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‘Deep Calls to Deep’ Among Those In Chronic Pain

Posted Sep 01 2013 9:00am

“Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls . . .” (Psalm 42:7)

Ouch. . . my shoulder hurts. My doctor says a rotator cuff is inflamed. My physician attributed it to overuse and–gulp–aging. At the ripe age of 51 I am hearing that phrase already. Yet it is with a touch of joy for me. I am now the same as my peers! They are having various aches and pains, reminders of old injuries and other average concerns. So this is normal!

The pain is more of a discomfort, an ache. It can wake me at night but improves with chiropractic care. It is a bothersome throb, nothing akin to rheumatoid arthritis pain and other chronic conditions you see here at Rest Ministries. I have learned there is a great difference.

For nearly twenty years, I have dealt with chronic pain and have learned a great deal about the pain process, physiologically. Now my experience is proving visibly what I have learned in theory. The whole scope and realm of unremitting and unresolvable pain is a whole separate species from my shoulder trouble.

One is isolated to the area injured, the other sprouts an entire body process, one that includes emotions and mental stamina. Do I hear a lot of heads nodding in agreement? I knew all this before, but now I can put words to it.

Years ago when I was starting a HopeKeepers group, I overheard someone talking about the notice she saw about it in the newspaper about our HopeKeepers groups. Not aware of who I was or that I was listening, she confided to a friend, “I thought about checking it out, I mean, who doesn’t have aches and pains these days?” I knew her well, and what her issues were, and were not.

How could I explain the difference between what she was thinking and what one sees at a HopeKeepers meeting? I couldn’t describe the 40-year-old that rolls in by wheelchair because of fibromyalgia; or the 22-year-old girl with a spine like an 80-year-old stunt man; the 60-year-old whose surgery ran amok and left her with bizarre symptoms?

These situations mess up many layers of life as well as many areas of our bodies. It is a whole different animal we are talking about.

On a recent road trip I found myself limping and stiff when we stopped for rest areas. Again, I could see that my age was affecting me, like many, many other limpers at the rest stop. I loosened up after walking some and ended the trip with only a minor ache in my lower back. This is what the lady I overheard considered pain. And I thought, May God bless her with a continued, uncomplicated life!

Today’s verse reminds me that fellow furnace dwellers and the Lord are the only ones who understand the depth of the difference. We call to each other with compassion and understanding that cannot be described.

One has to be plunged into the deep to comprehend it. I need patience and grace to think good things when I hear comments like the one described. Only Christ in me can do that. After all, He has gone to depths beyond my comprehension just to spare my soul. That’s deep!

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for my dear friends.You have provided me with a place and a group of people that truly understand this curious journey You have set me on. I ask for strength and grace to have the compassions of Your dear Son Jesus Christ with all who suffer. Most of all Lord, Thank You for allowing me to cling to You and feel never alone in this fellowship of suffering.Amen.

About the author Elizabeth Vendley is the wife of David, and lives in North Central Michigan. They have raised seven children. Elizabeth has lived with severe Interstitial Cystitis since 1996. Her passion is glorifying the Lord by writing out the lessons He has taught her. She would love to hear from readers through the Sunroom. Elizabeth welcomes readers to see her musings and gleanings in her blog http://evendley.blogspot.com/.

When have learned to say nothing at all and when is time to speak up? How have built a support system around you of people ‘get it’?

Toby Mac sings “Hold On” in this video. When a friend (or spouse) is hurting, this is a great song of encouragement to hang on a little bit longer, seek comfort in God’s presence and trust Him. Hooe you enjoy, -Lisa

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