Continued from here.
When I was in physical pain, it felt like it would never end. During the 17 days of illness, it felt like I always had been – and always would be – in pain. I used to feel that way when I was in therapy for the childhood abuse as well. I couldn’t remember that I had ever known joy or believe that I would ever know it again.
I kept trying to remind myself that what I was going through was temporary. When I couldn’t believe that, I broadened the perspective to this life being temporary. Even though I felt every minute of pain across those 17 days (and across years of healing from the trauma of childhood abuse), this temporal experience in this one life on earth is just a drop in the bucket of eternity. I cannot allow the screaming of my flesh in this moment to drown out God’s truths of eternity.
I was also ashamed of some of my poor behaviors when I was sick. Ever since I did the Love Dare to my husband in 2014, I have been mindful that I choose my behavior. It doesn’t matter how I feel — I can choose love, and I can choose grace. That’s not what I chose at various moments when I was sick (although I certainly made imperfect progress from prior illnesses). No matter how much progress I make or how much success I have experienced over a long period of time, I remain vulnerable to allowing my flesh to drown out the Spirit’s leading.
On Joyce Meyer’s TV show, Enjoying Everyday Life, she shared a story about a man who was facing the death of a loved one. His prayer was, “Help me do this right.” He knew that in his flesh, he would be unable to stay faithful to God, so He needed God to show him … and empower him … to do it.
That will become my prayer the next time I am sick (and was for the last few days after I heard this) because I am painfully aware that, in my flesh, I don’t have a chance of remaining faithful to God. Regardless of my best intentions, I cannot do it on my own. The cries of my flesh are too strong, and in the turmoil of physical pain, I have trouble hearing God’s still, small voice guiding me through “doing this right.” However, I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Through God, I can “do this right.”
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace lying on a coach with her hand on her head above the words, “Life is hard.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]