Tag Archives: chronic 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

It’s Time for a Change

Image Credit: neo (un) orthodoxy
Image Credit:
neo (un) orthodoxy

I’m getting older now, and while at fifty-three, I’m not ancient, I’ve still lived long enough to witness and be a part of many changes. Also, while I’m not yet ready to die, (Lord willing), I have reached the place in life, when we begin to comprehend our own mortality. My body is not as strong as it once was, and for the last three years, I’ve been living with chronic pain, which often renders me immobile. Though I’m still able to walk, the pain of doing so is often so excruciating that I’m confined to my recliner. This same recliner once belonged to my mother, who suffered from the same disabling back and leg pain.

Frankly, this isn’t the way I thought I would be spending this part of my life. I had envisioned a life filled with ministry, as I continue d ministering in prison for many years to come, as well as ministering wherever the Lord would send me, preaching the gospel and worshiping Him in dance. But all of that changed, when the back pain that I had dealt with off and on since childhood, (I have scoliosis, and have dealt with back pain off and on ever since I can remember.) came to stay in 2011. As early as 2008 and 2009, I began to notice that my pain was occurring more and more frequently, though I was able to tolerate it, because I still had more good days than bad.

However, by 2011, the pain had become my constant tormentor, and I found myself struggling to get out of bed in the mornings for work. The job I had once loved, was now a chore, which steadily grew more and more difficult to continue, while still, the pain continued to increase like a cumbersome, misshapen burden, continually tormenting me. By 2012, the pain had become so torturous that I began praying as soon as I got out of my car, “God, please help me make it across this parking lot to my office. Please help me, Lord. O God, please help me get to the building. Help me walk to the time clock, Lord…” On and on my prayer continued, and after I clocked in, I prayed for God to help me walk from the time clock to my office…

I’ve worked since I was fifteen years old, and I have always been a very dependable employee. I could always be counted on to get to my job on time, every day that I was scheduled to work, however, I began calling out frequently due to the pain, and on the days I was able to come to work, I had to fight the pain in order to get up and get ready on time. Because I missed so much time from work, my boss told me that I had to apply for FMLA, in order to keep from losing my job. Therefore, on September 1, 2012, I was placed on FMLA for twelve weeks. At the end of the twelve weeks, my pain had only grown in its intensity, and I was unable to return to work. The pain affected not only my job, but also my hopes and dreams for ministry, and I was forced to resign from prison ministry as well as my job. 

A few months later, my mother passed away. I was devastated. A month after losing my mom, I was admitted to the hospital with C-diff, a serious and contagious intestinal virus. Most often contracted by the elderly, this viral infection can sometimes be deadly. Then, to top that off, a few weeks after I was released from the hospital, my daughter, her husband and their children, who had been living with my husband and me, packed up and moved more than eight hundred miles away from us.

All of this happened within a five month span, and after losing so much, so quickly, I fell into a deep depression that I’m still trying to climb out of. As the reality of my own mortality became evident to me, I found myself battling many demons I had thought were long gone, but now, in my weakened state,  they rose up against me, much stronger and more ferocious than ever. I faced demons of rejection, fear, and anxiety, as well many others. On top of this, I came to the realization that many of the things I had long dreamed of doing, would never come to pass, because of the constant pain I now lived with. 

I won’t lie. Though I am a born-again, spirit-filled believer in Christ, I lost hope, when the Lord didn’t answer my impassioned plea for healing. Instead, my pain grew worse and worse. In the process of losing my mother, I felt that I had failed both her and God, which caused me to question my salvation. I fearfully worried that when the time comes to meet my Maker, would He look at me and say,   “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”? I was afraid that He would, and as crazy as this might sound, coming from a woman, who was once certain of her Father’s love for her, I began to fear that I had somehow lost His love, because I was so unworthy.

