If you’re currently enduring a season of chronic illness, know that God wants to meet you even here. I’ve experienced a prolonged illness, and at times it was difficult to find hope. But God! He is with me every step of the way, in sickness and in health.
Today I’m honored to have Kiki from Chronically Healed sharing what she’s learned from a decade of dealing with chronic illness. May you be blessed by her wisdom, as I am.
Living with Chronic Illness
Hi, my name is Kiki. My life came crashing down when I became chronically ill at 15 years old. For the next ten years, I struggled with exhaustion, nausea, anxiety, disability, insomnia, and social isolation.
I was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Generalized and Social Anxiety, and Lyme Disease. I felt alone, broken, and hopeless.
But God was with me the whole time. I grew closer to Him and He taught me insights about myself, others, and Himself.
Then, He called me by a new name: Healed! I had no idea when or how I would be healed, but I knew that nothing was going to stop God’s promise of healing!
Through the setbacks, disappointments, and heartbreaks, I was determined to get better. God led me to the right doctors and the right treatments to heal me physically, and he continued to work on my soul to heal me spiritually.
Today, I am completely healed and thriving! I no longer experience symptoms! My new life’s mission is to raise awareness, advocacy, and God’s hope for people with chronic illness disabilities.
I love to share what God has taught me through my healing journey to others who are on a similar journey. For more information on my healing journey, check out my website, ChronicallyHealed.com or my Instagram, @chronicallyhealed
5 Things God Says to the Chronic Illness Sufferer
Now, allow me to share with you insights I gained about God during my struggle with chronic illness. I think that if God could speak directly to you, this is what He’d say.
1. You are important!
Our society today emphasizes achievement and prefers ability. Having a chronic illness can make you feel inadequate, like you are not good enough. You might ask yourself: How can I do great things when I feel so sick?
But God is not like society, He does not determine worth based on ability or achievements. And guess what?
God has ultimate say in your worth, not society! God says you are valuable because you are you!
You are worthy of love because you are a human. God specifically made you in his image (Genesis 1:26). You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
God created you because He loves you and Jesus died on a cross to save you. If the God of the universe thinks you are important, then you are important, indeed!
You belong here, illness and all.
2. I am with you.
Having a chronic illness can make you feel alone. Being isolated and home-bound can definitely cause a lonely life. You might feel abandoned by friends or rejected by family who may not understand your situation.
Where is God in all of this? Right next to you!
He is with you through the diagnosis, the uncertainty, and the loneliness. God is not a genie, bound to do your will. Instead, God is your friend through the ups and the downs.
When no one else is there, God is.
“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” – Psalm 139:9-10
Focus on developing that friendship with God. God is about relationships, not religion. Spend time with Him like a friend.
What if your friend only spent time with you whenever she needed something, to get something out of you? That would not be a strong friendship.
Instead, be with God. Talk with him and get to know Him through stillness, Scripture, and worship. You are never alone.
Read Next: How Prayer Journaling Helped Me Grow Spiritually
3. No one is exempt from suffering.
Has anyone ever told you to “just pray harder” in response to your chronic illness?
This phrase is full of blame, shame, and insecurity. It wrongly assumes that the illness is your fault and that you have not “convinced” God to heal you yet. Where is the love in that?
“Suggestions” like this often come from a hidden fear of your illness. The person would not know how to cope if their body became severely ill.
So out of this insecurity, they like to think that they are “spiritual
enough” or “good enough” to easily and deservedly get themselves out of suffering.
But this is not how suffering works. You did not commit some unforgivable sin that caused this illness as punishment. Also, God’s healing is about grace, not works of the Law.
God is not waiting around for you to pray the most eloquent prayer in order to “unlock” a get-out-of-suffering-free card.
Even Jesus suffered. The world’s most perfect and loving person suffered horribly at the cross. Anticipating this, Jesus experienced such anguish that his sweat became like drops of blood (Luke 22:44).
Do you think people went up to Jesus at his time of suffering and said, “You just need to pray harder”? Of course not!
God never promised us an easy, happy life. Jesus once said, “In this world you will have trouble…” But there is hope! He finishes, “…But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:13)
Remember, chronic illness is not your fault.
4. You have purpose.
Suffering exists because we live in a fallen world (Genesis 2). Many think that because evil exists, that God cannot exist. Why would he allow us to suffer with a chronic illness?
There is something suffering can do that a world of happiness could never do — deepen your soul.
Enduring suffering can strengthen your character and capacity for compassion, service, peace, joy, and love (Romans 5:3-4).
Many think suffering is the worst thing that can happen to you and happiness is the best thing that can happen to you. But after living with a chronic illness, I discovered that separation from God is the worst
and unity with God is the best.
What if we can know God’s love more intimately through suffering?
How can one know healing without first being sick?
How can someone experience the peace of freedom without first experiencing the anxiety of oppression?
How can one truly understand the depths of joy without understanding how dark depression can be?
And isn’t healing, peace, joy, and love better than happiness?
God takes all that is wrong and makes it right. What was meant for evil, God uses for good. God takes suffering and uses it to deepen your soul to experience more love and give more love to others.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28.
Your purpose is love.
5: I am good.
I used to rate God’s goodness based on how well my life was going.
Obviously, God was not very good if I had a chronic illness, right? Or, certainly God was going to reward me for all this suffering I had to go through.
I felt entitled to a better life, and if God did not bow down to my will then I judged that he was not a good God.
But God’s goodness is not dependent on your emotions. God’s goodness is not determined by your experiences. God’s goodness is not decided by your life or body.
God is good, all the time, no matter what.
