“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31).
“Trick or treat!” brings these images to mind: carved pumpkins, costume parties, children going door-to-door for candy and treats in their neighborhoods.
Although some things about trick or treat are scary, most are fun and make you smile. Adults and children alike dress up in costumes that allow them to be someone other than themselves for a few hours.
Chronic illness has its tricks or treats too. One trick is that most of us who have an invisible chronic illness put on a mask every day by smiling and saying “everything’s okay” when we’re really hurting–physically and emotionally.
We wake up, drag ourselves through the routine of getting ready, and take multiple medications and supplements to be presentable to the outside world.
Another trick is when a doctor recommends a new medication or procedure, and either the medication is too strong for our body or we have allergic reactions or side effects. Sometimes the procedure isn’t successful or leaves us worse than before it.
The final “trick” is the illness itself. Each day, we don’t know what our disease is going to allow us to do. We might have a great day–or we might have to cancel plans. We may be in severe pain or unable to get out of bed.
And the “treats”–they are harder to identify.
One treat may be a spouse, friend, or coworker who knows we’re having a difficult day, and puts a gentle hand on our shoulder and says, “I’m sorry you’re having a bad day.”
Another treat is when we find a knowledgeable, compassionate doctor who takes time to listen to our symptoms. S/he knows how we tolerate medications and allows us to participate in treatment options.
Coming alongside others who have a chronic illness and offering guidance, understanding, and comfort can be a treat, too.
Our greatest treat comes from God’s Word. In Matthew, Jesus tells us that two sparrows are sold for a penny, but not one of them will fall to the ground outside His care. And we are worth so much more than many sparrows”
Plus, He knows how many hairs are on each of our heads, whether we are wearing a costume or not. Not even those who love us here on earth can care for us like that.
So the next time your invisible illness “tricks” you, knock on God’s door and ask Him to show you some treats.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You that You never trick us, but instead treat us with Your undeserving grace and mercy each day. Please bring to mind Your treats the next time we feel tricked by our illness. Amen.
About the Author:
Jackie Confalone lives in Pennsylvania with Gary, her “groom” of 35 years. She “lives” with three invisible illnesses, Ulcerative Colitis, Endometriosis, and Late Stage Lyme Disease, and each family member has at least one chronic illness. She feels blessed that God uses her experiences to help others with chronic illness. She maintains a blog called Jackie’s Heart at http://jackieconfalone.wordpress.com/.
When have you felt tricked by your illness? Can you think of times that God has treated you by lavishing you with His care?
This is a popular little poem (shown here on video) of “how being a Christian is a lot like being a pumpkin.” I cringe every year as we glamorize ghost and goblins, and always loved sharing this analogy with my son when he was little and we decorated with pumpkins.