Without His love, my hope was gone as well. For how can anyone ever hope for anything without His love? How is it even possible to live, apart from His love? I was miserable. I was afraid of dying, and yet my reason for living was gone. My ministry was over. My mother was gone, as were my daughter, son and my grandchildren. I shudder to think of what might have happened to me if not for my beloved husband.

For more than a year, I grieved, as my emotional and spiritual pain matched my physical pain. When I first realized the seriousness of my back pain and came to comprehend that this pain wasn’t merely temporary, but chronic, I prayed that God would heal me.  As I stood in the shower, crying aloud because the pain of simply standing to take a shower was now so intolerable, I would beg Him to heal me… 

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 don’t know about you, but I hate pain, and I desperately wanted to believe that I would be healed from the many medical problems in my spine. Yet, no matter how much I wanted to believe this, something within me (I believe it was the Lord.) said that I would not be cured, and that I must go through this. That isn’t what I wanted to hear. 

So, how do you pray, when the pain is sometimes more than you can bear, yet you know this is God’s will for you?

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7  NKJV ~

O, how this verse speaks to me on so  many different levels! For those who are in the midst of constant pain as I am, whether it is physical, emotional, spiritual, or all of the above, just look at another translation of this verse, and let it wash over you. The Voice ™, a fairly new translation of the bible, released in 2012, is a beautiful translation of God’s word. In fact, today is the first time I’ve read from this translation. Let’s look at Philippians 4:6-7 in The Voice ™… 

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. ~ Philippians 4:6-7  VOICE ~

This verse just speaks to me. I have been so anxious about so many things during the last year and a half, and the first thing thing I read in this scripture is, “Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray.” In all honesty, while in the midst of all my struggles, I haven’t spent a lot of time praying. Yet this scripture commands me to pray, instead of being anxious. Is it possible, I wonder, that if I had spent more time praying in the last year and a half, I might not have suffered from anxiety? Even though the pain of my spinal condition is something that I must live with, if I continually pray about it, I’m certain He’ll help me endure it. 

The next portion of this scripture has tripped me up, in this time of pain and suffering… He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.” Wow. God commands us to be thankful for what has come, and I have been anything BUT thankful. While I haven’t been like Job’s wife, saying, “Curse God and die,” I haven’t been thankful for the pain that has come to my life, either. In fact, to tell you the truth, I’ve spent way too much time crying, whining and complaining, and it hasn’t made me feel any better. In fact, the truth of the matter is that I’ve been perfectly miserable. 

Therefore, I believe a change is in order…

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. ~ Philippians 4:6-7  VOICE ~

Image Credit: Q4 Consulting
Image Credit:
Q4 Consulting

I’ve decided to do exactly as this scripture commands. Whenever I feel anxious about things, I will  pray. Not only that, but this scripture commands that I pray about everything, because God longs to hear my requests. Isn’t that a wonderful thing to know? I’ve never even considered that before. Have you? Think about the magnitude of this…

… He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. ~ Philippians 4:6   VOICE ~

I don’t know why Almighty God would long to hear my request, but I feel blessed and encouraged that He does. Praise God! I wonder… is it possible that God has allowed all of the physical, emotional and spiritual pain to enter my life because He longed to hear my requests? When I think of my pain in this light, it becomes easier to thank God for what has come. 

Finally, in Philippians 4:7I discover yet another reason to give thanks to God for what has come…

And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. ~ Philippians 4:7  VOICE ~

When I pray about everything, I overcome those feelings of anxiety, and I am able to give the Lord what He longs for. How awesome is it to know that we are able to fulfill one of the Lord’s longings, simply by praying to Him about everything? When I give the Lord what He longs for, not only do I overcome my anxiety, I also receive the gift of having God’s peace watching over my heart and my mind in Jesus…

Yes, it is indeed time for a change in my life. How about you, beloved? Have you been dealing with pain and suffering in your  life? If so, how did you respond to the pain? Did you pray about everything, giving thanks for what has come into your life? Or were you anxious as I was, neglecting to pray and give thanks? If so, maybe it’s time for a change in your life too. Why don’t you join me in obeying this scripture, and let’s see if the peace of God that is promised descends on our lives, in Jesus’ name?

