I’m feeling a lot of discouragement lately. My husband and I recently returned from a trip to California for his brother’s wedding. We were there for ten days, about half of which were very hectic with wedding tasks. Not long before our trip I had just recovered from some kind of nasty throat bug that lasted close to two weeks. During our trip of course I indulged myself in many of the foods I normally don’t eat. Hey, it’s vacation! Then a few days before we flew home I got the same throat sickness AGAIN. I battled it for about 16 days, with nothing bringing any relief. I probably should have gone to a doctor, and they would have probably prescribed antibiotics. But I didn’t, more on that later. So my body has taken over two months worth of hits from everything ranging from sickness to stress to inflammatory foods.
It shouldn’t come as a shock, then, that now I’m not feeling so hot. I feel like I’ve taken a huge step back and it’s getting me very discouraged. I’m feeling that exhaustion again that I had managed to all but get rid of. After a few days relief of throat pain, it now seems to be creeping back. I’ll probably have to take antibiotics, which scares me. Any of you out there who have been trying to rebuild your damaged gut will understand. I’ve put so much effort into growing and feeding the healthy gut bacteria that I don’t know what long-term damage antibiotics might do. My gut health has come so far, even to the point where eating many of my sensitive foods over the last month didn’t make me completely sick all the time. I’m not even bloated, which is a huge victory!
So today I found myself feeling hopeless, curled up in a ball crying over my health. Though I don’t fall into this pit very often anymore, sometimes I still do. I told God I didn’t want to be sick anymore, that I wanted to be healthy. I told him I was tired. Then I pulled up some scripture, and here’s what I read.
In Discouragement I Will Give You Rest
Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28
I have heard this verse probably a hundred times. It’s one of those that most of us know, that sometimes feels tired and overused. But it’s funny how God’s word is never exhausted. Just as I cried out to him that I was tired, he told me to lay my burdens on him and rest.
Living with a chronic illness is like a never-ending battle with constantly changing rules. We’re ambushed, wounded, or fighting endlessly in the trenches. It’s heavy. The only one I know who is strong enough to bear the weight is God, without whom we’d be crushed. I don’t fully know how to surrender the whole burden to him all the time. But tonight it meant releasing my fear and discouragement because I am reminded that he is trustworthy with my life. Not only that, but he promises to give me strength when I am week.
In Discouragement I Will Give You Strength
But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31
I can’t even imagine really what this looks like in my life. I don’t know about you, but living with illness can feel constricting and limited. It doesn’t feel anything like soaring on eagles wings, and I certainly grow weary. Of course it probably won’t be literal for us, not in this life. But God can turn our weakness into non-physical strengths. Anytime we put our trust in him, even when things seem impossible, we are filled with his strength. When we encourage others who are in pain, he is bringing strength from our physical weakness. If we go after our passions, not in spite of, but because of the limitations we must overcome, God is our strength.
I hope you are experiencing God’s strength in your weakness today. If you feel discouraged and fearful, I pray you will release your heavy burdens to the God who is infinitely strong. Rest in the knowledge that he loves you, strengthens you, and takes care of you. And I pray that one day the wisdom you have gleaned from a challenging life with illness will lead you on a path to glorify God with your life. May we all take hold of this promise and fly on wings like eagles! However that may look in your life.