It has often been said, a person is not ready to live unless he is ready to die. And to live passionately, we must live purposefully. However, when one is suffering from chronic illness--an illness that seemingly won't go away, it becomes hard, very hard-we begin to question who God is and if He really cares for me. But to live purposefully we must always be mindful of the frailty of this body, and the uncertainty of the time if and when a chronic illness will occur. Richard Baxter, who lived with a chronic illness most of his adult life said, "I preach as though I may never preach again, and as a dying man to a dying man." Thus, we can glean that all of us have a chronic illness-the frailty of the human body, though one may be more evident than the other.
As we look at chronic illness we must look at Paul who said, "to die is gain." (Philippians1:21) He did not mean that believers should desire death because they hate life or that we should not grieve over the death of our loved one." But Paul meant that we should discover the reality of this life-that one day these bodies will play out (whether chronic illness or perfect health) and that we will gain an eternity with a loving God that orchestrated every moment of our lives, which may have included a chronic illness.
Chronic illness is when our bodies don't work like we want them to. Thus, we seek a new normal; we begin a journey in which we learn to recognize our humanness, rest in God's presence, and ultimately find new life. It is not about do we have enough faith or can we name or claim wellness as a sure thing. It is about being O.K. with what a Sovereign God has decided for our lives in which He may make us well and He may not.
The journey that we embark on with chronic illness may be the best journey of our lives. For chronic illness will take us to places we have never been such as:
- We begin to listen deeply to God and our bodies. We have to acknowledge His sovereignty and the changing needs within our own bodies. We need more intimacy with Him; we need more sleep, we need to ease up in our daily routine, take a break, etc. And during these slowdowns, an opportunity to be closer to Him awaits.
- We begin to adjust rhythm. When we start listening to God and our bodies, we are nourished spiritually, physically, and emotionally like we have never experienced. We find a comfort and a pace that promotes peace instead of hurriedness.
- And lastly, engaging with God on a daily and desperate basis is to operate from a place of security and less from a place of stress. We enjoy and share from His abundance, instead of our own strength. And we embrace the present as the place where God wants us to be, and promises to be right beside us every step of the way. And that is the best place to be.
First, be open with God about your struggle. Be open with Him about your need for help. Second, talk to a godly person you know and trust. Setting up an appointment with a Christian counselor can help you through the process.
List of Professional Counselors
- Battling Unbelief, by John Piper
- A Place of Healing, by Joni Eareckson Tada
- Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, by John Piper & Justin Taylor
- Disability & The Sovereign Goodness of God, by John Piper & Tony Reinke
If you would like to talk with someone further about Chronic Illness, please contact