Chronic Pain Series ~ God’s Grace is for Real

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Grace seems like something intangible or elusive at times, doesn’t it? It’s not like a chocolate sundae that we can see, smell, or taste. But if it’s God’s grace that we are partaking of, it is no less real than that ice cream; and by far more satisfying.

And just when we might think we have a true taste for and understanding of His grace ~ that somehow, we actually recognize it ~ if we follow after Jesus with all our heart, mind, body and soul, we learn that His grace will continue to surprise us.

The Grace of God is Real ~ and it is ABUNDANT.

He shows up ~ our wonderful Savior. He shows up with His grace a’ plenty. He shows up with it in new and different ways as we walk throughout life hand-in-hand with Him. It just becomes more cherished when the going gets tough, doesn’t it? Too bad that we are such fickle children.  But our loving Father understand us. And He loves us anyway.

I think sometimes even Christians put too much stock in that which we can experience in the physical realm. We are creatures made up of the physical and sensory, after all. Aren’t we supposed to be abundantly “blessed” and walk around pretending to be perfect and happy all the time no matter what is going on?

NOT!!!!

But if we continue to lean in ~ lean in really hard to Jesus ~ especially when things are not perfect in our lives, the Spirit of the Lord grows within us and replaces the need for the perfect human sensory experience with something far better.

I think that’s a better witness for what Jesus does for us in some ways, don’t you?

By the way: God’s grace is not fickle, and it sticks around in a much better way than the result of that chocolate sundae I mentioned. He brings about contentment, acceptance, surrender, or even joy during times that chocolate syrup is just not gonna cut it.

God, through His grace and mercy, makes all things new ~ even when the stuff we are dealing with ~ even our own physical bodies ~ are flat-out broken.

I wrote about pain yesterday ~ my pain ~ your pain. We all have our seasons of various types of pain or hardship in life. My whole life isn’t all about pain right now. There is a lot of good stuff happening too. But as I mentioned yesterday, physical pain is quite pervasive. This is the body we are “living” in right now, after all, right?

But that is not everything.

Yah…this physical pain stuff?  I am finding it is heavy on the sensory side, friends.  Heavy on the physical and fleshy side. Not hard to notice ~ at ALL. Easy to let it overtake and overshadow everything.

I must tell you: It’s caused me to more actively search for God’s grace in the unexpected places. I don’t just mean in recognizing the grace that I receive myself, but the grace that He fills me with and allows to spill out around me as well. It’s all His though. All of it comes from HIM.

Sometimes we shut down a bit when we are in pain, don’t we? But overall, if we are trying to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, He is firming up our faith each and every day.  I find lately, this has mostly been done by showing me His real grace in even the little things.

  • Someone actually talked to me today about their own trial, pain, or suffering.They felt like someone understood and it ministered to them and their heart….

God’s real grace showed up.

  • Someone was nice to me when I explained why I couldn’t go to the annual picnic. They showed me care, understanding and concern.

God’s real grace showed up.

  • I was able to be nice to my customers at work today even though I was gritting my teeth intermittently throughout the day as a result of having tried to exercise yesterday…

God’s real grace showed up.

  • I was able to thank God for being able to make that attempt yesterday instead of focusing upon the fact that it somewhat “failed.”

God’s real grace showed up.

Yes, this ugly Fibro monster is real and yes, I can feel it with me all the time. I told someone the other day that it feels like there is something that attached to me; jumped on my back, and has claw-like and alien-like sharp tentacles that are inside of my body. (Think the Matrix)

But as real as it is, God’s grace is even more my reality. I am trying to focus upon that. Maybe that’s part of what God is doing  in me as all of this is going on.  Showing me how to sharpen my grace vision. Maybe He will use that to help others some day. I know it’s helping me. It helps me when you share your own stories of God’s grace in your life.

God’s real grace shows up. God shows up. God.

Do you deal with chronic pain of some sort? Is it hard for you to feel anything else as tangibly as that pain? It’s easy to be overtaken by it, I can attest to that.

