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How Chronic Illness Changed the Way I View Good Friday

Are you in a dark place? Struggling? Hopeless? Frustrated? Do you feel defeated?

 

Me too, friend. Me too.

 

This life with chronic illness is often like a rollercoaster ride of emotion. There are high points, moments when you feel hopeful, when you have good days with minimal symptoms, when you get to do the activities that you love despite the pain. But it is so easy to get lost in the lows—the days when you can’t get out of bed, when more tests come back normal and the doctor just shrugs his shoulders, when the pain and the fatigue are just too much.

 

Right now, I’m stuck in one of those valleys. My appointment with the rheumatologist this week was…just really, really disappointing. I am planning a post about it, so I won’t dive into too much detail here, but the whole appointment felt like a waste of time and money. This doctor had very little regard for my suffering. He’s one of those that you just have to wonder why he became a doctor in the first place. It certainly didn’t appear that his goal was to help sick people. After entering his office with such hope and optimism, I left feeling like a deflated balloon.

 

Additionally, my symptoms are shifting again, and that calls for readjustment in many areas of my life. It means learning what my new new limitations are and how to work around them. It means having to re-explain my situation to loved ones who want to understand. It means more frustration with my own body and anxiety over what I can and can’t do.

 

I feel like I’ve been left in the dark. I’m taking steps forward, but it feels like I’m doing so blindly. I ask God for direction, and I don’t get much response. I beg for answers, and I receive none. I am paralyzed by fear of the unknown, and truthfully it sometimes feels like God isn’t listening.

 

It is a Friday in my life.

 

As I pondered Good Friday this morning, I was struck by just how not good it must have looked to Jesus’ disciples. To see their Lord, their teacher, the man whom they’d followed for years, arrested, flogged, mocked, sentenced to death on a cross, and ultimately killed…that doesn’t sound like a good day. And judging from the acts of the disciples, they agreed. When Jesus was arrested, they fled in fear and went into hiding.

 

I’m certain that Jesus’ disciples felt like they too were left in the dark. I bet they would have loved to have some direction and answers to the many questions that were undoubtedly bouncing around in their minds. I am sure that they too felt paralyzed by fear.

 

But hadn’t Jesus told them this would happen? How could they possibly doubt? How small was their faith!?

 

And yet, I do the same thing in the Fridays of my life. In those hard, scary moments, I completely forget who God is and all the promises He has made. I forget that He is good and sovereign. When things look bad, I run for the hills, away from the Cross, just like the disciples did.

 

It’s easy to despair on Friday, but praise the Lord, Sunday is comin’!

 

On Sunday, Jesus rose and fulfilled what he’d told the disciples previously. He was with them in the flesh. They touched his wounds. They believed. They celebrated and worshipped.

 

“Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.”

(Luke 24:46-48)

 

Sunday means we can have hope, even in the Fridays of our lives. We have something better to look forward to. We won’t be in the dark forever. We need not run from the Cross in fear.

 

If today is a Friday in your life, if you are confused, if you don’t understand what God is doing, if you are scared or hopeless or in despair, take heart!

 

Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”

(John 13:7)

Fridays are not meant for understanding. Fridays build faith. And sometimes, we can’t see Sunday from Friday. But we can hold on to hope that Sunday is indeed coming, and that one day, we will understand the purpose of our Friday.

 

I’m wishing all of you a happy and blessed Easter weekend! May it bring you a renewed sense of hope and joy!

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4 thoughts on “How Chronic Illness Changed the Way I View Good Friday

      1. Amanda, this was a beautiful writing, and one that I appreciated. I’m so sorry you are feeling so bad and that the doctors have not been able to help. I’m wondering if they have checked you for (1) Lyme Disease and/or (2) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? I have heard that rheumatoid arthritis can cause the symptoms you have, too, so it’s good you are in contact with a doctor in that field, although you need to consider changing to another one who is more proactive and patient oriented. Never feel you can’t move on from a doctor who is not a good fit for you.

        As far as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, progress has been made in identifying at least some of what causes it, just FYI, and you could google for that information. It’s real progress to now have that condition verified as being physical.

        Unfortunately, a correct diagnosis for Lyme Disease has been elusive for a long time in medicine, but because of their finally facing the fact that the testing they were doing was not adequate, better testing methods and better testing labs have been found. I think if you google ILADS (that first letter is a capital i), you may be able to find out about those two things. This is the more up-to-date organization re: Lyme and associated diseases. The older organization is the LDSA.

        I can imagine it is very difficult for you to be side lined from such an active life. The Good Friday article was excellent for those of us who are believers, as it helps us remember that none of our lives are free from disappointment and pain, both physical and emotional. It helps us remember that our Lord suffered so much more than we do. And that our lives are lived in thankfulness for His willingness to have gone through all He did–out of love for us. It puts our suffering in perspective and helps us remember that we are not promised lives free from pain but that He promised that He will go through it with us by our side, comforting, giving strength, and encouraging. There are many advantages as to our growth as persons and as believers that we can look back on from the difficult things we go through. Most importantly, no matter what happens, God gives us the strength to continue believing in His goodness through it all, and that his purposes are good. We are reminded also that we are living for Him. As humans we can sometimes reverse that order.

        1. Linda, thank you so much for your kind words. I am glad that they were an encouragement to you, and I hope they were to others as well. I felt compelled to share, as I still struggle to live according to these truths! It’s as much a reminder for myself as anything!
          I have been tested for Lyme Disease, and my results were negative, but as you are aware, the tests are woefully inaccurate. I have an appointment set up in June with an LLMD, who I hope will be able to shed some light on my mysterious symptoms as well as order tests through IGENIX. As far as CFS goes, I do technically meet the diagnostic criteria, but since my symptoms are so vague and general, I’m trying to cover all of my bases and be sure my doctors aren’t missing something else. There are just so many possibilities!

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