We moved flats in 2014 and as expected it took a toll on our health. Each year since there has been further gradual deterioration. Mentally too that’s a hard thing to cope with. But we’re still hangin’ on, and I’m so grateful that amidst the moments of pain or despair throughout the day, I also experience moments of Joy. Not happiness. Joy. It’s true that I’m a cheerful person by nature, but the Joy I speak of is something different.
You know that Bible verse “The joy of the Lord is your strength”? (Nehemiah 8:10)
I do try to be careful about quoting verses out of context, or ever using them like magic spells, giving them undue power. But at the same time words are powerful, aren’t they; and to be used with caution. Because they can either build you up or tear you down.
This January 19th marked the 15 year anniversary of my first day back home to start treatment. At the time I was a week away from my 17th birthday, and we thought within 6 months I might be able to return to school. Now, about to turn 32, and as a sick person with no cure for now, these are some of the passages that buoy me and anchor me:
“We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy”
-passage from Colossians 1v11, translation “The Message”
And here below Paul speaks of his “thorn in the side”, a suffering of some kind of which he wanted to be rid of, but eventually finding himself thanking God for. (I’m not saying God made me sick by the way! Sickness happens. Doesn’t mean God “sent” it to test you or punish you or something.)
“At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” -2 Corinthians 12:7-11 (MSG)