ministry from them, just as you have joyfully ministered to others.
Don’t Give Up
Don’t place on yourself unrealistic expectations, but also don’t resign yourself to live immobilized either. You may not be able to do much, but take small “trips.” Whether it’s going outside for a brief walk to the mailbox or a ride in the car with a friend, get a change of scenery at least once a day. Battle the tendency to give in to self-pity—have a friend that you’ve charged with the task of helping you to battle that. Give them permission to lovingly “get in your face” if they see you going down that road. Seek out encouragers if none are checking on you, don’t suffer in isolation—let others know you need their friendship and support now more than ever.
Cling to Truth
Your mind may be clouded with drugs, you may struggle to focus because of your pain . . . but no matter how difficult it is, ask God to give you the grace needed to “cling to truth.” Find a way to get truth into your head and heart daily—whether it’s through an audio Bible app, a friend who commits to regularly read portions of Scripture to you, or because you push through the pain and fog to read aloud to yourself. Ask God to give you just one nugget of truth that you can carry with you through the long day, and can meditate on in the painful night hours. You might even compile a simple plan for the week where you list truths for each day: “Truth for Monday: God will supply the grace I need for this day (2 Corinthians 12:9)” and then repeat those the following week.
You may not see any purpose at all in the suffering, but trust me, God never functions without purpose and He can use this season in your life to grow you, to inspire others, and to glorify Himself. If you are walking through a season of pain, please share with us in the comment section below and we will join you in your suffering through interceding for you!
[box]I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
O may Your lovingkindness comfort me,
According to Your word to Your servant.
May Your compassion come to me that I may live,
For Your law is my delight. (Psalm 119:75–77)[/box]