Tag Archives: chronic back pain

Whoever Has the Son Has Life…

12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. ~ 1 John 5:12  NLT ~

Image Credit: Whoever has the Son has eternal life.
Image Credit:
Whoever has the Son has eternal life.

What a powerful scripture! “Whoever has the Son has life…”

When we’re drowning in sorrow, as long as the Son of God dwells within us, we have life.

When pain overtakes our body, we still live, despite the affliction, because Christ lives within us.

No matter what we endure for His name’s sake, we still have life, as long as He remains within our hearts.

And though our world crumbles and falls, even still, we live in His name.

Yes, although we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we are assured that though we die, yet, we shall live, when the Son of God is our Lord and Savior.

Image Credit: Nevada Pain
Image Credit:
Nevada Pain

I live with chronic back pain that keeps worsening with the passage of time. It often renders me unable to do the simplest daily activities, things that you never even think about, until you can no longer do them for yourself. I now require help to do things such as…

  • Bathing myself…
    • Dressing myself…
      • Cooking…
        • Cleaning…
          • Handicap Parking…
            • Walking (I must use a cane)…
              • Shopping (I must use a scooter)…
                • Playing with my grandchildren…

My husband now carries the load of cooking, cleaning and caring for me, and while I am so thankful for this good man, I also worry that I’ve become a burden to him. When I express this concern to him, he asks me if I thought he was a burden, whenever he’s been sick and unable to do anything, and my answer is, “No, of course not. I love you.”

He then smiles at me, and replies, “I love you too,” and I know this is true. I don’t understand how or why, but I am so grateful to my God and Savior, who knew me before I was conceived in my mother’s womb, and chose me to be His. I am thankful, because He knew, long before He placed me in my mother’s womb, that I would one day suffer with chronic back pain, and He had a plan to help me endure it. For three years before I was born, He had created a little boy, who would one day grow up to be my husband. So, knowing the love and patience that would be required to help me endure, He gifted my husband with love, joy, patience, gentleness and kindness…

Image Credit: Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Image Credit:
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

I wish I could tell you that I’ve accepted my circumstances graciously, but that would be a lie. My faith has been attacked from every side, and there have been many times when I’ve given up. I’ve discovered that it’s much easier to believe that God will answer my prayers for others, than it is to believe that He will answer my prayers for myself. Therefore, like the father of the boy with the murderous deaf-mute spirit that tried to kill him, by throwing him into the fire or water, while his body was overcome with convulsions, I find myself uttering his same desperate cry to Jesus…

20 So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.

21 “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.

He replied, “Since he was a little boy. 22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if You can.”

 23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

25 When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, He rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” He said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!”

26 Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up.

28 Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with His disciples, they asked Him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?”

29 Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.” ~ Mark 9:20-29  NLT ~

Like this boy’s father, I desperately want to believe that Jesus will heal me, but what if that isn’t His will? What if His will is for me to endure this pain for reasons I don’t know? Oh, I know that many churches tell us that it is not God’s will for His people to suffer, but how do they explain the suffering endured by every one of the great heroes of faith?

  • Abel was murdered by his own brother because he offered a more acceptable gift to God than his brother…
    • Joseph suffered unjustly, betrayed by his brothers and sold as a slave. Then he became a prisoner in a country far from his home…
      • David, a man after God’s own heart, suffered greatly, chased by the murderous King Saul, losing his and Bathsheba’s first child to death, and later, betrayed by one of his own sons…
        • Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet, for he suffered greatly for the Kingdom of God.
          • Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were thrown in a fiery furnace…
            • Daniel was thrown in a den of lions...
          • 13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.  ~ Hebrews 11:13-16  NLT ~
        • 35 Women received their loved ones back again from death.

But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.

36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. 37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. 38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.

