Chronic Pain and Lukewarm Faith, by Heather Hart
After almost a year of severe, chronic migraines, I am happy to announce that I am finally feeling better. I’m not 100% yet, but I have had several pain-free days for the first time in ten months.
I am over-the-moon excited and thankful for the relief.
But as much as I clung to God over the past year, I’m sad to say that my faith still suffered.
For months I was unable to read my Bible (or anything else for that matter), and I am struggling to get back into the groove.
For months I cried out to God in pain, and that pain was my entire world. All I thought about was how much it hurt, and how much that pain affected my life. The ball games I missed. How many times I missed church. I had to cancel the Bible study that I led.
Chronic pain changes your life. Your entire life.
I couldn’t take care of my family and depended on my family and church family for so much.
During those days, I saw the blessings. When I wasn’t crying out to God, I was praising Him.
Yet, now that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I find myself with a faith that is far from what it was last year at this time.
I am a lukewarm Christian.
Over the course of the past year, my faith has suffered.
I don’t know if there was one thing that caused my drift, so much as the whole.
The lack of a daily quiet time. The lack of fellowship with Christian sisters. The lack of time spent in God’s Word.
It all adds up and takes a toll.
I tried listening to an audiobook. I tried memorizing Scripture. Worship music was a constant in my home. But still I have drifted.
My heart longs for a relationship with Jesus. The closeness we had before.
But relationships aren’t build overnight. And Jesus isn’t a genie in a bottle. I can’t simply wish our relationship into existence.
Relationships take work. They take time. And they have their ups and downs.
To be honest, I knew my faith was suffering long before I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
Back around Christmas when things started getting worse instead of better, I knew my faith was taking a hit.
I would lean hard into Jesus and get a temporary lift in my spirits, but the continued pain kept wearing me down.
I would go through spurts of working hard on my faith. Trying to regain the ground I lost. But nothing seemed to help.
So, I clung to the fact that no matter where I felt I was with Jesus, salvation wasn’t a feeling but a fact. I know deep in my heart that Jesus loves me beyond measure, no matter how weak my faith is.
Yet, I long to be on fire for Him. The way I was before. And He gently reminds me to stop looking back and to start looking forward.
It’s a new day. My hope is in Christ. I am saved by faith. And faith the size of a mustard seed is enough to move mountains.
Thus, I want to share three steps to rekindle your faith when dealing with chronic pain.
3 Steps To Rekindling Your Faith
1.) Remember that God’s Love is Unconditional
This is not the end. God is good and His love endures forever.
The love of God endures through chronic pain, and it endures even when my faith has suffered, because God’s love is unconditional.
2.) Pray For God to Set Your Heart on Fire
Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. ”
When we pray and ask God to give us a heart for Him, He won’t disappoint. No, it won’t happen overnight, but just like a fire starts with kindling, God will start to rekindle our love for Him if we only ask.
3.) Reach Out to Other Believers
For months, I simply wasn’t up to leaving the house when my head hurt, and even if I did, I was in my own world of pain. Connecting with others was hard. The people who were praying for me often frustrated me, but I was ashamed to tell them that. I didn’t need prayers for healing as much as I needed prayer for strength… but I never shared that.
If I would have reached out to one or two women and formed a small prayer circle, I truly believe it would have made a world of difference. I had women who supported me online, but I shut out the women of my own community. And even the women who supported me online had to reach out to me to find out what my prayer needs were.
I would get frustrated because even while I was dealing with my chronic migraines, life continued around me. I had other, sometimes more important issues in my life, but because I had shut everyone out, I had no local support system. I truly believe this was a major issue. And I knew it was at the time, yet I still never reached out.
Local women constantly offered to help, but I didn’t want to be a burden. I should have known their offers were genuine. They would have gladly came over to pray with me, if I would have just asked.
There Is Always Hope
So, if you are in the middle of dealing with chronic pain. I hope these three steps can help you keep your faith strong, or start to rekindle it if it is weak.
I know they are helping me. My journey isn’t over, but the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t just about being pain free, it’s the light of Christ warming my soul.
But what about you?
Has chronic pain affected your relationship with Jesus?
* If you'd like to be featured on Chronically Hopeful, head over to this page to find out how you can contribute. I'd love to share your story!