Posted by: AMcGowan | 11/20/2011

Give Thanks

I’ve been thinking of something for a few weeks now, ever since someone quoted a Bible verse to me about being perfectly and wonderfully made. To the person who quoted it, it meant I should claim wellness. I think they were worried I was ‘settling’ for being chronically ill. I know they meant to be helpful, but it started another round of soul searching on my part. Was I doing everything in my power to be well? The answer, once again, was yes.

Most people are well-intentioned and have no idea what it’s like to be on the receiving end of suggestions, even Biblical references, after they have finally come to an acceptance of their situation, whatever that may be. People who suffer from chronic pain or illness have been through the gamut of searching—so if you know someone who is in that spot, please offer prayer and friendship, but know they’ve been on the journey searching for an answer for a long time, and they certainly aren’t settling for anything. People don’t mean to, but when they insist you try this one more thing, it’s like they’re saying you would try their one more thing if you really wanted to get well—and if you don’t try their one more thing then you are choosing sickness and pain. This is incredibly hurtful.

I’ve spent a lot of my life ill, and in being so, I’ve searched out web pages, done research, taken natural medicines, tried out tinctures and teas, changed eating habits, and took loads of supplements all the while searching for those things that would fix me. Let me warn you, it’s a dangerous road to travel. Several people I’ve crossed paths with have turned their search into an almost religious-like passion. And some try to force their conclusions on others. There is franticness in their lives, an out of control feeling, a grasping for that thing. If you just drink this thing, or eat this thing and avoid that thing then you will have complete healing.

Other good-intentioned folks have said something akin to: “You were made in the image of God, He wants you to be well.” I will say this to that: If He wanted me to be well, you can bet I would be. Right now. Immediately with no action on my part except prayer and petition. DONE. My conclusion is that it is for some reason, for His purposes I am not. Which leads me to my next point that upsets any number of people, and hopefully encourages even more: I’m okay with that. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that’s not an easy thing for me to say. But, it’s the truth.

Just like most folks, I have a tendency to thank God for the things that make me happy, make my life easier—and I forget that God is in control of the hard things like illness ( or please insert your form of loss or suffering here). Let me assure you, God is much more interested in my spiritual being than my temporary happiness (because my circumstances are always changing). So, I need to look at those difficult things and, because I know God is loving, be thankful for those things as well. Maybe I should be thankful for those things first because it’s during those hard times He draws me close, holds me up and carries me through. As Christians, we were never promised an easy ride—I’m not sure when that false teaching first arose (somewhere in the first century, I’m sure). But we are assured by His word that He never leaves us, nor forsakes us. And that is something to be truly thankful for.

Hebrews 13: 5-6 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,  “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? (Full text here.)

Paul, who suffered untold poverty, prison, shipwreck, illness, and pain while he lived a life passionately for our Lord shared the following:

1 Timothy 6: 17-19 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (Full text here.)

Philippians 4: 12-13 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Full text here.)

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Responses

  1. Ah, yes..this is a tough one. I have to admit, there arent’ many days, where I am thanking God, that I have Chronic Fatigue and pain every day. I am thankful every day though, for the lessons He has taught me about what is really important in life, that I can’t envision learning any other way. I am also thankful every day for Who and What He is to me…My strength, friend and comforter…those all mean so much more to me now than they did before illness. So I will join with you in thankfullness, to our Heavenly Father, who loves us beyond measure, and is our strength and portion every day:)

    • Amen. I’m so grateful for His undying love! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  2. heard something the other day on tv.,,,, God never promised to keep bad things from happening,, he promised to be there if and when they do- I liked that then and love it now.. never thought of thanking him for the illness and pain but you are right- lessons are learned through it all….!

    • Blessings can come from so many things…even the hard things. God bless you, Muriel. Happy Thanksgiving.


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