39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us. ~ Hebrews 11:35-40  NLT ~

Now, many might argue that these are all Old Testament examples, and that we are living under the New Covenant, not the Law, and that is true. However, let us not forget that God is the same today, yesterday and forever…

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. ~ Hebrews 13:8  NLT ~

17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.  ~ James 1:17  NLT ~

“I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.  ~ Malachi 3:6  NLT ~

While it is true that the examples above are Old Testament references, it is also true that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Not only did Old Testament men and women of God suffer for His name’s sake; New Testament men and women of God suffered as well…

And, because God is the same yesterday, today and forever, let us not forget that Old Testament and New Testament Christians weren’t the only ones to suffer…

  • Joni Eareckson Tada, a wonderful woman of God, with a powerful ministry, was in a terrible diving accident as a teen, and though she prayed for healing, it was God’s will for her to remain a quadriplegic, while still ministering for His glory.
    • Dave Roever, a godly man who served his country faithfully in the unpopular Vietnam war, was badly wounded by a hand grenade that exploded in his hand. Though his face was badly disfigured, he still gave glory to God, and ministered throughout the United States as an evangelist, then eventually returned to Vietnam as a missionary, at the Lord’s leading.
      • Patsy Clairmont, another woman of God, suffered for many years as an agoraphobic (fear of open places and crowds), before becoming an author and minister for the Lord.
        • Fanny Crosby, author of more than 8,000 hymns, loved the Lord and served Him faithfully, though she remained blind her entire life. And, rather than lamenting her circumstances, she once said, “Mother, if I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind… for when I die; the first face I will ever see will be the face of my blessed Saviour.”

Therefore, despite the things I’ve been taught, when I examine the scriptures and the history of the church, I have come to realize that it isn’t God’s will for His people to remain trouble free, no matter what we’ve been told. In fact, it seems to me that it is in the dark times of suffering, in our weaknesses that God’s strength is revealed. In fact, even the apostle Paul asked God to remove his suffering…

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-10  NLT ~

As I study the word of God, concerning suffering, I am beginning to understand that those who have claimed that my suffering is God’s punishment against me, are absolutely wrong, and it is they who do not understand what God’s word truly says about suffering…

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. ~ Romans 5:3-5  NKJV ~

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. ~ James 1:2-4  NLT ~

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later. ~ Romans 8:18  NLT ~

16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18  NLT ~

As I read the Word of the Lord, my faith is being renewed and restored. For too long, I’ve allowed the false teachings and the opinions of others to weigh me down, filling me with fear and doubt, which only magnifies the physical pain I must endure. As I write these words and share the words the Lord has given me, I believe that God will use them to strengthen and encourage others who are suffering as well. 

Beloved readers, don’t allow false teaching and man’s opinions to influence you. If someone tells you that it isn’t God’s will for you to suffer, or if they blame your circumstances on your lack of faith, don’t allow those words to fill you with shame. If someone tells you that your suffering is a punishment from God, or an attack from the devil, don’t allow those words to influence you.

Instead, 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33 NLTBeloved readers, don’t assume that your suffering is a punishment from God or an attack from the devil. And don’t assume that your suffering is not a part of God’s will for your life, because nothing happens by chance, and if you are truly a child of God, and you are living in obedience to Him, then He will keep you in His will. In fact, don’t even waste your time asking why you are suffering. Instead, remember these words that Jesus spoke to His disciples…

33  “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33  NLT ~

Finally, beloved readers, no matter what you are suffering, the most important thing for you to cling to is your relationship with Jesus. Have you been born again? If so, then whatever your circumstances are, no matter how much pain and suffering you endure, no matter how oppressed and depressed you are or have been, rejoice, because you have life!

25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying.” ~ John 11:25  NLT ~

12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.  ~ 1 John 5:12  NLT ~

In closing, I would like to share this final word with those people who are suffering and have never been born again. If you have read this post all the way to the end, rejoice, because God has not given up on you, and He can turn your suffering into a reason to rejoice, as well. It is not by chance that you found this post and read it; it is because God has led you here so that you can be born again and live.

In order to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you don’t have to pray a “Sinner’s Prayer.” You just need to  believe and do what the following scriptures say…

23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.  ~ Romans 3:23  NLT ~

According to this scripture, everyone has sinned against God, (except for Jesus, who was the Son of God and completely without sin). This means that every man, woman, boy and girl has sinned. It means that you have sinned, and I have sinned too. It means that even preachers and prophets have sinned. The scripture tells us that everyone has failed to meet the standard that God has set for us. This means that just as the worst criminal has fallen short of God’s glorious standard, we, too, have fallen short of His glorious standard. Do you believe this?

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  ~ Romans 6:23  NLT ~

According to God’s Law, the penalty for sinning and falling short of His glorious standard is death. As you can plainly see, there is no differential for how big or how small the sin is. It simply says that the payment or wages for sin is death. It sounds pretty hopeless, doesn’t it? But God had a rescue plan for us…

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.

18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.  ~ John 3:16-21  NLT ~

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.”  ~ John 14:6  NLT ~

27 Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God. 28 In the same manner Christ also was offered in sacrifice once to take away the sins of many. He will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are waiting for Him. ~ Hebrews 9:27-28  GNT ~

Do you believe this? Would you like to be born again and saved, so that you can spend eternity with the King of all kings and Lord of all lords? Would you like to have a personal relationship with the One who loved you before He laid the foundations of the earth?

Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. ~ Ephesians 1:4  NLT ~

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. ~ Romans 10:9-10  NLT ~

Do you believe all of this? If so, openly declare it, so that all will know that you have been reborn. Then, to help you grow in your faith, begin reading and studying the Bible, for its pages contain God’s word. You don’t need to read large portions either. Instead, before you begin to read, ask God to give you an understanding heart. Then, read a small portion of it… (i.e. – John 1 is a good place to start, so begin reading John 1:1-5. Then, read it again, out loud, and meditate {think} about what it says. You might want to study just that small portion for a week, and write your thoughts about it. Then, begin reading the next portion and meditate on it.) [If you don’t have a bible, you can visit Bible Gateway and read the bible in any version you prefer. Try several different versions, and see which ones are the easiest to understand.]

Also, ask God to place other believers in your life, so that you can worship with them and grow spiritually. Welcome into the family of God, beloved reader. If I can help you in your new walk with God, write me a message and I will answer you and pray for you. God bless you!

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Heal Me, O Lord, And I Shall Be Healed

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.

(Jeremiah 17:14 NKJV)

I’ve been in a lot of pain lately. For the last two years, I’ve suffered chronic back pain, and my back seriously hurts all the time, except for a few days, that could probably all be counted on one hand. It’s been — well — painful. As I’ve said before, I’ve had to stop working because the pain has been so great.

But last month, things took a turn for the worst. My chronic pain became acute pain. Whereas before I suffered from frequent insomnia due to pain, I now suffered from constant insomnia. The pain would not let me rest. But God! 

I don’t want to write something dark and gloomy, nor do I want to make my pain any more or less than what it is. I thought my pain was pretty horrible up until a month ago, when suddenly, for some unknown reason, it became more acute than before, and this time, instead of the pain radiating on my left side, it moved to my right side. It was a sharp, constant burning/aching pain. It’s been horrible.

At any rate, Friday, my church was having a special service, with an Evangelist that I had never met before, and I wanted to go — especially since I hadn’t been to my own church in more than a month. Therefore, I called my pastor to come and pick me up, because I was not able to drive with the pain medication I’ve been taking. It causes drowsiness, and I didn’t want to risk falling asleep at the wheel and killing myself or someone else.

I was in a lot of pain when my pastor picked me up, but I was determined to go to the service. As the evangelist was ministering, she suddenly stopped right in the middle of her message… right in the middle of a sentence, and she said, “Oh, ouch. I’ve never felt like this before. Oh the pain. I’m feeling a sharp burning pain in my back, like a pinched nerve, but it’s not my pain. Someone here has terrible pain in their back. I feel it. It’s sharp, like a pinched nerve.” I listened closely. I knew in my spirit right away, who she was talking about, and she mentioned it a couple of more times as she was preaching, but I said nothing to indicate she was talking about me.

You see, I figured if the Lord had a word for me, He would reveal to her who it was that had the pain. As soon as she was finished preaching, she walked over to me, and began to pray that the Lord would heal my back. She was for real. After she prayed for me, I sat down. I was still in pain, but the Lord whispered this scripture in my heart, and told me that I need to speak it over myself…

Photo Credit: https://versaday.com/Months/12/1206.aspx

 

I went home that night, and I was too wired to sleep. Again, I felt no improvement, but I knew that the Lord had put that scripture on my heart, and so I repeated it to Him… Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise. When I finally went to bed at around 2:00am, I slept until 12:30pm. That’s the longest I’ve slept in months!

Then, when I got up that day, the acute pain was gone. Yes, I still have this nagging, chronic pain, but I can deal with that. I couldn’t deal with the acute pain. I can’t even begin to describe how debilitating that was for me, but now, the Lord had delivered me from that acute pain. It’s now Tuesday night, and yes, I’m in pain, but the acute pain is still gone. Hallelujah!

