This is the 3rd post in a series on Hope When the Pain Doesn’t Go Away
Where do we find our hope in the midst of chronic pain?
We find it in choice and change, in the small steps we take each day.
And we next find hope in God’s beckoning to consider the possibility of a better future. A better life is never a guarantee, but I also know that God specializes in giving good gifts to his children at the most unexpected and needed times.
Sometimes his gifts come in strange packages. Sometimes his gifts are hard to recognize. Sometimes his gifts come through suffering and pain. But, there are also those times God gives us gifts that are bold, bright, and shimmering, as he blesses us by lifting our suffering and offering us a brighter future.
As much as God does not guarantee that our circumstances will change or that a better future awaits, it is important for us to believe that relief from our suffering is possible should God ordain it. It is important to hope in this possibility, knowing it is real and not a delusion. When our health has failed time and time again, when crashes, flares, and relapses become the norm, we begin to believe in our hearts that physical improvement is impossible.
For many of us, crashes and relapses are probable and expected, but we must hold on to the hope that they are not inevitable. We must believe that there is still room for God to work in new and unexpected ways. He is able, and we pray that he is willing. We are allowed to pray, ask, and hope for God to heal us, and sometimes he does.
I am trying to take heed of God’s works in Isaiah 43. “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? (Isaiah 43:18-19).
These verses in Isaiah remind us how easily our hope becomes swayed as we recall how things have gone in the past and think that will always be our future. Our past dictates our imagined future, and we lose the imagination to believe that God can do something new in our lives. Not only do we lose our imagination, but we are so certain things will never get better that we are unaware when new things springs forth.
Here are some things that I know are possible, no matter how unlikely they may be in your situation.
Remission does happen. New treatments and medications do bring relief. Advances in technology bring cures to what was once incurable.
Accurate diagnoses lead to more appropriate treatment. Decreases in pain and improvements in quality of life do happen in all sorts of situations. Flares can become less severe and come less often.
Lifestyle changes lead to great improvements for many people. Help comes from unlikely people and places. Our mental and emotional health can reach places of healing even when physical health does not.
Life can get better, even if the pain does not go away. Don’t lose hope – these things happen every day.
Lately, in my own life, a strange and quiet hope has been circulating as I imagine the ways God is able to work in my life, should he choose. The hope of heaven is something I believe should be shouted from the rooftops, a surety when all is unknown. But this hope in a better earthly future is a much quieter hope.
It is a hope in things that we have been promised but that we often cannot tangibly see or understand. It is a hope that we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13), though we are unsure what form it will take or if it will even be a type of goodness we will easily recognize. This is a hope that rests on his mercies which are new every morning, even when we are blind to the mercies he gives.
At the outer edge of this hope is the fact that I believe in miracles. I believe in the power of prayer, that God actually hears us and responds to us when we humble ourselves before him and pray. I believe in the possibility of life going in ways that we never expected. Sometimes the corners we turn are not tragedies but roads of enormous blessing and unexpected relief.
There is hope in the One who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. This hope lingers below the surface, waiting for the Lord to show us what he is up to in our pain. He is up to something, though we are unsure what it will be.
We wait in quiet expectation for the day he will reveal his work in our lives.
What is your story of unexpected hope in the midst of chronic pain?
Want to stay connected with Life in Slow Motion? Click here to Follow Life in Slow Motion on Facebook for blog posts and other original content.