Friday, April 19, 2013

Growing Close to My Savior through Suffering

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As most of you know, I deal with chronic pain on a daily basis - I have since I was 15 years old. I have been diagnosed with 3 bulging discs, 2 torn/leaking discs, degenerative disc disease, hypertrophic facet disease, sciatica, neuropathy in both legs, fibromyalgia, and we are now looking at a possible diagnosis of sacroiliac joint dysfunction syndrome (we will be waiting on some diagnostic tests... in the coming months - please pray God's will be done, either way it turns out). I'm supposed to have spinal fusion surgery on the lower 2 vertebrae in the next 2-4 years, but we are hoping and praying that the sacroiliac joint dysfunction syndrome (which mimics the same symptoms of my other injuries) injection will help give a definitive diagnosis. At any rate, through it all I've dealt with a lot of obstacles and pain, yet indescribable joy and miracles as well.

I've obviously had many years to process my chronic pain that is life altering in many ways. It took me a while before I could completely understand why God had chosen me to go through this, although I feel I always trusted Him...I just didn't always embrace the circumstance as a catalyst for spiritual growth as a follower of Christ should. So if God is truly Healer, why am I not healed? Manytimes, trials/tribulations, suffering or pain are put in our lives by God (meaning it is His will) so that we may be strengthened...tried through fire in order to continually refine us to be like-minded with our Savior. It's comforting to know that our Father promises us He will walk with us through every refining fire. He's not in the background watching - He's in the battlefield with you. We should be honored that the Lord and Redeemer of our lives would find us (you and me - imperfect people) worthy enough to be used to glorify the name of Christ our Savior! Are we truly intimate enough with our relationship with God that we can trust Him because of the circumstances put in our lives, not in spite of them?

When we face such circumstances, do we use them as an opportunity to mope around and ask "why me?" (remember, I've been there before!) or do we find the situation a CATALYST for growth? People will watch how you respond, and you will either make a case for Christ or for the sinful world. More importantly, your heavenly Father is watching...make Him proud!

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Mental Illness and the Church