Here’s what I think can be really good about this pain stuff, friends:

  • If we don’t choose to permanently shut down, we will emerge vulnerable, and willing to share that vulnerability with others. This leads to sharing. Period. And sharing is good.
  • We will be able to understand others in ways that certain folks can’t. And that is a gift. A gift from God.
  • We relate to Jesus in a way that maybe we hadn’t before. Jesus knows suffering – all kinds of it. Maybe our pain helps us to lean into Him the way we should even when things are going well.
  • It teaches us about gratefulness ~ being thankful for the good in the middle of the icky,and being even more grateful for the things that are going quite well.
  • We learn not to live as much for this world. When there are more bad days than good (physically) we don’t really feel as emotionally attached to these bodies, the next physical feat we can achieve, or put a lot of stock in how we feel in relation to how we will find a way to live with the joy of Jesus in our lives in spite of the cruddy stuff.

I kid you not: This has really helped me to look forward to the day we receive our heavenly bodies in eternity. No joke.

Do I still hope that one day I will enjoy good health and fitness again if I am here much longer? Absolutely yes.

But either way, I have seen that God’s grace is even more real and more satisfying than any perfect circumstance that could be offered to me on this earth.

Friends: This does not mean we should not pray for healing. It does not mean we shouldn’t have a healthy mixture of hope and expectation, mingled with acceptance and surrender.

What it does mean, is that regardless of whether or not our pain, our trial, our suffering, or our hardship is removed ~ we get to lean into Jesus and look for His grace in the midst of the unknown, the difficult, and the heart-wrecking stuff as much as we do when things are going well.

Has pain or suffering made God’s grace seem even more real to you in some way? If so, hang onto that. Hang on to Jesus in the middle of the pain and in the midst of the beauty. There may come a day when you are physically healed and you have to begin to look for grace when everything else is going well.

We forget to be thankful when we aren’t suffering sometimes.

Paul said it so well….

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8: 24-25

Yes, I am hoping to be healed while I am here. But our true hope lies in Jesus Christ and the life we will live with Him for all eternity.

So let’s keep our eyes wide open ~ not for the things that we actually see in the physical realm that produce false hope or fleeting happiness, but for the very real grace and mercy and love and hope and peace and joy and beauty and divinity and redemption and glory and sanctification, and triumph that we possess as children of our Father in heaven!!

And it’s all because of Jesus. Our very real, utterly grace-filled Savior.

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6 thoughts on “Chronic Pain Series ~ God’s Grace is for Real

  1. I ran by your blog accidentally, but of course nothing is an accident. God is sovereign and has a plan for everything! I needed to hear and see this today. I have been dealing with chronic pain for the last 5 months. It has slowly sucked up my joy, and I sometimes find myself struggling to see/feel God’s grace. Thanks again for this sweet post!

    • Oh it is such an amazing thing – that God reaches out to us through one another…thank you dear friend. I am so sorry to hear that you have been dealing with this pain…I am so grateful God had you come across this today too. I pray you will continue to spend time with Him in prayer. I know He is teaching us wonderful things. It is a blod-sucking thing (pain). But Jesus does wonderful things – He poured out His own blood for us. Sometimes it’s harder for us to feel it when we are writhing in all this body junk. Let it seep in…eventually it will pour. I don’t know if we will be healed right now, but I do know, there’s another kind of healing that He does – in His time. We have only to continue to draw near to Him. I promise to keep you in my prayers tonight and tomorrow morning. And I shallgo check out your blog too! Can’t wait.

      • I have been horrible about getting on here as of late. Thank you for the encouraging words and prayer. How have you been feeling? <<< I ask this even though at times I hate heat question. However, I am learning that my pain does not have to dictate how I feel. God is gracious and he will receive glory through our pain :]

    • Oh friend, my heart goes out to you. Yes, it is a struggle. We have to search for that grace to recognize it, don’t we. God is so good. I am grateful to have connected with you here too!

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