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My Hope is in God

One day, medical and scientific people will probably develop a cure for ME/CFS. However, they will never be able to do what God has already done. He has taken this illness, this bad thing that is such a distortion of the way He made the world to be, and used it for good. He has used it as a discipline that has shaped my character: making me more humble, patient and empathetic than I was before. He has also used it to give me a window into other peoples' lives, so that I can be with them in their suffering. When they see my suffering and vulnerability they aren't scared of me judging them: they're willing to open up and tell me their struggles and fears. And He has used it to encourage me to dedicate my life more fully to making the world more the way He wants it to be: my restricted energy has given me much clearer priorities than I had before.

So many good things coming from this bad thing give me hope: hope that I can live a life worth living.

God gives me hope that the little I have to give is enough.

In his second letter to the new church at Corinth, the apostle Paul describes how he has a 'thorn in the flesh': some kind of ailment that torments him and seems to get in the way of his work. My CFS is like that! Paul tells the Corinthians that he had pleaded with God three times for Him to take this affliction away, but that God said to him: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:8)

In my own life I understand this to mean that God, in His grace, provides me with sufficient strength to get done whatever He needs me to do. Whenever I realise that I'm trying to do more than I manage, I hold onto this idea. As I trim down my expectations and accept that some things just aren't going to get done (always a painful process) I hold onto this hope: what God gives me the ability to do will be enough.

I have hope because I know that I am not alone.

As a friend of mine reflected this Easter:

“Because Jesus died on the cross,
In our deepest suffering and darkness and even when we die,
whenever we cry “why is this happening? Where are you God?”
God still says to us,
“I will never forsake you or leave you alone.” ”
David Titheridge

I know that, in my suffering, God is with me.

And lastly, I have hope that this illness is not forever. One day – maybe in this life, maybe after I am dead – I will again have a body that works. I eagerly look forward to that day!

April 2014