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“God uses chronic pain and weakness, along with other afflictions, as his chisel for sculpting our lives. Felt weakness deepens the dependence on Christ for strength each day. The weaker we feel, the harder we lean. And the harder we lean, the stronger we grow spiritually, even while our bodies waste away. To live with your “thorn” uncomplainingly — that is, sweet, patient, and free in heart to love and help others, even though every day you feel weak — is true sactification. It is true healing for the spirit. It is a supreme victory of grace.”  ~J.I. Packer

In an attempt to get a grip and come to terms with the reality that I will likely never be healed of my physical afflictions this side of Heaven, I am reading A Lifetime of Wisdom, Embracing the Way God Heals You, by Joni Eareckson Tada. In it, she quotes J. I. Packer in the above saying.

The more I read this book, the more impacted I have become. Packer has summarized a reason for hope in a mere 95 words. Joni has pinpointed and addressed inner struggles that I’ve been largely unsuccessful at articulating to others. Frankly, I was under the impression there wasn’t a soul on earth who understood my particular struggles (I know better, but my emotions often tell me otherwise).

I don’t mean to say that I follow Packer’s definition of sanctification by always responding sweetly, paitiently, or free in heart to help others amidst my sickness. Quite the contrary. In fact, lately, I’ve been so beaten down by my infirmity that I’ve been quite the opposite of these godly traits.

Since the onset of my disease, my days have been saturated with fatigue, aches and pains, very little brain power, and digestive disturbances, including the inability to eat a well rounded meal, or adequate portions of food. This inevitably results in the inability to nourish my body properly.

A domino effect takes place, and a spiritual state of extreme lethargy, indifference, and frustration constantly ride my tail, stalking me early in the morning, noon, and night. Sanctification has merely felt like a spiritual term – a far cry from Packer’s claim of victory. 

But reading this book has somehow given me new hope, new focus … a deep breath for a drowning soul. I’m being driven back to the Bible. Back to my One true hope (isn’t that a beautiful word?). Because somebody out there that actually “gets it.”

I don’t fully comprehend why the element of understanding has been such a longing for me. But it doesn’t matter. Fact is, I’ve been longing for someone who really knows what it’s like to suffer day in and day out to talk to me. Assure me God was working and remind me of how He works in these types of circumstances. I didn’t want to hear it from anyone else. Couldn’t hear it from anyone else.

Granted, neither Joni or J.I. Packer have any idea what it is like to live with my infirmities. Nor do I know what it is like to be a quadrapalegic. In fact, my infirmity is much more “silent” than Joni’s, and that brings many challenges in and of itself. Likewise, she has infirmities that I will never identify with. But we all three serve the same God. And our God promises healing.

Until my physical healing comes on the other side of Heaven, by His grace, I’ll continue to flourish and grow spiritually — even during the times that I strongly suspect sanctification has undoubtedly been put on hold, that God is not working, and that He has abandoned me and my miseries. 

Because as Packer said … we grow stronger spiritually, even while our bodies waste away.

Indeed, a Supreme Victory of Grace.

Blessed are you who hunger now,

for you shall be satisfied.

Blessed are you who weep now,

for you shall laugh.

Luke 6:21 NASB


You can read a little more about my physical battle here. This post is simply my first, jumbled mess of an attempt to start obeying a nudge from the Holy Spirit to write about my daily battle. So these types of posts will begin to make their way into the headlines … at least on The Broken Quill. 😉  It’s not something I enjoy talking or writing about (yet!), but as long as He gives me the grace to live and grow in Him, I’ll share it with others.

The only thing I ask of you, my readers, is patience. The last goal I’ll ever have on The Broken Quill (or elsewhere) is to be whiny, ungrateful, or angry.

But this is a struggle.

A daily grind.

A thorn.

A monkey on my back.

And sometimes I expel all of the above flawed character traits.

In other words, it’s a topic I’m struggling with. Not a topic I’m an expert at. And this is a warning that it may show up in my writing!

I am also not accustomed to sharing any of my feelings or thoughts about it, because I am naturally a little clam that sees no reason to. But that’s what I want to change. I want God to take my pain and strengthen and uplift you through it.

So, if you’re brave enough, stop back in from time to time. I’ll not write about it every day. I’ll continue to post Pleasantly Disturbed once a week, among other quirky, writing related, inspirational, and whatever-God-lays-on-my-heart posts.

Regardless of what I write, I hope you’ll join me in the journey.

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3 Responses to “hope”

  1. Peter P says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us, Brenda.

    I look forward to you sharing more as the Spirit prompts!

  2. That photo. Oh my.

    The Lord’s word is good. If He says go, you go! He will surely bless you along your way.

    “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
    (Joshua 1:9 NKJV)

  3. Posey says:

    This is lovely. Strength and bravery are like that.

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