And since the Lord put that scripture on my heart, I’m one who likes to dissect the word and see what it means… Therefore, I’m going to break this down — as much for me as for you.

Heal me, O Lord and I shall be healed the original Hebrew word for Heal is Rapha (pronounced raw-faw), which means:

  • to heal, make healthful
  • of God
  • healer, physician (of men)

When I pray this, I am telling the Lord to heal me, make me healthy, and I believe that when I speak these words, I shall be healed. If God put it on my heart to pray this prayer, would He then not do what His word says He will do? 

He also tells me Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. (Psalm 37:4 NASB) So, let’s be clear on this. I am supposed to delight myself in the Lord. If I’m going to do this properly, then I need to know exactly what it means to delight myself in the Lord.

Photo Credit: http://www.pics22.com/pics/bible-quotes/page/36/

The Hebrew word for delight is `anag (pronounced aw-nag’), and that means:

  • to be soft, be delicate, be dainty
  • to be delicate
  • to be of dainty habit, be pampered
  • to be happy about, take exquisite delight
  • to make merry over, make sport of

Therefore, to delight oneself in the Lord is to have a soft spot for Him. When you’re in love with someone, have you ever had a place within your heart that’s just like mush for him/her? And when that person looks at you, or whispers an endearment to you, you know how your heart does a little flip-flop? Sometimes you feel weak in the knees? You feel sort of shaky and breathless? That’s how God wants us to feel about Him.

You know how it is when that one that you love starts walking to you, and you get all giggly and excited? You’re extremely happy that he/she is coming towards you or calling you or texting you… Have you ever felt like that? This is what it means to delight yourself in the Lord. You get all giddy as you read His word, and as He speaks to you. There’s an excitement and a joy within you that’s palpable. This is how it is when you delight yourself in the Lord.

When we delight ourselves in the Lord, it moves Him, because He delights in us. Did you know that? Check this scripture out — it’s one of my favorites!

The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

(Zephaniah 3:17 NIV)

Photo Credit: http://alifetimeofwisdom.com/category/scriptures/

Do you see? It’s when we delight ourselves in the Lord, that He is delighted in return, and He then gives us the desires of our heart… He quiets us with His love…. Sometimes, I need to be quieted, when my body is wracked with pain… When my heart is broken, and I just can’t seem to get past it… When I’m angry… When I’m fearful… These are the times, that I begin thinking on the goodness of the Lord… and as I do, He begins to quiet me with His love.

As He rejoices in my love for Him, He begins to sing over me… Sometimes, if you listen closely, you can almost hear His voice as He sings His songs of love for us… And as I delight in Him, He gives me the desires of my heart… 

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.

(Jeremiah 17:14 NKJV)

Save me, and I shall be saved The Hebrew word for save is Yasha` (pronounced yaw-shah’) and it means:

  • to save, be saved, be delivered
  • to be liberated, be saved, be delivered
  • to be saved (in battle), be victorious
  • to save, deliver
  • to save from moral troubles
  • to give victory to
Photo Credit: http://jtbarts.com/2012/11/set-free-jesus-my-ransom/

What binds you? What holds you captive? Is it sex? Money? Drugs? Alcohol? Bitterness? Unforgiveness? So many people try to make deliverance more complicated that it is. If the devil, the enemy of your soul can convince you that it’s impossible, then deliverance from these things will be impossible. Deliverance is really very simple, but people have bought into the enemy’s lies, and so they repeat those lies to you… “You’ll never change”… “My whole family is like this, and I can’t help it. It’s in my genes”… “I tried Jesus, and maybe that works for you, but it doesn’t work for me”… “Well, God knows my heart. He knows I want to quit ____, but I just can’t.”

Have you bought into those lies? Let me tell you the truth. Jesus is not just something you try for a while to see if it works out for you. He is the Son of the living God, not a new soft drink or recipe that you try to see if you like Him or not. Don’t fool yourself. He does know your heart, better than you do, and He knows if you sincerely want a relationship with Him or not. 

Do you know that when I married my husband more than 31 years ago, I made a vow to love him for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, until death parts us? Let me tell you, he’s had a lot of sickness. He’s had five surgeries that I can think of right off the top of my head (I think more, but can’t remember them all)… He’s had numerous hospitalizations. I haven’t seen the richer part, but I’ve sure seen the poorer… We’ve had some wonderful times that would classify as for better… And we’ve had some worse times, times when my flesh wanted to call it quits, but the Lord kept reminding me that I made a vow to love him, even when he was being unlovable. (And for the record, my husband has gone through some poor times, some sick times and some worse times with me, but he made a vow to love me, and he has kept that vow.)

