Tuesday at Ten: Hope

It was a busy day. I had a doctor’s appointment, and since I’m not able to drive my husband was taking me. Mitch needed to drive almost forty miles for a contract video shoot once we got back home, and this office had a history of being painfully slow. We had already waited more than an hour beyond the time my scheduled appointment time, and we were getting impatient. But this was an important appointment, one where I was supposed to receive the results of an MRI and learn if it showed the cause of the terrible back pain and headaches I’d been having, so leaving without seeing the doctor wasn’t an option.  So we kept waiting until the doctor finally came in the room. The first thing he told us was that the test results didn’t show what was causing my pain. He made a few suggestions, then we headed for home in the drenching rain, and after helping me get inside my husband rushed to his job.

I was relieved to learn that day, not quite a week ago, that I did not have a spinal fluid leak that would require surgery. But the pain wasn’t any better, and it was easy to give into discouragement. How could I hold onto hope in the midst of these difficult circumstances? I’ve personally prayed for God to heal me, and others have prayed for my healing many times. Are my chronic illnesses and pain just something I’ve need to live with for the rest of my life? Is this my “thorn in the flesh”?

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Commentators have argued for centuries, trying to pinpoint Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Personally, I think Paul may have left his thorn unidentified so believers wouldn’t limit the principle to a specific thing. I also don’t know for sure if physical illness is my thorn or if I’ll have to deal with it for the rest of my life. But I do know that the principle from this passage in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 is applicable to my situation. As I live with chronic illness and pain, I’m leaning on the grace of God, with the confidence that it is enough, and on the power of God, which is more easily seen in the midst of my physical weakness. And I have hope, both that God still is able to heal, and that even if He chooses not to, He will be with me every day. Even if God chooses not to heal my physical body during my days on earth, I know when I am welcomed by Him into eternity, I will be whole physically and every other way. So with that in mind, I keep my eyes on living in a way that is pleasing in His sight, whether I do so in my current physical condition or totally healed.

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