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How to Find Hope in the Midst of Chronic Pain and Suffering

How to Find Hope in the Midst of Chronic Pain and Suffering

Since 2002, I have suffered from chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain. Some of my pain was due to genetics, gifted from a grandmother who had poor posture. But it wasn’t until 2017 that I learned that food allergies were at the root of some of my pain. Although I may never be pain free, I don’t have the intensity of pain I once had. In the midst of pain, there’s hope.

 Here are 10 things to remember if you are struggling with chronic pain: 

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  • 1. We live in a broken world.

    1. We live in a broken world.

    Until heaven, we will never live in a perfect world. Due to the fall of man and prevalence of sin, we will have to deal with illness and the breakdown of our bodies. When illness is present, pain usually follows. It’s an inconvenient (and often sad) reality. 

    Pain reminds us we are human - finite and fragile. "Weakness not only reminds us of the fall, but also of our desperate need for grace," Christina Fox wrote in another article. Read more of her story about how God was faithful in her pain. 

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  • 2. It's not your fault.

    2. It's not your fault.

    Because you have pain doesn’t mean there is something “wrong” with you. You may feel unworthy or less than a person because you have pain and others don’t. But consider this: when you buy a home, you inspect whether the foundation is sturdy enough to protect you. But if the structure is suddenly infested with termites, you hire an exterminator to rid your home of the pests. Is there something wrong with the house, or did something happen that caused it to become unsteady? You don’t destroy the entire house simply because it has termites; something is broken and it needs to be fixed. It is the same with your body. Don’t view your body as wrong but rather that something is broken and it needs to be fixed. 

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  • 3. Lifestyle changes may bring relief.

    3. Lifestyle changes may bring relief.

    It might be easy to blame yourself if you discover you have a chronic ailment. However, genetics, environment, and inefficient access to nutrition could all be factors that play a role. Just because you were dealt a bad hand in the card game of life, doesn’t mean you can’t reshuffle the deck. Research and see if there are changes to your lifestyle that you can make to limit the amount of pain you are experiencing. Are there exercise routines to keep your joints limber and muscles loose? Are there other techniques, like heating pads or ice packs? Do you need something more regular like a chiropractor? 

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  • 4. God has a plan for your pain.

    4. God has a plan for your pain.

    When a diagnosis is first made, you may feel sad, confused, and hopeless about your situation. But God makes a promise to His people in Jeremiah 29:11. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Notice the word harm used here. God never promises we will not experience hurt in this life, but he does promise that He won’t allow things that will cause harm to come to His children. He has a purpose and a plan for everything, including your pain.

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  • 5. God walks with you through your pain.

    5. God walks with you through your pain.

    From Genesis to Revelation, Scripture reveals that God is with us no matter what difficult situation we face. Take comfort in the fact that you have a loving, sovereign God that promises you will never walk alone. He is available for you to cry on His shoulders, beat on His chest and let out your anger and confusion. You may think by crying out to Him you are distancing yourself from Him, but in fact, you are growing in the intimate relationship God desires.

    Until we inhabit heaven in our glorified bodies, we will experience some amount of pain. But God is with us. Read how each part of the Trinity ministers to us in our pain.  

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  • 6. You can choose your response to pain.

    6. You can choose your response to pain.

    The difference between a Christian and a non-Christian’s response to pain is having hope in the One who carries us through it all. We can choose to wallow in pain, or use it as an opportunity to give God glory through it. You can choose how to respond and be a witness to an unbelieving world.

    Watch this video to hear other women's stories of trusting God in the midst of their pain. Chonic pain does not have to be the end of your story. God redeemed their pain, and He can redeem your pain too.

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  • 7. Professionals can help bring relief.

    7. Professionals can help bring relief.

    You are the best advocate for your health. However, you may need a professional’s help. If you do, choose professionals who will treat you as a whole person, not just address the problem at hand. You may have chronic pain now, but it’s your body’s way of telling you there is a problem. Enlist the help you need to resolve the issue now so your pain doesn’t lead to a more debilitating disease later. 

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  • 8. Pain could be signaling an underlying problem.

    8. Pain could be signaling an underlying problem.

    Pain may be the outward symptom, but sometimes an illness can be caused by something else. In fact, many times inflammation is to blame when it comes to chronic pain. If left untreated, inflammation can cause not only one ailment, but possibly other problems as well. Food allergies can also be to blame. Speak to a nutritionist or other trained professional to see if this is the case. Take a food sensitivity test to confirm any suspicions. 

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  • 9. Consider natural alternatives.

    9. Consider natural alternatives.

    Natural remedies may be available to lessen or eliminate your pain. Sometimes a vitamin deficiency causes pain. Naturopaths might offer insight into your situation that a physician cannot. Invest in a consultation with a naturopath. What could it hurt? Even if making an appointment may seem foolish, a naturopath may reveal an issue that you were unaware of, and you may be better off for their advice.

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  • 10. Journey with others in community.

    10. Journey with others in community.

    Even Jesus didn’t walk through life alone. He had a group of disciples He hung around with, and He enjoyed their fellowship. Community is a vital aspect of a vibrant spiritual life. Also, hospitals often offer support groups for those recently diagnosed with a similar problem. Don’t be afraid to seek the company of other individuals dealing with the same issue. Journeying with others in community can bring a great sense of relief. 

    Chronic pain is tough. It is inconvenient, troublesome and difficult. But you don’t have to go through it alone. Be encouraged. There’s hope for relief. 

    Michelle S. Lazurek is an award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife and mother. Winner of the Golden Scroll Children's Book of the Year and the Enduring Light Silver Medal, she is a member of the Christian Author's Network and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Her first book with Leafwood Publishers, An Invitation to the Table, came out September 2016. She also teaches at various writers' workshops, such as the Montrose Christian Writers conference. She and her husband live in Coudersport, Pennsylvania, with their two children, Caleb and Leah. For more information, please visit her website at michellelazurek.com.

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