Today, following my previous post on mental health and suicide, I want to share a short devotional from my book.
Since I posted, there has been another stunning loss in our community of a beloved local news anchor. He was a gifted young man with a family, married with three children, and his death is just tragic.
At the same time, several spoonie friends have posted that they are having an especially difficult time right with pain control and symptom management. Sometimes this spoonie life can be so damn hard. Well, really, sometimes just LIFE – for anyone – can be so damn hard.
So here is a brief devotional that is just on my heart. May it be of service.
it’s not always sunshine and sparkles (and that’s alright).
For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction, which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life. – 2 Corinthians 1:8
In this time where popular megachurch pastors fill TV screens and YouTube platforms with talk of having faith and believing and then God will appear as though He is the Genie from Aladdin who takes our troubles away, it’s comforting to know, as a spoonie who lives with severe pain that can cause despair – who in their right mind WOULDN’T despair sometimes when they are experiencing intractable pain? – that the Apostle Paul wrote these words.
Paul, responsible for writing 28% of the New Testament, wrote honestly that he despaired of life when he was suffering greatly.
He certainly isn’t the only person in the Bible to experience such terrible feelings of hopelessness.
In the Psalms, David wrote, “I am weary with my sighing, every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears (Psalm 6:6 ESV) – and that was one of many psalms of lament.
This notion of toxic positivity and “just faith-ing” it away that has exploded recently, particularly in these huge churches, is not biblical and it is doing a grave disservice to many people.
The lies it is promoting make people feel as though God has failed them or they have done something wrong when all is not going well for them, when, in fact, if the Apostle Paul suffered so greatly that he despaired of life, I probably shouldn’t be too surprised if I’m not living my best life now.
If we are honest – and read the Word, suffering is a part of this life. Jesus said it clearly in John 16:33 – when He also said to take heart because He had overcome the world.
So, what do we chronic illness warriors do when it isn’t all unicorns and rainbows and praying the progressive illness away a la Osteen isn’t working?
I think it’s not only okay, but necessary and healing, to be honest about our pain and the difficulties we face. I don’t mean that we complain all the time or that we only talk about what’s wrong – but we aren’t helping ourselves or our loved ones if we don’t tell our people how we really are doing.
It’s good to reach out. Join a spoonie group, in person or online. Meet with a counselor if you are comfortable. There is no reason not to – and this chronic illness life can be overwhelming.
Be open and authentic – with God and with others – and don’t feel ashamed that you aren’t always on cloud nine with a pain score of ten. You aren’t expected to be.
I fear – as these losses have been terrible this week – that many are suffering in silence.
Please, please, if you are struggling, know that help is available to you.
Please reach out.
You matter. ❤
Be well, everybody. Take care of yourselves and each other.
Grace and Blessings.