I Got a Rock: Envy and Chronic Illness

i got a rockWhen the realities of illness never take a break, it is easy to lament like Charlie Brown, I got a rock. Lisa shares.

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice” (James 3:16).

As a child watching the Peanuts Halloween special, “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” I sympathized with Charlie Brown. In the program, each child would approach a front door and holler “Trick-or-Treat” and be given candy. Out on the street they would compare what they had received, but poor Charlie Brown always came up empty of sweets. He would say, “I got a rock.”

In my childhood innocence I believed that this streak of bad luck was realistic. How much could really go wrong, time and time again?

Chronic illness answered that question. Managing not only your illness, but the side effects, treatments, infections, secondary illnesses and more can quickly make it feel like God is handing you a bag of rocks. Surprisingly, I have adapted over the years and learned to be content in circumstances I never would have thought I could find joy. Until I compare what’s in my bag with what those around me are getting out of life.

There are days when I look at photos of friend’s fun outings on Facebook and feel envious. I hear how family members are busy going here and there and. . . well–living! I can It is an open door for the bitterness and resentment to slip in. It is so powerful that we are warned that these small bursts of envy can lead to “every evil practice.”

This week I saw a video of two monkeys in research a project. Both monkeys would do a task and earn a piece of cucumber. Both were satisfied and would do it over 25 times continuously. Then, one monkey was given the reward of a grape. What did the second monkey do? He had a tantrum and threw his piece of squash at the researcher.

When these feelings of bitterness slip into my own life, I take a break from the computer, I try to re-locate the joy in my life, and I dive deeper into the Word–focusing on the mercy He shows me each day.

Prayer: God, It is so easy to look to the lives of those who appear to not be suffering, but only You know the heart and circumstances of those around us. Lord, You love us unconditionally, and would never give us a rock when we ask for bread (Luke 11:10, American Standard Version). When it seems we keep collecting the rocks in a life that is hard, show us how You will bless us for our suffering and endurance as we keep our eyes focused on Your mercy. Amen.

Here is the video of the monkeys. This is worth watching for a smile. It makes our feelings seem a bit primitive, however.

Here is the video clip of Charlie Brown I shared about above.

About the author:
Lisa Copen is lives with rheumatoid arthritis–celebrating 21 years this month of October. She has learned a lot–and has much more yet to learn, yet Rest Ministries is her joy. She began it in 1996 and it has been a huge blessing to her now for 18 years! She is currently being stretched by God a bit more as she is beginning to homeschool her son. Lord… have mercy–literally. Thanks for your prayers.

When you feel those emotions of bitterness and envy slipping in, how do you put a stop to it immediately before they can take root?

Do you feel like God is giving you rocks? That is okay, because He is our greatest Rock of all. This is “Rock of Habitation” with Ellie Holcomb, a beautiful short hymn about God being our rock–no matter how many times we fall. -Lisa