As a health and wellness website the majority of my posts are about food and clean living. This post is for those with chronic illness or anyone finding themselves struggling along life's journey that could use some comfort food for the soul. When our hearts are weary and our souls are burdened and we feel like we are empty it is vital that we pour back into the void the truth that will not only sustain us but will help us to thrive in the midst of our hard reality. That's correct, you read that right...to thrive.
Thrive: [THrīv]V ERB
To grow or develop well or vigorously. To prosper; flourish.
How can we thrive when the storms and the skies are billowing above and the seas and waves come crashing upon us below? Is it possible to grow when we feel like everything is breaking down and our hope is shrinking. I believe it is but not in the way most expect. The world would tell you to be strong, to push on, to pull yourself up by the bootstraps. Let's not forget how weak and frail these bodies are... how vulnerable and fragile these vessels can be and after fighting the hard fight relentlessly everyday how utterly tired our souls become. "For all our science, we are still vulnerable to tornadoes, waves, and earthquakes. We can send rockets to the moon, yet the tiniest bacteria can kill us. We have no power to change the weather or the doctor's diagnosis of a fatal illness. We are helpless." -Dave Furman. We become desperate for a good word and healing balm. We need help.
Herein lies the refuge we long for, "God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though it's waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at it's swelling." Psalm 46: 1-3. We thrive when we remember that God who made the earth, mountains, and sea also made us. He made us and He knows us intimately. Your life, your health, your current situation is by no means a causal accident or a roll of the dice. In and through our suffering God is at work accomplishing that which we cannot see and cannot fully comprehend. Our kicking against the goads will do more harm to us than good and will stunt our growth, "Stop flailing your arms in panic and embrace the God who has sovereignly designed your circumstances. Kiss the wave. In the midst of the storm, God has your good and His glory in mind." -Dave Furman
I have found many resources helpful along my own chronic illness journey (which I am still battling as I write this). There are two ways to walk this road. The first road carrying a heavy backpack full of anger, bitterness, and constant never ending questions that feel like weights that crush the bones (and spirit). The second of which to fill the same backpack with acceptance, gratefulness, and dependence upon Him who comes alongside and guides along the dry barren land giving a cup of cold water to a parched soul. Same situation different realities. The former was my life for months on end....the later is my current situation. When we are am connected to the vine, the giver of life, we thrive. When we look at the waves our souls becomes weary, our hearts faints, and we begin to drown. Contrary to how we feel suffering isn't the absence of God's love for us. It is in our sufferings that God draws near to us and desires for us to take what He has given and not just live but thrive in it....thorns, prickles, spikes and all. To truly thrive.
If we could just wave a magic wand and throw some pixie dust around and change our moods you better believe we all would've hit up Tinkerbelle years ago. Reality doesn't work that way and fairy tales are for the movies. Real change takes real work and looking up close and personal at our minds and thoughts. What are we dwelling upon and what are we feeding our soul with? Are we walking this road with our Creator, and daily receiving nourishment from His word? Remember we are body, mind AND spirit. Are we creating an environment of joy that envelopes and surrounds us? Remember we become like those we surround ourselves with. Have we sought out people to encourage us along our path? Remember you are on a hard journey and you need to be poured into by others. Below are simple straightforward resources that have blessed me and I hope will help you along your own journey. Let this be encouragement for weary souls and nourishment for the worn down. Let it be a cup of cold water and food for the hungry.
God Will Carry You Through
by Max Lucado
Dark Clouds Deep Mercy
by Mark Vroegop
A Book Of Comfort For Those In Sickness
by P.B. Power
Kiss the Wave
by Dave Furman
Strength for the Weary
by Derek W.H. Thomas
Walking With God Through Pain And Suffering
by Tim Keller
Movies About Redemption:
Unbroken and Unbroken 2
One Night With The King
The Ultimate Gift
The Blind Side
The Long Goodbye
Verses To Meditate On:
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. Romans 8:18-19
Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD. Job 1:20
For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:5
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. 2 Cor 4:17