Lately I have found myself in need of healing. I am taking steps to have a healthier body–taking walks, eating better, resting more, prioritizing, and asking for help because I am realizing that I am important to God, not just the work that I do. Despite these efforts, my physical pain isn’t melting away like I want it to. That is why I have been turning my attention to my spiritual health–to have a happy heart even when everything is not progressing according to plan.
I want to begin by giving you some background on a few health struggles that I have had which I will be referencing throughout the post; then I will share with you some Bible verses which have encouraged me.
In my life, I was blessed not to have many health problems until experiencing complications after the births of both my children. These complications led to a surgery and a series of painful treatments–18 months of treatments in total.
After that season was over, all was going well until this summer. The lack of perfection and control over my schedule that I felt combined with new realities at work led to chest pain and head/body aches. The headaches have continued for four months so far.
I certainly do not write to complain. So many people are in more difficult circumstances than I, but I want to let you know that I am not singing “songs to a heavy heart” like the poor comforter in Proverbs 25:20. I hope, not to make you feel bad about any stress or pain you may be feeling, but to tell you that I am with you, and that, from experience, there is consolation to be found in our awesome and caring God!
Without further ado, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Direct your spirit in hope and perseverance.
The week of one of my most painful procedures, I listened to a sermon on the book of Revelation. Thinking back to the words that I had heard about the glory and power of God–how beautiful heaven must be–truly saved me in my moment of need. As I braced myself for the treatment, I focused in on the beautiful imagery on this passage. I clung to it desperately, and felt like I had a sanctuary above.
And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal… And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
Another verse I used like a mantra was Proverbs 18:14: “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” Even after experiencing the effects of my treatments, my spirit could sustain me. I held that promise close, and tried to have a positive attitude. Being despairing and mournful may have been understandable, but it was not helpful to my condition. If I thought to myself that the pain wouldn’t be this bad forever; if I funneled my focus into something else, I could bear it a little better. Which brings me to number two:
2. Have faith that a positive result will come, even if it is not the one you envisioned.
We know that God is the God of miracles. We cannot underestimate his healing power. Consider the example in Mark 5:25-29:
And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
I have been in this woman’s place–where my doctors were at a loss of what to do, and where medicines and remedies had failed me. It was in that place that I turned to who I should have sought in the first place: Jesus, the Great Physician. He did heal me, in His time. But there are also times when a problem does not depart with prayer.
Paul states in 2 Corinthians 12:5-10:
Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
None of the situations listed in the last sentence of this excerpt is particularly desirable to our human nature, because they all make us feel weak. But we need to remember that Christ makes us strong. Health and longevity are not attained by giving in, but by continuing on in Christ’s light (Proverbs 3:7-8).
Sometimes in my moments of pain, I feel as if God is testing me, I’m failing, and he’s going to turn me away. I’m not always great at believing, counting my blessings, and curbing my grumbling and frustration. I am so thankful to know the truth–that I serve a God who abides faithful and promises to never leave (2 Timothy 2:13; Hebrews 13:5)!
Sometimes a difficult trial strengthens our character (Romans 5). Sometimes other people do horrible things to us, but God still works it for good (Exodus 20:50). Sometimes we get ourselves into the bad situations (Psalm 51). Whatever the initial circumstance, the result is still the same. By following the example of our Lord, we can be an encouragement to others in the midst of temptation.
3. Remember your purpose.
In closing, there are a few key questions I must ask myself. First, who and what am I living for?
2 Corinthians 5: 14-15: “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
Jesus conquered the grave for me; therefore, I can overcome myself and live for him.
What is my expectation? What is my reward when I lay my head down each night? Is God powerless against my trouble?
[I] cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet…
Can death defeat me?
He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
Are you waiting on the Lord today, brothers and sisters? Are you waiting for a sure salvation? I wish you every joy in the meantime. I pray for your health, your patience, and your peace.
What verses have helped you endure the physical challenges of this life? Leave a comment below!