Devotion: Is Part of Your Illness Experience Colorful?
Posted Sep 02 2011 12:18pm
“How long will you torment me and crush me with words?” (Job 19:2)
I was sitting with my son in a room of over forty grade-schoolers who were waiting for their turn to rehearse their acts for the variety show. Sitting at tables, they were to be doing their homework. One mom sat by a few girls giving them their list of spelling words. These were the words:
I had a notebook in my hand since I was doing some writing, so after the first three, I was intrigued enough to start writing them down. The first three words made sense, illness, treatment, and painful, but when the word careless was said, I felt resentment begin to bubble. Careless? What is that supposed to mean?
Then the word colorful was given. Hmmm. I wonder where that came from? Maybe it was just a random list of words after all. But then the last word was endless. In my mind, a teacher had intentionally given a list of related words.
What message do we send to our loved ones about what it is like to live with illness? Although both our illness, as well as side effects, can cause us to be forgetful or unfocused, do we unintentionally send a message that we are careless?
Do people think that we have our illness because we were careless at some point in taking care of ourselves? Are we diabetic because we ate one too many cookies? Arthritic because we didn’t drink enough milk? In pain because we didn’t exercise enough?
Words are powerful and they are given the ability to help or hinder our attitude. It is not always easy to stay positive or to express our pain realistically while not dragging people down. There are some people around us who will always relate the word careless with our illness and we cannot change them or their opinion very easily– if at all.
But when presenting yourself to the people around you, remember the word colorful. Even in the pain of chronic illness we can still be colorful! John 3:19 says, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light. . .”
When we allow Christ to shine through all our cracks of pain, we can reflect light and color. Some people will always see the darkness and blame our carelessness for our illness. That way they feel immune to the threat of illness entering their own life. But through it all we can let God’s love for us add all the color to our lives!
Prayer: God, there are days when even I only see “carelessness” and darkness as part of the illness equation, but You are a part of this illness and my journey with it, and You promise to always be light. Help me reflect the color you provide so that people see You through me and my actions.
About the Author
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she has lived with rheumatoid arthritis since 1993. If you enjoy these devotionals, you may love her book Mosaic Moments: Devotionals for the Chronically Ill which includes devotions from about 20 writers and a journey through Lisa’s first ten years of living with a chronic illness.