Does God really love me? To be transparent, believing that God loves me is the deepest spiritual struggle I have. Even though I have been a Christian for almost 30 years, doubt still taunts me. Chronic illness, pain and disappointment fuel this desperate question. Thankfully, the Bible’s resounding answer is “Yes!”
It has been a joy to highlight lessons from the book Always Sick, Always Loved by Michael and Margaret Robble in our most recent posts. In this final series post, we climax with the core message of the book: you are always loved by God, even if you are always sick. We know this love through the life and good news of Jesus Christ.
“Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;
when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be a light to me.” -Micah 7:8
When I think of a daily devotional time, I picture concentrated efforts toward Bible study and prayer. And that’s what I committed myself to for many years. These times drew me near to God and made me aware of his presence and power in my life. After illness, however, my ability to have a lengthy and concentrated devotional time diminished due to declining energy, mental focus, and ability to handle stress—even the slight stress which comes with basic daily duties.
This lack of extended spiritual intake made me feel far from God and like he wasn’t as active in my life as before. I wrestled with feelings that he wasn’t pleased with me anymore and that I was a disappointment to him. I certainly felt disappointed with myself. To be honest, I still struggle with these feelings, but I am fighting to renew my thinking about what nearness to God looks like and what pleases him, especially for someone dealing with chronic health issues.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9
“It is even more crucial to have realistic, truth-based expectations for our lives. What does God say my normal life is supposed to look like?…If our expectations are not based on biblical truth, when things change we will be like my students with a poor substitute teacher. We will freak. We will get angry and frustrated. We will resist fervently all that goes against our expectations. We will find ourselves living in a sea of persistent, discouraging confusion. This is why our expectations in life must be based on the Bible. They must have a solid gospel-centered focus.” (Michael Robble in Always Sick, Always Loved; page 73)
Did you wake up this morning to another day of living an unexpected life? I did.
So many things that have happened to us in the last six years I would not have pictured for myself or my family. We all have expectations of how life should go, with big plans for the future, and a vision of what we’d like to accomplish. And there’s nothing wrong with having a vision or a plan. But as someone once said, “Make your plans, but carry a big eraser.”
Inspiration and nuggets of wisdom from a marriage and family living with chronic health issues.
I would never claim to fully understand the chronic illness experience. But after living six years with a chronically ill husband, I can’t help but see some parallels between long-term sickness and natural childbirth.
When I was pregnant with our son, I attended extensive birthing classes, learned relaxation techniques, and even had regular chiropractic adjustments so I would be well-aligned for the smoothest possible delivery. When the big day came, these measures helped me to cope well up to a certain point—even while laboring in rush hour traffic through downtown! But as it became more physically intense, everything I learned just flew out the window. I was in agony and nothing helped. Our sweet Lincoln made his entrance into the world just by sheer grit and the grace of God!