If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I suffer from chronic back pain. Not a comfortable part of my life, but in these past few weeks, I’m realizing once again that it is a necessary part of my life.
And I am amazed at how many people I have talked to in the past few weeks that also suffer from chronic pain issues. Here is something else that I noticed.
I met a huge handful of these people during the last few days.
While we were serving at the Leadership Summit our church was hosting. Three days filled with long hours can definitely be painful. How did they do it? Why did they do it?
Last month, my husband shared a portion out of a book he is doing a group of people from church. One story was about a woman who clung to God desperately and had such a close relationship with Him-while she was suffering from a chronic illness. God eventually healed her, and she shared with the author of this book the lack of desperation and closeness she felt with God as she didn’t “need” Him and depend on Him as much as she did when she had suffered.
I have been mulling that story over in my mind. It made me ask myself which I would choose….
healing, with the risk of losing that dependance on Him,
or suffering, knowing that I cling to Him because, most days, I don’t know what else to do.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, the apostle Paul explains that God gave him some “thorn in the flesh“….something to “torment” Paul. This thing really, really bothered him, and he begged God three times to take it away. And this was the answer he received,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
In other words, God told Paul, “No, this needs to be a part of your life. I want you to be weak (the Greek word means diseased and feeble)-I want you to need me. Unless you have weakness in your life, how can I be strong for you?”
You know what I think? All those people that were serving during the Summit, in pain and some even in tears, allowed God to be strong for them. There is no way that they could have served all those days and all those hours in their own strength.
And that, my friends, is no small thing.
That was a miracle.
That was the Almighty God working through a bunch of broken people. And His power was manifested in those days. Simply because we said “Yes. We are okay with being weak, so that You, God, can be strong.
“For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
If being in pain is the means through which God is my absolute dependence, I choose pain. Whatever means He chooses to use, I simply want my life to be defined by “chronic dependence” on Him.