Word of the Week

Can anything good come from chronic pain?

Today, I'm glad to introduce to you my friend and fellow writer, Dena who shares her testimony about her years of chronic pain and how she met God in the midst of it all. 

In 1992, I had a head-on collision with a car whose driver crossed a median.

Since then, I’ve dealt with chronic pain and fatigue. A few years ago, I had neck surgery to replace a degenerated disk and remove a bone spur, and currently, I’m undergoing testing for lower back pain which has been bothering me for over a year.

Some days, I want to stay in bed. (And on certain days, I do.) I cry and moan and wail, having honest conversations with God. I’m often frustrated by well-meaning people who continue to offer remedies—whether pharmaceutical or spiritual—when they know nothing of what I’m enduring. Believe me…I’ve tried it all.

Don’t get me wrong: I am grateful for a supportive spouse and kids, understanding friends, a job in which I can work from home, and the skillful physicians who have treated me over the years. I function pretty well most of the time. And of course, I am thankful God allowed me to live and not die in that wreck. However, for some reason, my prayers for complete and total healing have either been answered with silence or encouragement to endure.

Have I been tempted to despair? You bet.

Have I given up on God healing me? Not a chance. However, I have stopped trying to find answers about WHY God has chosen to deal me this particular card. I realize no one goes through life unscathed, and I recognize that I have been refined by this, my own personal fire.

I wouldn’t have chosen this kind of life, but I do see beauty in some of its twists and turns.

My two sons have learned to serve others in practical ways, because I’ve often needed their help. My union with my sweet husband, Carey, grows stronger every year. (There’s nothing like physical pain to strip off the masks we wear and force us to communicate honestly!) God has also used the empathy and vulnerability I’ve gained through suffering to allow me to minister to others more fully. And most of all, my relationship with God is deep and real.

So, on some days, I find strength and peace in His arms. As I soak myself in the truth as 2 Corinthians 1:20 says: “no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ,” the Holy Spirit gives me abiding joy.

And then, on other days, I complain and rage, lamenting like the prophets of old. I know that He hears and holds my pain, because He created the language of lament. As Esther Fleece writes in No More Faking Fine: Ending the Pretending, “He doesn’t compare our pain to another’s; He doesn’t minimize it; He doesn’t spiritualize it away. We can wrestle deeply with the character and nature of God, because He is longing to give us a deeper revelation of Him all the time.”

I long for that deeper revelation, while I cling to the glorious promise that someday, I will see God, and my body will no longer hurt. As I live in the midst of chronic pain, that promise becomes more than a scripture in an ancient book.

It has become a lifeline.

Dena Dyer is a professional writer, speaker, and teacher, as well as the author of eight books and hundreds of articles. Her most recent book, written with her husband Carey, is Love at First Fight: 52 Story-Based Meditations for Married Couples. She and Carey have been married nineteen wonderful years, and a couple more they don’t talk about. They live in Texas with their two sons (Jordan and Jackson) and a spoiled dog, Princess. For more about Dena, visit denadyer.com.