Thursday, October 30, 2014

On Sickness

It’s hard to be sick. And it’s hard when a loved one is sick. It’s hard to feel helpless in the battle against pain. And it’s hard to wait and trust when the fear of the unknown looms dark.

But those life-giving words—“It’s not cancer,” bring a fresh wind of new hope. We heard those words from across the ocean this week, from our nieces and nephew camped out in the hospital with Charly’s sister. And we breathed a deep sigh of relief and thanked God for this great news. It could have been a different story.

My friend Elizabeth, who has been battling chronic pain, recently recommended Amy Carmichael’s Rose From Brier to me. She wrote this book “from the ill to the ill” as a source of strength, encouragement, and hope. I’ve been so blessed by her words this week, both as I’ve thought about my personal struggle with migraine pain and about friends and family who are currently battling different kinds of pain. Some who are living in the aftermath of hearing the words no one wants to hear: "You have cancer." But our illness and pain don't have to define us. These are some of my favorites of her poems:

Dear Lord, for all in pain
We pray to Thee;
Oh, come and smite again
Thine enemy.

Give to Thy servants skill
To soothe and bless;
And to the tired and ill
Give quietness.

And, Lord, to those who know
Pain may not cease,
Come near, that even so
They may have peace.

(“For All in Pain” Mountain Breezes)

Lord, Thou hast suffered, Thou dost know
The thrust of pain, the piercing dart,
How wearily the wind can blow
Upon the tired heart.

He whom Thou lovest, Lord, is ill.
O come, Thou mighty Vanquisher
Of wind and wave; say “Peace be still,”
Eternal comforter.

(“Come, Mighty Vanquisher” Mountain Breezes)

Then answered the Lord to the cry of His world,
“Shall I take away pain,
And with it the power of the soul to endure,
Made strong by the strain?
Shall I take away pity that knits heart to heart?
And sacrifice high?
Will ye lose all your heroes, that lift from the fire
White brows to the sky?
Shall I take away love that redeems with a price,
And smiles at its loss?
Can ye spare from your lives that would climb unto Mine,
The Christ on the Cross?”


“God never wastes His children’s pain.” (Amy Carmichael)

He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.” 
(Psalm 105:41)

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