Can Chronic Illness Be a Badge of Honor?

Silver Lining

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

I find such comfort in this Scripture. In a way, as we deal with chronic illness, we receive a badge of honor. It is the honor of God giving us the strength and ability to help someone else with similar issues. I sure didn’t see it this way when I was first diagnosed with a chronic illness. In time, I graciously accepted the mission God had called me to.

When I began having symptoms, I was at a loss for words. Why is this happening to me? What is going on? I faced many doctors telling me it was just stress or psychological. The pain I felt was real, no doubt about that. However, the doctors did not see it that way.

When a doctor finally suspected rheumatoid arthritis, he sent me to a rheumatologist. He diagnosed me right away with fibromyalgia. I was so relieved. I finally found an answer to what was going on in my body. There was a name to my pain, it was validated as real. I went on to face many challenges, but I came through victorious in the end by God directing me to coping skills to deal with the problems and live life to its fullest.

If I had not had fibromyalgia I would not have been able to help others who are dealing with chronic pain, an undiagnosed chronic illness, or doctors discounting the illness as “just stress.” Most importantly, I was able to direct them to finding their strength in God to persevere through the trials.

So, the next time you become discouraged by the trials of a chronic illness, remember that every cloud has a silver lining. When you get through that trial, you can pick someone else up with encouragement and comfort to help them cope with the same issue in God’s strength.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, help me to persevere through my chronic illness and grant me the strength to help others with Your love and grace.

About the Author:
Jodi Wheeler is a freelance Christian writer who lives in Tucson, Arizona. She enjoys writing articles and Bible studies for God’s glory. She desires to pass on the messages of hope and encouragement she has found in Christ. Christ is the one who not only gave her the ability to cope with the chronic illness, but pulled her through to the other side with a new strength and hope in Christ.

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7 thoughts on “Can Chronic Illness Be a Badge of Honor?

  1. Jodi,
    What you wrote is so true. I find I can help others who are ill too. I am part of a chronic illness site and talk to a lot of people there.
    We can each help each other out when we need it. As Proverbs says ‘there is a friend who is closer than a brother’. I have found that true with those that understand because they are in the same place I am.

  2. Hi Jodi!

    What a thought-provoking subject! God has a unique plan for each of his children, all of equal value to him.

    Perhaps those of us with chronic illness could be said to be in a “special unit”, with duties that take exclusive training. Training that includes such things as pain, misunderstanding from others, and challenges that restrict us on a more or less daily basis.

    Therefore, in God’s sight, we may very well have a badge of honour. And one day, having learned and practiced our skills by comforting others well, we have the wonderful prospect of hearing him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your Lord.” (Matthew 25:21) My parpaphrase.

    Thank you Jodi for sharing this with us.

    Beh

  3. Thanks, Jodi for your truth filled devotional.

    I can attest to what you say. I look upon many trials that have come into my life – some short lived and others longer besides this constant chronic illness – and God has used every single one of them as you relate.

    And I have been not only the encourager but one encouraged by another going through similar trials.

    God wastes nothing!

    Lynn

  4. Pingback: Rest Ministries - Chronic Illness and Pain Support

  5. Pingback: Remembering We Don’t Need to Fear What Our Illness Can Do « Chronic Illness Pain Daily Devotionals

  6. I love the way you write about your experiences with pain. I would just like to ask about what you said about before you were diagnosed. I have had severe chronic pain in my right knee for the past two years. At first I got told it was a problem with my tendon and got given crutches (it was too painful to weightbear) The pain never got any better only worse. After a while when it should have been healed the doctors slowly and gradually changed their view and just said I was making a big deal over it and that it was fine, I just had to walk on it. Still now after two years of being on crutches and having not taken a single step in that time I have been given no answers and my condition has no name. It makes it so hard when people ask me what I have done or why I have been on crutches so long. All I can say is that I don’t know. I am not bitter about my pain – God has taught me so much through this and I am looking forward to the new creation so much more now it is great. I do however wish I had some more answers… things like a name for my pain…

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