Photo Credit: http://www.prayerthoughts.com/

I shared all of that to say to you, it’s not enough just to “try” Jesus and see if He gives you what you want. I made a vow to Jesus that I would love Him for richer or poorer, just as I did with my husband, and I’m not rich in material things, but I am rich in love, and in mercy and grace. I don’t care if I have to scrape my next meal out of a dumpster, I will still delight myself in the Lord, because I trust Him to take care of me, and if I die, hallelujah! To be absent from my body is to be present with the Lord.

Until I am completely healed, or until He takes me home, I will continue to delight myself in the Lord, because He makes all things work together for my good — even the pain — because I love Him and He has called me according to His purpose. And what is His purpose? He came to heal the brokenhearted, to preach the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison doors.

Until I am completely healed, or until He takes me home, I will continue to declare the goodness of God, and I will also continue to pray:

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.

(Jeremiah 17:14 NKJV)

Are you sick and tired? Are you lonely and brokenhearted? Are you deaf, mute, blind or lame? The same Jesus who worked miracles over 2000 years ago still lives, and He still works miracles. Why don’t you cry out to Jesus? Don’t just try Him, commit yourself to Him… delight yourself in Him, and watch how He changes your life.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Is A Christian Supposed to Suffer?

It’s almost 4:00 in the morning, and I’ve been wide awake and unable to sleep. I should be tired, but I’m wide awake and haven’t been to bed yet. I think I’m all turned around because I’ve been up all night every night for the last month, due to acute pain. Tonight is different, though. The acute pain has subsided. Praise God!

Photo Credit: http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com

I’ve been suffering from chronic, constant back pain for the last two years, and I let me tell you, I DO NOT LIKE PAIN. Okay, so most people don’t like pain, but I just needed to get that off my chest. Anyway, I’ve been in constant pain, due to spinal stenosis, spondylosis, spinal arthritis, bulging discs, and scoliosis, and it has been getting progressively worse. On various occasions throughout this time, I’ve also suffered from flare-ups, when the pain would become sharp and relentless.

It’s been so bad that I am no longer able to work, because I’m no longer dependable. Those who know me, know that I am a very responsible, dependable person. If I say that I will be somewhere at a certain time, you can count on me being there a few minutes early. It was the same with my job. Prior to my chronic back pain, I was always at work on time, and for the most part, I enjoyed my job. However, as time went on, I began to lose sleep at night, and it was harder and harder for me to get up at 5:30am and get ready for work. As the pain continued and especially during flare-ups, I began missing work, and  I found it increasingly difficult to be on time.

Photo Credit: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/figures/A00626F01.jpg

Walking from the parking lot, down the stairs to the time clock and then to my office became a constant struggle, during which I would pray, “Lord, please help me. Lord, please let me be able to take the next step…” I went back and forth to see my doctor, who in turn sent me for x-rays, an MRI, lab work, and physical therapy. When the therapy failed to work, she then sent me to a pain management clinic, and they gave me spinal injections, which helped at first, but eventually, like the therapy, they were no longer effective.

This has been a real struggle for me, and I’ve battled with depression off and on, but thank God, the depression never lasts for long, because the Lord is with me, speaking to me and encouraging me throughout this ordeal. I wondered if my pain could be an attack from the devil, but the Lord spoke to me and let me know that He is in control, and that my pain is not an attack from the devil, but part of His will, and that this is something that I need to walk through with Him.

Photo Credit: http://chernjam.blogspot.com/2011/06/trinity-sunday-for-god-so-loved-world.html

Now, that may be a difficult concept for people to grasp, that a loving God would not only allow one of His children to suffer from pain, but that He would even ordain it. However, I want you to consider this… Jesus is God’s only begotten Son. Sure, those of us who are born again Christians are His children, but Jesus was His beloved Son, in whom God was well pleased, and yet… God ordained Jesus’ suffering. He ordained His pain. Indeed, God ordained Christ’s death. And we know that God had a good plan and purpose for ordaining it. 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

(John 3:16 NKJV)

Photo Credit: http://www.venerable.co/2012/08/obedient-to-point-of-death.html

God wanted to save the world, and the only way to do that was to allow His Son to suffer, bleed and die a horrible death on the cross, and out of the depths of His love for mankind (you and me) He ordained it, and Jesus gladly went along with this plan. Isn’t that amazing? Jesus knew that He was going to have to suffer the most horrible pain that we can imagine, and He not only agreed to do it, He joyfully, willingly allowed Himself to be the sin sacrifice for all of mankind.

