If you are going through a hard time or in a prolonged stressful situation, it’s tempting to look at others and feel you are missing out. On the surface at least, they seem to be sailing through life and have it easy in comparison. Before long you may even indulge in a little self pity, which, if allowed to continue, can be a destructive path spiraling down to despair.
My wife is long-term disabled and increasingly mobility-challenged. Over recent years, I have been finding a way through two chronic illnesses and found the sudden physical restriction and loss devastating at first. There was so much stimulating and fulfilling activity, including Christian service, that I could no longer be part of. But slowly, as I painfully let go of all that, I entered into another world.
This was a world where we were in the slow lane – sometimes even on the hard shoulder – but where, alongside the difficulties we discovered considerable benefits. There is time for things that really matter, such as marriage, family, relationships and creativity. Disability and illness can separate and isolate. Some friends slip into the background, but slowly friendships of a different kind develop. The resulting solitude gives time – if I so choose to turn from my ‘addictions’ – for life-changing time of intimacy with Father. ‘
Above all else we have real solid hope for now, the future and everlasting. We have become far more reliant upon God, who has brought us through some really challenging situations, often in staggering ways and I know that will never stop. We have experienced something of His healing and are expectant, but trust God to do things in His way and his time. When the going gets particularly tough, I remind myself that my ‘boundaries have fallen in pleasant places.
The ‘busyness’ of the past is now behind me and settled, although now and again I may feel a sadness when I am faced with something that I used to enjoy. I’m stronger now , but my walking is still very limited and I miss the joy of walking in the countryside. Looking through our window early one morning, I saw David from up the hill, striding down the road to join his rambling group for a day out. I am getting on in age, but he is more than ten years older than me and I admit to just a twinge of envy. It seemed to me like he had it all going for him.
There are those Christians who say to have such feelings is wrong. To me, that smacks of triumphalism, which just could be another term for being in denial. Being a Christian is a heart relationship involving feelings, which are a part of us. There’s no such thing as a right or wrong feeling, it’s how we handle them that matters. The main thing is to take ownership of the emotions and talk them through with Father and find resolution.
Met David the other day and had a good chat. He explained how his wife had come through major life-threatening surgical operations and nearly died and also he had to deal with a cancer scare! I don’t know where He stands with God, that’s his business, but I look forward to further conversations with him.
As for me? Walking in the hills is on hold for now. I walk with Father which can be far more exciting and stimulating.
“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Psalm 16:6 Good News Bible