As a person who lives with chronic illness I have learned, for the most part, how to control my mental, emotional and physical responses to pain.
I remember the day I told my mother-in-law that I battled with headaches on a daily basis. She was absolutely shocked. “I had no idea!” she told me. It’s not that I try to be fake around people. I just prefer not to be known as “the girl who is always in pain.” On a daily basis, I strive to choose joy over despair and sadness. If someone genuinely asks me how I am feeling, I won’t lie — but I also don’t need to walk around complaining about things. Griping, moaning and complaining never does any good. (See Philippians 2:14-15.)
You see, I don’t want people to identify me solely by my struggles; I want them to identify me by my faith in Jesus Christ.
But despite my efforts to remain outwardly optimistic, joy-filled and peppy, I must admit, there are days when the pain finds itself written across my face.
The other day at work, I was walking down the stairs slowly to prevent irritating my leg and knee, which have been giving me intense burning and stinging issues lately. As I reached the landing between the first and second flight of stairs, my coworker caught me by surprise.
“You feeling OK today Lauren?” she asked, visibly concerned.
I smiled and replied, “Ah, I’ll be alright. Could be worse!”
“Is that how life is for you? Some days are good and some days are bad?”
“For the most part, yeah,” I said.
You know those moments when the Holy Spirit speaks to you and you want to act on it but then it’s too late? That’s what happened in this moment. We went our separate ways just as I felt God speak to me:
You might have good and bad days, Lauren. But I, the Lord, am always good. You can always count on my grace and goodness to be sufficient for you.
I turned around to tell my coworker this, but she was already gone. (If she doesn’t end up reading this blog post, I definitely plan on sharing this revelation the next time I see her.)
It was such a simple message, such a simple moment, and yet it struck me to my core. It’s not like I had ever questioned the goodness of God. I knew He was good. What I didn’t realize until that moment, was how self-reliant I had become, and how little I thanked and praised God for just being who He is. For being good to me.
Can you imagine what it would look like to see all of God’s sons and daughters living under the umbrella of this truth? There would be no self-reliance. No bitterness, doubt, resentment, envy, jealousy or strife.
God’s word says that even when our world is drowned out in darkness, even when life is hard, He will never forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5) In 2 Peter verses 1:3, we also learn that “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
If we know our God loves us, will never forsake us, and has provided us with everything we need to live a godly life, then this should remind us that he is good and in control of all things — always.
Difficult as it may be, if we remember that God uses everything for our good, wants us to succeed and will give us exactly what we need, then we will be armed with the joy and peace we need to face any situation. We might have bad days, we might screw up, but that’s OK. God’s got our backs. Isn’t that something worth jumping for joy about?
Where have you seen God’s goodness in your life lately?