 Though He was God, He did not demand and cling to His rights as God. He made Himself nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross…

(Philippians 2:6-8 NLT)

Can you imagine that? The King of kings and the Lord of lords, left all of His splendor, all of His glory and riches behind, to become the Son of a peasant woman, who had no riches. He chose to be born at a time in history when there was no running water, no indoor plumbing, no air-conditioning in the summer, no heat in the winter. He chose to be born in a rough, dirty stable, rather than in an accredited hospital. And He was willing to do all of this because of the joy that would be His afterward.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy He knew would be His afterward. Now He is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven.

(Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT)

Photo Credit: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-joy-set-before-him-jamey-lee–balester-lopez.html

Do you know what His joy was? He took great joy in knowing that because of His suffering and death on the cross, I would be saved. He took great joy in knowing that men, women and children throughout the ages would hear about what He had done for them, and they would turn away from their sins and cry out to Him for salvation. Isn’t that wonderful? He did all of that for us! Sure, He knew that some of you wouldn’t want anything to do with Him. He knew that some would completely reject Him, just as many did when He hung on the cross, but still, He gladly did it, knowing that one day some of us would come to know Him, love Him and serve Him.

So what does all of this have to do with my back pain? If God ordained that Jesus should suffer, why do so many people think that we should be exempt from it? Think about it… Peter, James, John and all the rest of Jesus’ disciples suffered greatly for the cause of Christ. They were tortured mercilessly, and suffered horrific deaths. According to church history:

  1. Peter was hung upside down on a cross.
  2. Paul was beheaded.
  3. James was put to death with a sword. (He was likely beheaded)
  4. John was put in a cauldron of boiling oil, though this did not kill him
Photo Credit: http://www.oneglory.org/2010/05/god-suffering-2-why-do-i-suffer.html

As you can see, the early Christians suffered terribly. Indeed, Christians in other countries around the world are persecuted and suffer terribly, so how is it that American Christians have come to believe that they are exempt from suffering? Indeed, whenever someone suffers from chronic pain, diseases or other illnesses, some self-righteous Christians question whether the person who is suffering has sinned or whether they do not have enough faith.

I submit to you that these Christians who claim that it isn’t God’s will for Christians to be sick or to suffer do not know what they’re talking about, because sometimes it is God’s will for some people to suffer for reasons that we don’t know. You see, God doesn’t think like we think.

 “My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

(Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT)

I’m not even going to pretend to understand why God has ordained me to suffer with chronic back pain, or for how long I will have to deal with it. I don’t know if this is temporary, and it will pass, or if it will continue for the rest of my life. Either way, I will continue to love and serve God. Maybe this sounds strange to you, but when the Lord spoke to my heart that He had ordained my suffering, and that I would have to walk through it, I found great solace in that.

Photo Credit: http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/196826_10151328854284939_303629560_n.jpg

You see, although I HATE being in pain, when I learned that God had ordained it, I realized that this was not some terrible random thing that has happened to me. When I learned that God had ordained this pain, I knew that my back pain is part of His plan for me, and even though I don’t know why it has to be this way, He can be trusted, because He will make this work out for my good, because I love Him and I am called according to His purpose. When I realized that God had ordained my pain, I realized that I am not alone. He is with me, and He can be trusted to take care of me.

This post didn’t go where I thought it would go, but I believe this is what God wants His people to understand. Are you a man or woman of God? Are you suffering from an illness, or disease, or pain? If so, don’t just assume it’s an attack from the devil. Sometimes we give him more credit than he deserves. Ask God if your pain, illness or disease is ordained by Him, for His glory? If it is, rejoice in it, because that just means that He’s got a marvelous plan for the furtherance of His kingdom.

In closing, I leave you this final scripture to hold in your heart:

 So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for He will never fail you.

(1 Peter 4:19 NLT)

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

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