Suffering is an amazing teacher. As of late, it has been teaching me many things and I find myself extremely grateful for this latest range of lessons.
On my last blog post, I stated that I was being taught another lesson and I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be going through ye ole school of suffering once again. But I can truly say today that the lesson was more than worth the price that I had to pay in order to grasp what suffering was endeavoring to teach me.
One of the most painful things about the lesson was its longevity. It seemed as if that particular lesson was going on ad infinitum and I was going to be stuck and miserable for a very long time and my patience quota was quite low at the time. What I hadn’t known time during this time was that the very length of time that I suffered had unknowingly been building within me a reserve of strength and patience that I had been lacking for quite a while.
For, you see, CFS has robbed me of so much. It has encaged me withing a prison. First, a prison within my body, then a prison within my mind, and through it all, a prison within my circumstances as it stole my acquaintances and ability to get out of the house and I have become a hermit. Other than prayer and church, my room is my world…and that world had become stagnant and stifling…and that was the suffering that I had been grappling with for quite some time now. I had been feeling as though my “world” was never going to change and I would be the victim of circumstance forever.
But the most amazing thing began to happen. Through prayer and Bible study, I began to take my mind off of my circumstances and instead placed my thoughts on the faithfulness of God and His great love for me, knowing that everything was going to be all right in the end. And that I was MORE than my circumstance and body dictated to my mind. (The major components of my illness are now gone thanks to a miracle of God, but I still have to contend with a certain lack of strength in my body because of the years of being unable to use my body. That is a bit disconcerting, to say the least. But I am working on that. Another lesson for me. Ugh.)
For such a long time, I had believed that if only my circumstances were changed, I would then be happy. God, however, had different plans. He did not change my circumstances. Instead, He changed ME. Because of the fires of suffering brought to the surface defects of selfishness that had become ingranined in my character. All I had been thinking about for such a long time was me…what I was going through, what I was feeling, wondering how long I was going to have to suffer, wondering when my circumstances were ever going to change. It was all me, me, me…and I did not like that realization one bit when it was brought to light because I had always been one who had put others first. Yet, here I was only thinking about me, me, me.
So, I began to deal with me. I challeneged the thoughts that I was the only one suffering in the world. I challenged the belief that I no longer had anything to contribute to this world. And I began praying again for others and seeking ways that I could help them, for I have always believed that the best way to help yourself is to give yourself to others. Oh, how I had been misssing that part of me!
I thank God for the “prison” that I am in. Because that prison is being turned into a palace. I am no longer praying to be delivered from my circumstances, for those circumstances are teaching me valuable lessons that I could not have learned any other way. Instead, I am praying for grace and strength to endure…and that endurace is producing bucketloads of patience within me and I am waking up each morning with an attitude of gratitude instead of dreading yet another day upon the earth. And that is an amazing thing to experience and see.
Suffering is making me a new person. It is making me a better person and no longer a bitter one. And for that, I have to say…THANK YOU!