CHRONIC ILLNESS & DISABILITIES

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GOD'S PEACE IN THE MIDST OF PAIN

People in pain need peace.  Most people who suffer  from chronic pain assume, If I could just get rid of this illness, I would have peace.  Peace is not dependent on wellness. Although Jesus, the Prince of Peace, was to drink from a different cup of  suffering, He yielded His will to the will of the heavenly Father. He modeled how people in pain should pray …

“ ‘Abba, Father,’ he [Jesus] said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from m e. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’ ”

Mark 14:36

What Is a Chronic Illness?

  • A chronic illness is a persistent, unhealthy condition of the body that lingers over a long period of time.
  • The word chronic comes from the Greek word chronos, which means “time.”
  • A person who lives with chronic illness suffers physical weakness, frequent discomfort, and often a life of persistent pain .
  • This cup of suffering holds not just physical stress, but sometimes also a large measure of emotional distress because of a decrease in caring relationships, social opportunities, and spiritual un derstanding.

God desires to give you hope as you face life challenges, problems and difficult trials. The good news for us, God specializes in redemption and transformation. He takes that which was lost and restores it. He takes that which was dead and gives it life. He takes that which had no hope and rewrites its story. This is our God! As you pray today, ask God boldly to transform the thing inside you that you want to see changed forever!

God does not delight in your suffering, but He uses it to refine your faith and to develop Christ’s character in you. His delight is in making you a delight and a blessing to those around you, and He does that by conforming you to the character of Christ. He tests your faith in order to prove it to be genuine, thus resulting in the praise, glory, and honor of Jesus Christ. 

"These [trials] have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith ... may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 

(1 Peter 1:6–7)

Can Any Blessings Come from Afflictions? 

When blasted by the winds of adversity, the heart that is sheltered in the hands of God produces a life that is full of meaning and purpose 

  • Suffering can soften your heart so that you want to obey God’s Word. (Psalm 119:67) 
  • Suffering can open your heart to make you more teachable. (Psalm 119:71) 
  • Suffering can mellow your heart to make you more compassionate. (2 Corinthians 1:3–4) 
  • Suffering can strengthen your heart to make you more mature. (James 1:2–4) 
  • Suffering can humble your heart to keep you from becoming conceited. (2 Corinthians 12:7) 
  • Suffering can reveal your heart’s weaknesses so that Christ can strengthen your heart and be your sufficiency. (2 Corinthians 12:9) 
  • Suffering can give you a desire for eternal glory rather than temporal glory. (Romans 8:18) 

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” 

(James 1:12) 

 

The 5 Stages of Sorrow 

  • Denial ... avoiding the painful reality (Job 8:20) 
  • Anger... opening up honest emotions (Job 10:1) 
  • Bargaining... attempting to change reality (Job 13:20–21) 
  • Depression... feeling despair over the situation (Job 7:16) 
  • Acceptance... gaining a positive outlook (2 Corinthians 9:8) 

 

Dos & Don’ts for Family and Friends 

Don’t... assume all cancers are life-threatening—some are benign. 

Do... Educate yourself by researching and asking questions, “What have the doctors said? What do you know about this illness already?” 

 

Don’t... inflict additional pain by pushing their involvement in certain activities.

Do... Demonstrate patience by saying, “Take your time. You don’t need to rush.”

 

Don’t... presume to know everything that should be done while dispensing unsolicited advice.

Do... Listen. “How can I help? With meals, errands, transportation, or something else?”

 

Don’t... expect one doctor to have all the answers. 

Do ... Extend an offer to take notes. “Would it be helpful for you if I went to the doctor with you and took notes?” 

 

Don’t... belittle or patronize them. 

Do... Say, “Please let me know if things become too much of a struggle so that we can find what might work better for you.” 

 

Don’t... fail to meet personal needs privately and unobtrusively. However, allow them to do as much as they can for as long as they can. 

Do... Say privately, “Please know that I’m here if you need me to assist in any way.” 

 

Don’t... demand answers and explanations from God.

Do... Realize, every step of the way, He promises to direct your path. 

 Keys to Accepting Affliction ... Coping with Limitations 

“My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.” 

(Psalm 119:28) 

  • Your troubles are temporary—your glory is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16–18) 
  • Your body is designed to experience decay. (Genesis 3:19) 
  • Your afflictions are allowed by God in order to teach you. (Psalm 119:71) 
  • Your temptations are made bearable by God. (1 Corinthians 10:13) 
  • Your suffering enables you to see God. (Job 42:5) 
  • Your life is being conformed to the image of Christ through your affliction. (Romans 8:29)
  • Your crushed spirit will be sustained when you are indwelled by the Spirit of God. (Proverbs 18:14) 
  • Your transformation will be completed by God. (Philippians 1:6)

 

Learning to Live 

  • Learn to Cry. (Psalm 56:8) 
    • Crying is not a sign of weakness, but a much-needed, emotional cleansing outlet. 
    • Tears help me identify my feelings and are noticed by God. 
  • Learn to Let Go. (Proverbs 3:5–6) 
    • Give up expectations of life as I once knew it. 
    • Trust God with my future. 
  • Learn to Rest. (Deuteronomy 33:12) 
    • Get physical rest whenever possible. 
    • Rest in the adequacy of God.
  • Learn to Adjust. (Isaiah 40:29) 
    • Modify my activities and adapt them to fit my needs. 
    • Count on God’s strength to replace my weakness. 
  • Learn to Laugh. (Proverbs 17:22) 
    • Refuse to take myself or my condition too seriously. 
    • Enjoy the humorous things that happen in life. 
  • Learn to Laugh. (Proverbs 17:22) 
    • Refuse to take myself or my condition too seriously. 
    • Enjoy the humorous things that happen in life. 
  • Learn to Be Disciplined. (Proverbs 15:22) 
    • Rely on my doctor’s advice to develop the habit of regular exercise or activity. 
    • Work up a plan with a professional nutritionist to help meet my nutritional needs. 
  • Learn to Give Thanks. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) 
    • Show gratitude to family and friends who help and support me. 
    • Praise God daily for who He is and for His love and care for me. 

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” 

(Galatians 2:20)

 

The Bible says ...

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” 

(Proverbs 3:5–6)

 

Key Verse to Learn 

“For my power is made perfect in weakness.” 

(2 Corinthians 12:9) 

 

Key Passage to Read 

2 Corinthians 12:7–10

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God desires to give you hope as you face life challenges, problems and difficult trials. The good news for us, God specializes in redemption and transformation. He takes that which was lost and restores it. He takes that which was dead and gives it life. He takes that which had no hope and rewrites its story. This is our God! As you pray today, ask God boldly to transform the thing inside you that you want to see changed forever!

Thank you for your interest and support in Women of Faith. We pray God will encourage, equip, and empower you with His life-changing truth.

 

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