Excerpt from Think It Not Strange: Making Peace With Chronic Pain by Claudette Palatsky
My prayer journal scribbling illustrates my desperation. “How long, O Lord? Will this ever end? Will it become worse before it gets better? Oh, God! I fear I can’t bear another minute & still, time marches on. Can’t You make it stop? Once, in Your Word, I read that the sun stood still & the moon stopped, for about a whole day. So surely You are capable, Lord, of just the opposite.
How long till the withdrawing is final? How long till the morphine is completely out of my system? What if I can’t wait? It seems I am hanging on by only a thread. You see me here, God. How long before this situation changes? In giant print I am writing to remind You that You are the only One who can do anything about this! I just want to die. Help me now, Father, oh, please help me now!”
One thing that kept me sane during this time was reading God’s Word & listening to praise music to renew my mind. Hour after hour I tried to focus my thoughts on the Lord. He showed me two verses in the book of Isaiah that helped me see that He was, indeed, working on my behalf.
The first one was: “Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; & therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him,” (30:18). His waiting to move out in your situation does not mean the Lord is “kicking back” like we often do during times of inaction. The Lord does not sleep or slumber. He is not slack or lazy. He never wastes time. His timing is perfect.
The second verse that brought me comfort was: “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, Who acts for the one who waits for Him,” (64:4). He has a time for everything & we need only have the sense that God’s timing is perfect. Trusting him when we are hurting is an act of faith. Seeing our situation from a timeless perspective requires prayer.
There is a miracle, recounted for us in 2 Kings, chapter six, that may help. Elisha prayed for his fearful servant, that God would open his eyes to the unseen. The invisible army was made visible. Those that would be with them were more in number than those on the enemy’s side! Greater, too, is Christ in you than anything this life can throw your way.
As long as we are mesmerized by our dark & confusing circumstances, we will be unable to look past ourselves to what’s really happening in the spiritual realm (remember, for our good & for His glory). The writer of Ecclesiastes penned: “He who observes the wind will not sow, & he who regards the clouds will not reap,” (11:4).
We must be still & wait on the Lord! It is not waiting in vain. The important thing is to regard Who (not what) we are waiting on! We are rendered fruitless when we fix our eyes on our surroundings.
Instead, let us take the advice in Hebrews 12:2-3, & “look unto Jesus, the author & finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, & has sat down at the right h& of the throne of God.”
We must “consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary & discouraged in your souls.” Psalm 123:1-2 eloquently reiterates: “Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the h& of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the h& of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, Until He has mercy on us.”
We may not see or feel it right away, but God’s Word clearly indicates that He is worth the wait. You may be asking, “But just how long do I have to wait?”
Two verses in the book of First Peter explain: “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, & glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” (1:6-7).
In chapter five, verse ten (of this same book), it says: “May the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, & settle you.” Now I don’t know about you, but I want to know what is meant by a while!
How long was that? When would I know my while was over? In the book of James it says: “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job & seen the end intended by the Lord, that the Lord is very compassionate & merciful,” (5:11).
What if Job had given up? He surely wouldn’t have seen the final blessing, which included “twice as much as he had before.” The Bible is clear that: “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven,” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
The Lord knows when enough is enough. He sees the end of our frayed rope. He does not allow us to go beyond what we’re able to endure. He gives strength for the trudging, though only day by day (See Deuteronomy 33:25, Psalm 84:7).
The end may not be in sight now, but it does exist. We may not be able to see it while we are prisoners of pain, but there is a release date. “Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord, & teach out of Your law, that You may give him rest from the days of adversity,” (Psalm 94:12-13).
Even those dealing with chronic pain can experience closure if they look for it. Think of your life of pain as a book. We know that the last chapter for the believer is in Revelation 21:4. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Meditate on the following Psalm references as you wait on the Lord:
- Psalm 130:5: “I wait for the Lord. . .”
- Psalm 57:1: “Be merciful to me, O God. . .”
- Psalm 71:20-21: “You, who have shown me great & severe troubles, shall revive me again. . .”
- Psalm 27:14: “Wait on the Lord. . .”
- Psalm 40:1-2: “I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me. . .”
May I see the eternal view & not look at current circumstances. Help me to focus on You, looking up instead of on things around me. Be the lifter of my head. I don’t want to give up on You & try to work things out according to my own limited underst&ing of the situation.
I believe You have the greater good in mind. Help me trust You are working while I wait. Increase my faith, Lord, to endure in Your grace & power. Encourage my heart to not give up. Show me creative ways to pass the time. Help me count my blessings. Keep me prayerful.
Claudette resides with her husb& & their son in California. Claudette is a columnist for Rest Ministries’ HopeKeepers Magazine, called “Drawing Near.” She has been featured on Rest Ministries podcast, Hope Endures speaking about I Feel Guilty Because I am Not Doing Enough! Listen here!
Tis is excerpted from Claudette’s book,Think It Not Strange: Making Peace With Chronic Pain © 2003,. Visit her web site wit encouragment, a printable study guide & moe at www.thinkitnotstrange.com.