“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving in us an eternal glory, that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV) When we go through suffering of any kind do we think there is a purpose? Do we think we have done something wrong to deserve it? Suffering can seem so random. I have suffered a few very hard circumstances in my life, such as the death of my daughter and the diagnosis of my illness. I also know there are those that have suffered even more. Suffering seems to be subjective, even if we feel like someone’s pain is worse than ours it doesn’t mean we neglect our own. How do we have hope in the midst of suffering?
When we go through suffering and struggles we are usually taken by surprise. We think “Why me?” The scripture above says, even though we experience painful circumstances the joy we find in heaven will be overwhelmingly wonderful that words can’t even describe it. We won’t even remember all those hard times. What do we do in the meantime though? We still have to live this life and give it all we’ve got.
We don’t like what is happening. We don’t like the limitations that our illness imposes on us. We don’t like to inconvenience our spouses, children, and friends. They go through their own suffering too. They don’t like to see us sick. They want “normal” lives also.
We want to experience joy and purpose in spite of our broken bodies and brain fog. Click To Tweet I’ve found it difficult to find my purpose at times. It has been a journey of stops and starts of different business, jobs and now blogging. Unfortunately my body at times prevents me from putting in the effort and time I want to invest for my purpose.That doesn’t mean I can’t have a purpose though. It just needs to be tweaked a bit! Maybe we can’t work a full time job, but maybe we can work part time. It might be hard for us to get out of the house, but we could work from home. Our purpose doesn’t have to be extravagant. It could be as simple as praying for people and sending encouraging e-mails or letters to people.
What adds meaning to your life and how can you help others? What are your gifts and talents? What adds meaning to your life? You may not be able to use them in the capacity that you wish, but you can still use them. A book I found helpful is by Holley Gerth. It’s called Opening the Door to Your God Sized Dream. It has helped me out a lot with this process.
My prayer life has become a lot stronger since I became ill. I know sometimes the opposite happens and people pull away from God when they go through tough times. For me, at times I felt as though I had nothing left but God. I clung onto Him for dear life. I couldn’t get my hope from a job, from being productive or even from my marriage. A book I love that has helped me find hope is also by Holly Gerth, called, What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days. and You’re Going to be Okay by the same author. Can you tell I’m a big Holley Gerth fan! I have also found hope and encouragement in my list of top fourteen books on living with chronic illness. (Not all of them are specifically about chronic illness.)
When I’m having a bad day I try to remind myself that this is refining my character. What can I learn from this? What can I offer others because of my trials? Don’t underestimate the power of all those things you think of as small. They can go much further than you think if God is behind them. So next time you are feeling without hope, remind yourself that God is still at work.