1 Peter 5:10
*10 *And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Trusting God is easy when life makes sense. For many years I
did not have chronic pain due to a rare arthritic disease, and in that time I took for granted the blessing of health that I had. During those first few years after I was diagnosed with AS getting through each day was such a challenge. Being in constant pain is hard enough, but during that time I also had to start of business, manage a social life and do a lot of work in the area of politics. I was amazed at how much I use to complain about the smallest things that truly didn’t matter. I wish I could say I always handled it well, but the truth is there were times when I just wanted to get away from people because I let the pain control me and not the Lord. Sometimes when you have major suffering in life you think that it is ok to be self-focused because you have something that makes your life more difficult than everyone else around you. But the truth is, no matter what you are going through or what’s been done to you, it is still your job to love and serve others in the capacity that you can. In time, I did get treatment for my arthritis and most of the time in the last 2 years it has been manageable except when there was been severe flare ups.
I think the biggest mistake I made was letting the pain cause me to resent God, because I could not see how this level of suffering can do any good. I understood theologically that suffering can make us stronger and make us more dependent on God, but I never anticipated that the Lord would ever allow this to happen to me. I used to love to run and lift weights and I just took so much pleasure in being physically active and having these limits placed on me has been the hardest challenge of my life. I also was very social and would go out with friends all the time but this disease has made that more difficult. To be fair though, this disease has also made me appreciate things in a way I never did before. The days where the pain is limited have been so much more meaningful to me than they ever could have been. It is easier for me to see the things God has given me, and though there are times where I lose heart; God has been faithful to me no matter what. I value my work as an attorney more than I ever would have because I actually see my job as a blessing, and it allows me to serve others who are going through difficult times and to care about their suffering in a way I never would have before.
My advice to you and myself is to never lose heart nor give up. The same God who gave his son so that we may have eternal life in Heaven, is the same God who has allowed the pain to come into your life. I know sometimes it seems like he isn’t there and I too have struggled to believe that when the suffering was at its worst. But I want to encourage you to remember that all pain is temporal, and the same God who blesses you with so much, is the one who is testing you in your trials to bring you closer and help you find joy no matter what. I would ask for your prayers not just for healing but that through this I am able to love others and serve God.
About the Author: I am a Birmingham attorney who has been in private practice for over six years. I have a general practice, so I get the opportunity to help serve people who find themselves in some very difficult circumstances. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it encourages you. I always love getting thoughtful comments, so please email those to me. My website is www.reidlawalabama.com. If you know anyone who is going through a difficult situation whether it be legal or personal and they are in Birmingham area you can e-mail me at email@example.com. Our firm works with some excellent faith based counselors, many of whom are free or low cost. A lot of the times the legal issues people face are due to deeper underlying issues like substance abuse and other things. I have found the most effective form of treatment is getting a personally qualified counselor who helps get to the root of the issues someone is dealing with, and we will help people get connected for free (we never take a payment for referral fee for this). Again my website is www.reidlawalabama.com, which contains my contact information. God Bless.