The human spirit can endure a sick body,
but who can bear it if the spirit is crushed?
Proverbs 18:14, New Living Translation
These few words from Proverbs say it all about the importance of a strong spirit when faced with any kind of illness or pain. We can see all the doctors in the world, and seek all the newest or oldest of medical treatments. But under the weight of illness and through the challenge of pain, if our spirits are not strong, we will not “bear it” and be the people that we are capable of being.
A strong spirit is the difference between someone who says, “I can’t,” and someone who says, “I will.” It is the underpinning of the will that enables a young mother to get up each day and nurture her children, even as she has serious lupus. A spirit that is strong can enable each of us to face an unknown future with great courage, and to let go of the past in order to move ahead.
A strong spirit is the stuff that fills us when we are most empty, and gives us the iron core of resolve when everything around us seems to be falling apart.
Yet, for all of its importance, I still encounter resistance when it comes to speaking with patient organizations or others involved with “the cause.” Perhaps this is because of the misperception that spirituality and medical conditions have nothing to do with one another. Or, perhaps this is because the invdividuals expressing skepticism or prejudice are unsure within themselves of the state of their own spirituality.
By the time someone has received the diagnosis and learned about it (Coping Skill # 1: Education), and put his or her life and medical records in order (Coping Skill # 2: Organization), he or she usually experiences that ton-of-bricks moment when a greater realization hits, the knowledge inside and out that life will be forever changed and often in difficult and painful ways. No amount of doctors’ appointments or lab tests can dampen the way this realization can instill great fear and uncertainty. But it is exactly at this time when spiritual strength comes front and center.
Coping Skill # 3: Spiritual Strength.
The more we take steps to strengthen our spirits each day, to deepen prayer, to broaden our relationship with God, the better off we will be, on good days and on bad days.
Blessings for the day,