I have to admit that the tune from the old ‘70’s song “Stuck In the Middle” is in my head as I write this but it has nothing to do with the content. Today, I’m stuck in the middle of a trial with no horizon in sight. Have you been there? Are you there now?
You may also be in a deep mire of trouble that’s worthy of a note in Pilgrim’s Progress without a lifeline in sight; you are trying to keep your head above water. You’ve prayed, you’ve gotten into the Word, you feel closer to the Lord than ever…but still, here you are.
I’m sure, like me, you have searched for comforting verses in the Bible and one you found was in John 16:33:“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”(NKJV)
Have you noticed how many preachers preach about this where it seems like the ‘be of good cheer’ part totally overwhelms the rest. But often it doesn’t. In this world, we will have tribulation. Thing is, we read the Bible and everyone with trouble, like Job, comes through it in the end. Great Christian writers have written books about trials and tribulations, and it always seems they are looking at the end from the beginning. They skip through the middle. The middle of the place where we sometimes get stuck.
Like I said, I’m stuck in the middle of my current problem. After almost three years and diagnoses such as Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease, Fibromyalgia, Arthralgia and Reynaud’s Syndrome, I have decided that there isn’t one magic pill to correct my ailments and turn the clock back to when I was healthy. Currently there are a handful of magic pills in my prescription list and growing. Add to that a chiropractor, massage therapist, counselor and soon to be pain management therapist and physical rehabilitation specialist. Still, I’m stuck. Stuck with joint and muscle pain, continual headaches, double carpal tunnel and various muscle spasms, tremors and intolerance to cold. Add to that other various and sundry things that annoy my body. It makes for difficult days, weeks, and years.
Are you there? Is there something in your life that causes you continual pain, either physical or emotional or psychological? Do you look for relief and find only temporary fixes? Have you hoped for an end to this trial and yet you don’t see one?
To be honest, I delayed writing this article because it’s painful to come to grips with the fact that things may never be different. My symptoms may never completely go away. I may be still like this in ten or twenty years. We live in a world that is so far away from the perfect Garden of Eden that many things can attack our bodies and minds and begin to destroy us. Jesus never said our lives would be perfect, nor did He say He’d rescue us from everything that is against us.
I believe in immediate healing and have experienced it in my body. I believe in healing that comes after some time. I also believe in the ultimate healing: that of entering an eternity where there will no longer be pain or death.
Right now, I’m not at a place of healing. Maybe you aren’t either. And it hurts. It hurts to realize all the things you could have done when you were walking in health. It hurts to realize you may never do some things again. Are you in that same kind of pain?
I’m starting to realize that, as my counselor said, “It is what it is.” I think that phrase is totally overused, but in this case, we both agreed that it fit. I need to move on through the grief stages that keep me looking at what ‘might have been’ and more forward when and how I can to a stage where this present life isn’t so painful.
So, I’m figuring out ways to get back into life again. Small steps. When you sink into the darkness of chronic pain and fatigue, you do not want to socialize; in fact, it is so difficult to converse and behave normally around others that you just hibernate. I’m coming to grips with that and figuring out how to re-enter life, with the help of others and prayer.
Other small steps include gradual, pain relieving exercise and learning how to manage the chronic pain that is overwhelming at times. I’ve been reading a lot from knowledgeable doctors and others that perhaps don’t know what they are talking about. It’s a long process.
I’m learning too that there are people in my life I can trust to help guide me through this continual process of learning to live in a trial. I have people who don’t stop encouraging me. People who don’t say, “You don’t look sick!” and wonder if I’m not being truthful. I’m lucky to have people who are willing to let me share when I need to and keep quiet when I don’t want to share.
I’m also learning that my Savior is a trustworthy Friend who isn’t only there at the beginning and at the end; He is there in the middle too. However long that may take. I know He’s urging me on, helping me become ‘unstuck’. He is my ultimate Healer, Provider and Light. I know I can trust Him for strength to enable me to carry on, to find the ‘good cheer’ and to rejoice in the knowledge that He indeed has overcome the world.
By Lorraine Walker