The Positive Side of Illness, Fatigue, and Physical Pain

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I wrote this over a month ago in the midst of a physically trying moment and didn’t have the energy to edit it into a post.  I’m now 21 weeks pregnant, and have been feeling much better: nausea only in the evenings, less fatigue, and the comfort of feeling our little one move and remembering why I’m doing this.

This is what I wrote ten weeks ago:

I’ve pretty much been sick all eleven weeks of my pregnancy, minus a few great days here and there.  I’ve had the flu; I’ve had a long-lasting cough that threatened premature contractions; and the normal pregnancy symptoms (nausea, headaches, fatigue) have been enough to deal with on their own.

But while my tolerances have been stretched, this has also been an excellent opportunity for me to see my spiritual weaknesses and to fully depend on the Lord.

There is nothing like having the areas we most depend on ripped out from under us.  I’ve always been physically pretty healthy, and didn’t realize how much I’d pulled comfort and strength from my place of good health.  Having almost constant pain lately has been quite humbling.  I’ve also become aware of other areas in my spirit that need spiritual transformation, which likely would have gone unnoticed without this ‘forced fasting’.

For the first time, I think I’m understanding the spiritual directive to have joy within suffering–to count it my blessing when I experience trials (James 1:2-4, 2 Cor 12:7-10, Phil 4:11).  I’m not sure there’s a way to articulate this concept, but it is certainly a blessing to experience such a joy.  I have especially have fond memories of spending hours vomiting with intermittent praises to the Lord, and though I also don’t want that pain again anytime soon, it’s really quite amazing that I’d even think in such a way.

To my friends who are also facing physical trials: I want to encourage you not to pray immediately for healing or a ‘fixed’ circumstance, but to first press into the raw love of the Lord.  I have frequently been blessed with sudden immediate healing from the Lord upon praying–there is definitely a place for this and it can increase our faith in a miracle working God.  But let the Spirit lead you to pray before you assume you know what’s best.  I have occasionally been lead to pray for other things: for endurance and strength to face the trial, for the physical manifestation of the Lord’s love and peace, for wisdom and revelation of who He is, for heart, soul and spirit to be transformed into His nature, for the ability to rest in Him despite the circumstance, and so forth.  Sometimes the answers to heart issues are much more rewarding than the healing of the physical issues.

I pray we would not miss out on any of the Lord’s gifts, even when they come in painful packages.  There is a time and a season for everything under heaven (Eccl 3).

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