Recently I realized that all my new diagnosis’s from doctors include the same word, “chronic”; chronic migraine, chronic fatigue, chronic myofascial pain syndrome. While I have had migraines and fatigue and muscle pain on and off my whole life now for some reason, like advancing to the next level in a video game, they have all reached a new level of difficulty. Thus they are considered “chronic”.
Chronic, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary means, “marked by long duration or frequent recurrence: not acute; always present;” So that you can understand how that affects my life I will use the definition and combine it with the problem. I have frequent recurrence of migraines; always present fatigue; and long duration of muscle pain. Sounds great, right? Let’s just say that no one, especially me, wants the word chronic to be added to a problem. I have been able to handle the acute type of situation; the short lived, quickly cured, the, I can “get over it” ones. However, once it is determined that it is not going to be any of those things a different mindset must be put in place.
I have discovered that there are a lot of people that deal with chronic illness and pain. All I had to do is go to Pinterest and type in chronic pain and hundreds of pins come up. I find camaraderie there, I find understanding there; however, I also find much frustration and sadness there. People with chronic conditions, including myself, struggle. Struggle to find answers, struggle to find support, and struggle to find purpose. I believe that is because the place we often chose to turn to can only offer us answers that are acute: short lived, quick and “get over it” ones. Although society has learned to deal pretty well with people that have disabilities that are visible they have a hard time understanding people with chronic conditions like me who usually look just fine on the outside. In fact, since I developed these issues I have lost nearly 40 pounds and so I actually look better, but on the inside I constantly feel pain, sickness and severe fatigue to the point of being disabled from doing life like I used to.
What is the answer then? I can’t be offered acute answers for chronic issues. I, like many others in this life battle, need the word chronic to be added to the solution, we need chronic hope and chronic love. Hope and love that are marked by long duration and frequent recurrence. Hope and love that are always present. The only place I have found that I can truly find that is in Jesus. Although I can find camaraderie and understanding on Pinterest and in a few friends, I know I find true companionship by looking in the Bible; by spending time with the “Word that became flesh” (John 1:14).
I find in Him a “hope that does not disappoint”, a chronic hope, one that is not short lived or curable. He was a man “of suffering, and familiar with pain” so I know He understands. He also knows my propensity for sadness but is “acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3) and can offer me the comfort I need. With Him the only destination on the road of suffering is a place called hope (Romans 5:3-5). He is the “God of all hope who will fill me with joy and peace” (Romans 15:13) which is better than any pill I can be offered.
I find in Him a chronic love that doesn’t just have a long duration but is “from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 103:17). The only One whose love was so chronic it took Him to a place of much more suffering then I can imagine; a cross. It was there that He “bore my sicknesses, and He carried my pains” (Isaiah 53:4) It was “by His stripes” that I am and will be healed.
Therefore, no matter how “chronic” my problems may be; because I have Jesus I will also have chronic hope and chronic love!