Friday, December 19, 2014

Good Medicine

What’s on your mind today, my suffering friend? If you are hurting, chances are that your pain is on your mind. It is very difficult to get outside of that pain when it is intense, constant, and disabling. But the mind/body connection is a very real thing, and as humans, we cannot get around it. The fact is, when we are hurting, our default response is to think about our pain.

But what if we could change that default? What if, instead of thinking about our pain, we thought about our weakness? You may ask, how is that better? How will thinking about how weak I am in my pain get me out of my funk? Well, the Bible says that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). So, when I am in pain, though that pain may make me feel physically and emotionally weak, I can be spiritually strong because of Christ. He lives in me, regardless of the state of my physical body. In fact, His presence within me becomes more profound as my body suffers and His strength increases. As I trust in His goodness and sovereignty, I can begin to tap into that strength to combat my emotions.

When I do this, my heart can rejoice. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  Those of us who suffer chronic pain or disability know that this is very true. When our hearts become depressed or despairing, our pain increases. Everyone I know who suffers physical pain can attest to this. The more we think about our pain and feel sad about it, the more it hurts and disables us. Our crushed spirit dries up our bones! Pain medications are sometimes necessary, but the best prescription by far is to have a joyful heart. Impossible, you say? No! With God, all things are possible! Psalm 16:11 says that in God’s presence there is fullness of joy. Good news, my friend: You are always in the presence of God! At His right hand, there are pleasures forevermore!

Even when you are crying out to God, offering biblical complaint, lament and grief, you are worshiping Him. After all, if you did not believe in His power and strength to help you, you would not be at His throne asking for His help! As your tears fall into His bottle (Psalm 56:8), you are expressing your faith and belief that He is who He says He is. This is true worship.

My dear friend, you and I must rejoice in our suffering, not because we like it but because it reminds us of our weakness, through which His strength is made perfect. Hallelujah! What a faithful Friend we have in Jesus!