TODAY’S FORECAST: Submissive to grace
It is no secret that the last several months (years??!!!) of my life have been plagued with pain. A chronic illness like Cystic Fibrosis, which impacts so many of the body’s systems, lends itself to pain naturally; yet, the last nine months have been excruciating for me in some sense, worse than anything I’ve experienced before. Despite me trying to “let go and let God,” I continually feared whether this was an indication that my CF was continuing to decline or that something new was cropping up. Neither really thrill me at this point. Today I learned it was the latter. That pain has a tangible name, Fibromyalgia.
I have heard this “term” several times before, as well as ones associated with it including “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,” “Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS,” “tender points,” etc. I heard them, but did not really hear them if you know what I mean. Today I sincerely apologize to anyone who may suffer from any of these for my ignorance and inattention. These are not just “made-up” catch phrases. They are very real sources of pain and suffering to real people. My pain has been relentless, especially in the last couple months. It has been searing, burning, aching, and honestly, indescribable at moments. I assumed it was all part and parcel to the chronic inflammation with my CF; some of it truly is, but then the more recent discomfort is largely due to the Fibromyalgia symptoms.
The thing is, I realized today that no matter what suffering I have endured (or think I have endured) it will never, ever compare to the suffering of Christ. His pain had a name too, it is called “sin,” our sin. I can’t imagine what it was like to be nailed to a cross, can you? Just try to imagine that insufferable agony. To have your back ache from being so brutally whipped and beaten, and then to be shoved onto rough, hard wood by uncaring hands seems more than just a little unbearable. Jesus’ pain did not stop there though, oh no. He had nails ripping through his flesh and a crown piercing his head and temples. He was fatigued, He was thirsty, and for the moment when all the sin of the world was being carried on His shoulders and He felt utter and complete separation from His Father, He faced an ultimate despair. It makes the pain I’ve felt these last few months sound like a “cake-walk” comparatively.
This week as we embark on the journey of Lent, those 40 days in preparation of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice, let us remember what “real” pain is and the gravity and reason for celebration of the occasion. Out of complete love and adoration for us, God gave us His only son in the “Great Exchange” for our sin. My prayer is that I’m able to offer up the pains and tragedies of my life, no matter how seemingly large or insignificant, and seek the grace of His resurrection and His abiding love.
If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from Fibromyalgia and want/need more information, check out these resources: