On Overcoming and Chronic Illness

https://flic.kr/p/GkhraE

Creative Commons – Val Wroblewski

When you have a chronic illness, at least in the beginning, people urge you not to ‘give in’ to your illness. They do it automatically, for it is the thing our culture says to those who are stricken in some way.

‘Don’t let it get the better of you!’ they urge. ‘Don’t be defeated!’ – as if we have got bored of battling, and slackened off with a Mars Bar, leaning on our shield, forgetting we ought to be sword-wielding.

But I remember being a child and standing in the sea in France. I was in the shallows, paddling and laughing. Suddenly, a huge wave came out of nowhere. For what seemed like ages, I was thrown into limbo by the wave, submerged in an underwater prison.

For as long as I was under the water, I felt lifeless, powerless, moving only where the wave wanted me. Then the wave spat me onto land, and I coughed and spluttered while my body recovered from being slapped very hard by a ton of water.

That’s what it feels like to be struck by tragedy – whether by illness, grief, poverty or loss. This is what it feels like to be in a limbo season of life.

It’s not a battle: it’s losing your foothold and swirling beneath the waves. You cannot overcome when the hard times come; you are overcome.

This is our reality. But it is not the only story. We see Jesus: who overcame death, literally. He defeated evil.

This is why John’s gospel talks about overcoming not in terms of something we do, but what Jesus does for us. It doesn’t mean we don’t lose our foothold or get swept into tragedy. It just means that when we do, we can grab onto the hand of someone who isn’t swayed by the waves and can help us through.

Crucially, if we tell Christians they should overcome, we fail them. It is not our job to overcome. Christ has done it, and Christ will do it for us.

All we can do in suffering is reach out a desperate hand. Fortunately, that is all we need to do.

‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’ John 16:33, NIVUK

Those Who Wait: Finding God in Disappointment, Doubt and Delay is NOW OUT – for those who wait (impatiently). Get your copy here. And for a free copy of my first book, sign up here. 

Tweetables: 

'if we tell Christians they should overcome, we fail them. It is not our job to overcome.' @Tanya_Marlow On… Click To Tweet 'All we can do in suffering is reach out a desperate hand. Fortunately, that is all we need to do.' @Tanya_Marlow Click To Tweet 'It’s not a battle: it’s losing your foothold' - @Tanya_Marlow - On Overcoming and Chronic Illness: Click To Tweet

Joining with #fiveminutefriday, 

 

Those Who Wait: Finding God in Disappointment, Doubt and Delay by Tanya Marlow (Malcolm Down) is now OUT – paperback still £6.99 on Amazon.co.uk or $9.24 on Amazon.com.*

*contains affiliate links – if you click through and buy anything from there, you help this writer, at no cost to you. 

Keep in touch – sign up for my 2-monthly newsletter here and get your free book: Coming Back to God When You Feel Empty.

, , , ,

9 Responses to On Overcoming and Chronic Illness

  1. KC Bob 28th October, 2017 at 2:44 pm #

    Well said. I have learned to roll with those rough waves knowing that Jesus has me and will not let me go.

  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser 28th October, 2017 at 7:16 am #

    You’re so right, Tanya, and this is one of the things at which I regularly fail.

    With a terminal illness, I am determined to overcome, myself, no matter what. It’s not likely that I will succeed, and in many ways the hubris has tuned me into a ruthless and not-so-very-nice person, as I will cut loose everything in order to see tomorrow.

    #1 at FMF this week.

    https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/10/your-dying-spouse-395-caregiver-to.html

  3. Gayl 28th October, 2017 at 4:03 am #

    “It is not our job to overcome. Christ has done it, and Christ will do it for us.” Yes! We try so hard to overcome things, but it’s not our job. Our job is to reach out to Christ who will overcome. Thanks for such an insightful post! So many blessings to you, dear Tanya, with much love! xoxo

  4. Cathy 28th October, 2017 at 3:14 am #

    On target as usual. I have a “tossed in the waves” story, too, but my dad (who powered thru aortic valve surgery yesterday) was actually holding my hand when the waves swept me off my feet. I’ve also thought of God’s hand like my dad’s in the waves of life; thanks for the reminder! Hope the cough is not tossing you too much any more…

  5. Ruth Johnston 28th October, 2017 at 12:20 am #

    Yes! What you said! All of it! I wholeheartedly agree. Thank you. Xx

  6. Catherine 27th October, 2017 at 6:37 pm #

    Yes, yes, yes!!! Standing on a chair and screaming YES! You have put into words what I want to say. Thank you so much for this! I am so helpless in the face of chronic migraine and you have said just what I need to hear and say to others! Thank you!

  7. Denise Lilly 27th October, 2017 at 6:00 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. This is so true and needs to be the reminder we give each other over and over.

  8. Rebecka 27th October, 2017 at 10:58 am #

    Amen and thank you, thank you, thank you!

Leave a Reply

Please send me my free ebook and updates