“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings . . . Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:22-23).
I left church with a heavy heart. Two friends gave me sad news. Marge has been experiencing mini-strokes. The other lady’s granddaughter has been suffering with mental illness (MI).
Years ago, Marge experienced symptoms similar to mine. We both had cognition difficulties. I hadn’t seen Marge since her new diagnosis. An autoimmune disease is causing her to experience transient ischemic attacks (TIA’s).
After Marge shared her news, we stood silent.
We just embraced each other with an empathetic gaze. After sharing how God has been working in our lives, we hugged.
Then, I ran into another friend. She told me her granddaughter, my former student, recently had been admitted into a partial-care psychiatric facility. Sandy suffered severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. At only sixteen years of age, she has already experienced significant turbulence and loss. Her mother had been a drug addict who sometimes spent time in a rehab facility. Sandy’s grandmother cared for her during those times.
Sandy’s mother died of a drug overdose when Sandy was only eleven. Since then, her grandmother and grandfather have been caring for her.
God tells us we should weep and suffer with others.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15).
“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26a).
That’s easy for us to do because we can empathize. We know what it means to suffer pain, face an uncertain future, and experience losses.
Yet, we can also have a peace in the midst of our sorrow for others. God’s faithfulness gives us the assurance that He’ll provide everything our friends need. God assures us of His unfailing faithfulness in His words for David. He promised, “I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness” (Psalm 89:33).
Prayer: Dear Father, I know that one reason for my illness is so that I can comfort others by telling them how You’ve provided for me. I’m grateful to have experienced Your faithfulness and that I have opportunities to share. But, You know my heart is breaking for those I know who are struggling with illnesses. I’m thankful that in the midst of my sorrow I can feel a calm assurance. Knowing You’ll meet all their needs. Please heal and protect my loved ones. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
About the Author:
Vicki understands special needs as a patient, parent, and professor. She has had multiple sclerosis since 1993. Her 33 year old son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She’s taught special education as a teacher, administrator, and adjunct professor. Through her blog, she reaches out to other mothers of children with mental illness. http://mentalillnessmom2mom.net/ . Vicki wrote a picture book about bullying: Heart Eyes: Beth and the Bullies. You can find out more about that book by visiting her Heart Eyes website: http://www.hearteyes.net
How do you feel when others tell you they have chronic illness or pain?
This is the song “Tears of the Saints” with Leeland. The lyrics are haunting as it speaks of how many people are hurting around us, people who have invisible pain so often, yet we can be a tool in leading them to God. The video is truly moving. Hugs. -Lisa