I’ve said many times that I cannot imagine facing my health challenges without faith. Many other people I know feel the same way; they rely on God throughout every trial, and every praiseful moment, too.
But, what if you cannot believe? Or, more to the point, what if you think you cannot believe?
Perhaps you think that, if you have a physical problem, there has to be a scientific answer for it. You cannot believe in “divine intervention,” because it is not quantifiable, nor can it, sometimes, even be seen.
Or, perhaps you are angry with God, angry about your physical situation, and you refuse to acknowledge that He is a kind, loving, caring Father.
Maybe the trials you face are the worst ever, and you believe that, although God has brought you through all the others, this one might just be too big, too serious, even for God.
Yes, there are many reasons people doubt, or refuse to believe at all. But, I still contend that, in order to live purposefully and productively with and in spite of chronic illness and pain, faith needs to be present. After all, we are physical beings, yes, and emotional, too. But we also have a spirit, and that spirit needs to be in balance with all the rest of who we are in order for us to be strong enough to weather life’s challenges and be lifted up by life’s joys.
There are a few things to consider if you think you cannot believe. First, consider that the thinking part of you is only one part – the conscious part. Belief is a whole other matter, and it speaks to the part of you that is spirit, the part you cannot see but know is there and, moreover, the part that yearns for balance, love, reaching beyond what you can acknowledge with your other senses. Visit with that part of you, your spirit side, and ask that you might be guided to what is best and most healthful for you in your totality.
Second, we humans tend to get in our own way when it comes to believing in God. Either we think we have all the answers (or are afraid to acknowledge we don’t), or we believe that someone else does – someone just as human as we are. Modern medicine has made great strides, of course, and we who are patients need to work closely with our doctors. But they cannot control how we respond to our life circumstances, nor can they know what is deep within our souls (and sometimes, we don’t know, either). But God does, and we can be guided by Him, we believe, when we get out of our own way and acknowledge that human beings do not “know it all,” nor will they ever. Lupus is the perfect disease for understanding this – I cannot “control” my disease – so often it seems to have a mind and a schedule of its own. Scientists and doctors don’t even know what causes it, let alone what can completely, effectively control or cure it. So, what does that leave? It leaves me with believing and trusting in God, who can at all times bring me comfort in the midst of the unknown.
Third, I can say this from experience: Believing relieves a great deal of the stress that comes with chronic illness and pain. Railing against God is stressful. Refusing to acknowledge the spirit within ourselves is stressful. Waiting and waiting for a cure that may or may not come and not moving ahead with a purposeful, healthful life in the meantime is stressful. Holding upon your – and only your- shoulders the complete burden of pain, illness, and other life storms is stressful.
And these stresses are not positive ones.
Opening up to the spirit, letting God in and speak, lifting up at least some of our burdens to Him and knowing that he wants for each of us comfort and peace of heart and soul – these actions are part of belief, and they can start on the road to belief, too, and all the wonderful things and joy that come from it, yes, even with serious illness and pain.
You might not think right now that you can believe. You might not even want to give it a try. But your spirit is yearning, and important to your overall life. A little openness, a little, lifted word to God, can start a wondrous conversation and truly lead to a new and shining life, with and in spite of the health burdens you carry.
Belief helps. Really, it does.
Blessings for the day,