© 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

Chronic or Acute?

clockIt’s currently 12:55am where I live, and I’m up again, not because I’m not tired (because I am), but because I’m hurting again… or should I say still? For the past year and a half to two years, I have lived with chronic, constant pain, and now I’m unable to work because of it. I went to bed at 10:00pm last night, thoroughly exhausted, and quickly fell asleep, as my eyes wouldn’t stay open, only to awaken at 12:17am, hurting and in pain. I tossed and turned for several minutes, finally giving up somewhere around 12:35am, and here I am.

I don’t share all of that to make you feel sorry for me… Please don’t, because I have much to be grateful for. Rather, I’m sharing all of that, not knowing where this is going, because I was reading a friend’s response to something that I had written, and she used the word chronic, and my mind and my heart started churning, and I was compelled to write. I truly hadn’t planned to write anything, but I felt an urgency within to write, so here I am.

I looked up the word chronic at dictionary.com, and this is how it was defined:

  1. constant; habitual; inveterate: a chronic liar.
  2. continuing a long time or recurring frequently: a chronic state of civil war.
  3. having long had a disease, habit, weakness, or the like: a chronic invalid.
  4. (of a disease) having long duration ( opposed to acute ).

This is a word that many people use frequently… perhaps chronically, in reference to our habits, our weaknesses, and yes, even our pain. But I wonder… do we ever stop to think about what we’re saying, when we use it?

For example, when I tell you that I have chronic pain, I’m telling you that I hurt constantly, but it’s not the chronic pain that keeps me from finding rest, because the Lord has made His people very resilient. Those of us who have chronic pain learn to live with it, like it or not. We adjust to it, and we continue with our lives, learning to survive. We learn the things that help us cope with the pain. For example, when I sleep, I keep a pillow between my legs to help relieve some of the pressure from my back, thus decreasing the pain that runs from my back to my legs. I’ve learned that when I go to the store, I need to use a cart and lean on that for support… For me, sitting is more tolerable than standing or laying… These are the ways that the Lord has given me to cope with the pain, in addition to pain medication, which I hate having to take.

Regardless, it isn’t the chronic pain that awakened me from a dead sleep, because my body has grown accustomed to that. I was hurting before I went to bed… It hurt when I climbed the stairs to go to bed… I was in pain when I fell asleep, so the chronic pain didn’t awaken me. The problem happened when at some point, while I was sleeping, my chronic pain became acute pain, which is defined this way by dictionary.com:

  1. sharp or severe in effect; intense: acute sorrow; an acute pain.
  2. extremely great or serious; crucial; critical: an acute shortage of oil.
  3. (of disease) brief and severe ( opposed to chronic ).

So why am I sharing all of this? The Lord just quickened my spirit and I started thinking about the way we use these words in reference to our lives, and when I share this with you, I want you to know that this word came to me, because I’m the chief among sinners. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone but myself. If Holy Spirit chooses to prick your conscience, know that He pricked mine first. Also, please understand, this is a message for Christians, because common sense tells us that those who are of this world will live and behave as the world does, but we who are not of this world are supposed to be holy, set apart.

http://www.lundbeck.com/us/our-commitment/community-involvement/raise-your-hand
http://www.lundbeck.com/us/our-commitment/community-involvement/raise-your-hand

Since surrendering your life to Christ, how many of you have ever thought or said, “I sin constantly… or I’m a chronic sinner… or I struggle with unbelief constantly… or I have chronic unbelief?” That big hand in the front is mine… Some people even quite piously say, “I’m a sinner saved by grace… or the only difference between me and the rest of the world is that I’m forgiven.” Ouch. Those last two statements have come from my mouth countless times…

Here is what the Lord just spoke to my heart… Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV) Do you understand the importance of this? Let me break it down for you… First of all, I’m not a sinner saved by grace… I was a sinner saved by grace. And if the only difference between me and the rest of the world is that I’m forgiven, then I make God a liar, because His word says that I’m a new creation. I’m different now… I’m not the same as everyone else… I’m not even the same person that I once was.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ… what does that mean? Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the Gardener. He cuts off every branch that doesn’t produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned for greater fruitfulness by the message I have given you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from Me.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. Anyone who parts from Me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you stay joined to Me and My words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted! My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to My Father.

