Living as a Christian with Chronic Pain | The Story of Anna

Most people living with chronic pain simply endure life. 

Precious few of them show character, grace, faith, and hope. Anna does.

I don’t know chronic pain. My body has, in nearly every respect, been free from ongoing pain. As a football player I experienced bouts of acute pain. There were stitches in my chin and a hyperextended knee and a bell ring to the head (maybe the weirdest thing I’ve ever experienced). And while I’m a week into some back pain that’s resurfaced occasionally over the past 20 years, I do not live with chronic pain. Anna does. 

She tells about surgeries beginning at four months of age. In her life, she’s had more of them than birthdays.

More recently, a short list from her blog includes:

    • Arthritis/Joint pain and inflammation
    • Recent hernia surgery
    • Foot surgery
    • Lymphedema
    • Nerve pain
    • Chronic cough
    • Sjogren’s syndrome: an autoimmune disease which causes symptoms of fatigue, dry eyes, and dry mouth
    • Hip disorder
    • Endometriosis/fibrosis – could require surgical removal of colon/ovary (Praise God for a recent answered prayer!)
    • Stomach paralysis (gastroparesis)

Those are her conditions cited in four posts that cover a span of only one year.

I can only imagine her pain. I can’t begin to understand the quantity of doctor visits, health questions, financial details, and (online?) research. Nor do I know how chronic pain comes to bear on faith in God, his sovereign working, and his providential rule over everything. Anna does.

Within her testimony she shares, “the real question was – why did God make me this way? I didn’t understand why God made me different…Didn’t he love me? Was he mad at me? These are thoughts that I had repeatedly as a child…I had accepted Christ when I was about 7; however, there were many things I didn’t understand. I didn’t believe God loved me. Often I felt like I had done something wrong and God was punishing me; and therefore, I also thought I might not squeak through the gates of heaven…Realizing that the Bible is the one and only truth was the biggest turning point my relationship with God. It allowed me to enter a full relationship with God by having complete assurance that my sins are washed clean through Jesus Christ.”

What’s been the biggest change for Anna since receiving this complete assurance? Healing? No. No more surgeries? Nope. “Since I have been walking with God, the surgeries have continued and the pain has probably gotten worse as my autoimmune disease has progressed.” Dang. So, what is it? Authentic joy. Do you have it? Anna does.

What’s her current understanding of living with chronic pain as a follower of Christ? She writes, “I do not have all the answers regarding suffering but I know that there is absolutely no way I could survive any of this without God!”

And she eagerly awaits the biblical promise of a new body in heaven. She looks forward to that day. Who knows when it will come? Anna does not. But, God does.

QUESTIONS

  1. Are you struggling with chronic pain? How has Anna’s story encouraged you? How can readers of this blog pray for you?
  2. Is there someone in your life struggling with chronic pain? Could the words shared above be something that you’d share with them?
  3. Is there any words you’d care to say directly to Anna (or the other “Anna’s” reading that are living with chronic pain)?
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One Response to Living as a Christian with Chronic Pain | The Story of Anna

  1. lori

    Ana, I too am living in chronic pain since age 13, 42 years. I took a terrible fall on my back and felt like I’d been electrocuted. It was excruciating. Ripped from my tail bone, up my spine, to my neck. Nerve damage. In the beginning, I quit as upset with God. I stayed in my room for years suffering like an animal. My family Did not understand nor support me. What hurt the most is they did not believe me. I was always accused of having a bad attitude. Now that I’m old, I see it was God’s plan for me. He draws you near. He does not want to lose you. I pray at times for healing, I do see now that my accident made me a better person and a more faithful Christian. I know, one day, I will be out of this body. I am happy to suffer if that is God plan. My life in pain has made me a better person, my heart holds true empathy and compassion for others, my body is weak, but my spirit is strong. I could have turned into a conceited, vain, materialistic person of “this world”. Remember, we are not of this world. If I dies tomorrow, I have no fear of death. I know that is when my suffering ends. I would have possibly committed suicide had it not been for Jesus sacrifice for me. Faith, Love and forgiveness, in the end, is all that really matters. Love God and Pray for your enemies.

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