I learned that I could still live a meaningful life of love even with a chronic illness, because I could still find deep joy in praising God’s goodness! (Psalm 135:3).
It was not about my will, but God’s will (Matthew 26:39). Delighting myself in the Lord filled the desires of my heart! (Psalm 37:4).
Sometimes God strips you down to nothing for you to know that He is all you need (Acts 17:25).
God is the answer!
Have you experienced a chronic illness? What did you learn in your battle?
Lovely article! Thank you for the reminders of God’s goodness and the hope He gives. After 23 years of being diabetic, I am able to feel God’s presence in it and have a faithful perspective most of the time. However, I admit that I too have the occasional pity party and just want to not have to deal with it. I allow myself a moment then turn back to these sweet 5 things from your article that God whispers to me. He tells me I’m stronger for it, not weaker and that He loves me and this will not matter in eternity. So hang in there and keep on loving as many people as possible along your walk!
Thank you for these lovely thoughts Monette! God bless you!
So needed this! I am struggling with an asthma flare- up worst/longest one I have had.
I have been off work almost 4 weeks and feel awful, as I am a nurse and should be helping during this pandemic. However, I can’t work with this wheeze and cough.
Then my mind goes to dark places…. will I ever be healed? will I ever get back to my job on a maternity unit? I know must just have faith, praise God and realize… it’s his timing.
I hope you feel better soon!! It is difficult to keep positive during dark days like this. But God will get you through it! Hugs!
Hey! Thanks for such an important post! Sometimes when you have chronic pain, you just want to lie down somewhere and fold your hands, but then I go online and find words of support! It helps a lot! I once thought that you can just get used to chronic pain, but this is not so, and therefore I just try to constantly look for new ways to eliminate it, which do not help me yet, and I also read such inspiring posts! Thank you very much!
Thank you for your encouraging words! I pray you find some relief soon.
This was so well written. My husband has been chronically ill since before we got married 9 years ago. What began with pneumonia from a mouldy damp basement in his house, to burnout, anxiety, depression, tinnitus and now long Covid. He has been able to remain working through his conditions with one long 10 month sick leave the year before we got married, but he has been able to hold down his job, and since we have moved several times around the UK for his work.
My life has been shaped very much around him and his health, he has some good days but sometimes it seems the bad days outweigh the good. Reading this has helped me just be reminded of Gods goodness even when we have the bad days. And again that He works things out for good and the idea that he uses it to deepen our soul is beautiful. I look forward to the day my husband is healed whether it be in this life or when the Lord takes him home. It is tough on him and has been on us both as a couple and now as a family (one daughter). Thank you for your blogs which I have just discovered! So helpful for areas I don’t always see being ministered into.
Thank you for your lovely comment Grace. I truly pray your husband finds healing. It’s such a blessing you are giving him the support he needs. Sending love
I was a professional athlete, knocked to my knees 35 years ago. Rheumatoid Arthritis fused my ankles, wrists, fingers, toes, knees and back. Diabetes destroyed my heart.. had a quadruple bypass two years ago… RA progressed to Fibromyalgia…. For the passed 35 years I have lived in pain, morning, noon and night… what has God taught me over the these 35 years? That I have to be dead before I am healed (in a glorified body) and I sure better not stumble anybody along the way or I won’t have crowns in heaven… life is tough and then you die…
Life can be tough, God never promises it will be easy. But He does promise to be with us every step of the way if we trust Him.
I have trusted Him to be my Lord and Savior… What exactly should I trust Him with now? To ease my pain and suffering… obviously not. To say, wow I am sorry you are in such pain and suffering seems disingenuous because He could abolish my pain with a thought. He must want me to suffer… How do I trust God who allows this suffering to go on for thirty five years… and what do I trust Him with? To be with me? If you have a jailer with you, who keeps locked in a cell for thirty five years, even though He has the key to let you out… someone says, trust the jailer… I trust Him for my salvation, I trust His finished work on the cross, but how does His presence help me now?
I’m sorry you are suffering. I definitely don’t have all the answers. It comforts me to remember that Jesus suffered too, He knows what we are feeling. We live in a fallen world, and I do not believe God is the “cause” of our suffering. We may never know why. But He is still with us, and He is still good.
Karen Bullock says
Dear Tom, I understand your anger. I hated God for what he stole from me. But in my weakness with all the pain I suffered I began to realize what he was doing. He told me “Purge” at the beginning of my suffering. I had already lost everything , I thought, but I still had my health, then he took that too. I was full of pride and arrogance. This was what he was purging from me.I had prayed “ give me the eyes of christ”. Well, I couldn’t see as Christ sees unless I suffered what He suffered. I’m learning obedience, the same way Christ did, by suffering. Thank God He has given me the eyes of Christ, to love Him and to obey Him.
Ford Garcia says
Great inspirational post. I think that after reading it, people with chronic diseases will perk up. This post cheered me up!
Axel Sanchez says
I think that with faith in God and himself, a person is able to overcome all difficulties on his way.
Binny Babu says
Amen! This is inspiring!! Even I had a chronic illness. Kidney Failure and was on dialysis for 7 years. Never thought I would survive.. but I did and that’s only because of God.. Today being a kidney transplant recipient and closer to God than ever!!
I have gastroparesis. I CAN’T hardly keep food and water down. I have many chronic diseases and have learned that Soul healing is the way. I no longer care if this earthly body can be healed because my soul needs it. This is not something I wanted. But needed to be able to pour out love to more people. I learned to listen to ask for help and prayer. I learned that God can and has used it. I am waiting his mercy and freedom. Suffering with love is power.
I’m so sorry you are suffering like this. Thank you for sharing your faith with us.