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love. When you obey Me, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father and remain in His love.” (John 15:1-10 NLT)

Brothers and sisters, if we remain or abide in Christ, we should be producing good fruit. Do you understand this? We need to ask ourselves what kind of fruit we’re bearing, because if I chronically sin, or if I walk in chronic unbelief, then Houston, we have a problem…

So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict.  But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another. (Galatians 5:16-26 NLT)

Brothers and sisters, we need to ask ourselves what kind of fruit we’re bearing, because if we’re not producing a harvest of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, then we are not abiding in Christ, and apart from Him, we can do nothing. His words, not mine. Further, if I’m living with chronic sin… if I’m constantly, chronically sinning (and unbelief is sin – So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that there is a God and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him. {Hebrews 11:6 NLT}), then I’m not abiding in Christ and I’m not walking in His Spirit.

Do you remember that I told you that I’ve learned to tolerate my chronic pain? Well, the fact is that when we chronically sin, we learn to tolerate that as well. We even justify it to ourselves so that we won’t feel bad about it by saying things like, “Well, God knows my heart,” or “At least I’m not as bad as so and so…” Brothers and sisters, if your conscience isn’t pricked when you sin, or if you find yourself justifying your sins, because they’re only “little sins”, you need to cry out to God for mercy.

Our God is not a God of sloppy grace. Yes, He is full of mercy and compassion. Yes, He is a God of grace, but don’t kid yourself when you say, “Well, God knows my heart,” because you’re right. He does know our hearts, and this is what He has to say about that, The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I know! I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT) 

You see, the word of the Lord says, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV) Do you understand what this means?

If you abide in Christ, you’re a new creation. You’re not supposed to be the same way you’ve always been. No more, “Well this is just the way I am,” or “I’m just being real.” If you’re just “keeping it real” as you sin, then you’re not being true to yourself.

What would you think if I told you that my Aunt Bertha passed away? You’d think she was dead, right? Well, when we come to Christ, those old sinful things that we used to participate in, should be dead. We should not be living in chronic sin. Indeed, if we truly are in Christ, we cannot live in chronic sin, because that part of our lives died the instant we were born again, and everything became new.

Does this mean that we’ll never again mess up? No, as long as we have flesh, we will have times of struggle, but we should be winning the battles most of the time, and this is where the acute pain that I talked about comes in. Remember, I said that I’ve learned to live with the chronic pain… I’ve learned to tolerate it, but there are times, when the pain becomes acute, and it is very disturbing. It causes me great distress.

When I sin against God, no matter how big or small the sin is, because God hates all sin, it should cause me acute pain. As a new creation, sin, my sin and the sin of others, should be very disturbing, very distressing. When I or someone else struggles with sin, including unbelief, it should be so discomforting, that I am unable to rest… much as I am unable to rest tonight, because of my acute pain.

http://mancrohns.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/wongbaker.gif
http://mancrohns.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/wongbaker.gif

So I ask you brothers and sisters, where do you stand on the pain scale? Is your sin chronic (constant, but tolerable) or acute (not often, but causes great discomfort and distress when it occurs)?

My prayer for each one of us, (yes, I need to pray about this for myself too), is that God would search our hearts, and show us where we stand on this sin scale. Am I waging war against sin? Or have I learned to tolerate it? Search us (me) O God, and know our (my) hearts. Try (me) us and know our (my) anxious thoughts, and see if there is any wicked way in us (me), and lead us (me) in the everlasting way. Lord, let us (me) be loving of others, but intolerant of sin. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers