A new condition, Chiari Malformation, was added to my mix of maladies in the spring of 2017. Daily migraines, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and P.O.T.S. keep me on my knees and close to the throne.
Emotionally, I have good days and bad. Sometimes, I get discouraged at my limitations, but during those times of wrestling with God, He’s given me several keys to spiritual healing.
People often think of Job when they think of suffering.
In Job 1 and 2, Scripture tells us he loses all he has. However, Job doesn’t question God until Satan attacks Job’s flesh. Like Job (and like most folks who suffer with chronic illness), when my suffering lasted beyond earthly explanation and remedy, I began asking God, “Why?” As I hope you notice when reading the Book of Job (or Love Amid the Ashes), Job never discovers the cosmic battle that prompted his testing. Instead, Job learns Who God is in the midst of his suffering. This is the first key to spiritual healing. Finding God in the “Why” is far more important than finding out “Why?”
The second key to spiritual healing came when I recognized the suffering of humanity that Jesus endured for a lifetime—that culminated in His torturous death on the cross.
My God knows my physical limitations, frustrations and pain. He took them on willingly and endured them because He kept His focus on the bigger picture. I deal with my little life so much better when I remember that the “Big Picture” is key.
Hebrews 12:2-3 – “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
The third key to spiritual healing came from 1 Peter 4:1-2 –
“…since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.”
Here’s the kicker! Satan is throwing his worst attack at me—physical suffering—and each day that I live victoriously is a direct reflection of God’s power at work in me. Even a tiny step on some days is like a marathon to the Father who knows my pain. I’ve learned to measure my victories by God’s standards, not the world’s.
The most important key to my spiritual healing came through this simple but life-altering truth: Jesus adores me.
He loves me more than my husband loves me. More than my parents love me. More than my children love me. He pursues me with a fervor and passion that pales in comparison to the pursuit of any twitterpated, young lovers. He is jealous for my attention and my devotion, and He will settle for no less than my undivided heart. Understanding this revelation came through Solomon’s Song of Songs and writing Love’s Sacred Song. I love the description of love in Song of Solomon 8:6-7 –
“…love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”
When I became convinced that God loved me THAT much, my chronic illness was no longer a matter of why I suffered but how I would use suffering to draw closer to Him.