My Dear Fellow Suffering Saint,
I hope you have had some blessings to bring small joys to your days. Perhaps, a ray of sun shone through your window in a way that gave your eyes beautiful colors to see. Or, maybe, you have recently been touched by the warm hand of a loved one, so that the physical and emotional pleasure of this sensation outweighed the harder parts of what you are experiencing. Isn’t it wonderful that we aren’t without blessings in some form?
I have been reading biographies of Christians with the hope of being encouraged in my own walk in the valley of chronic illness. While this endeavor has been fruitful in many ways, I have found that the comments expressed by some biographers have tempted me to be discouraged.
The description of the lives of Christians who have suffered extended illnesses usually includes high praise for the many accomplishments they have managed while suffering. It is wonderful that the subjects of these biographies were able to accomplish much for worthy causes. However, where does this focus on earthly accomplishments leave people like you and me?
I know you are unable to leave your bed; my biggest accomplishment yesterday was to put my own socks on. How do we not become discouraged when the world screams at us to “be more by doing more” – remember the Enjoli woman😏?
We have to remember that the authors of biographies are not the Author of Scripture. While biographies are helpful in some ways, Jesus is “… the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Here is where we must focus our eyes (Heb. 12:2). This is where our hearts and minds must dwell (Phil. 4:8-9).
Our goal is to finish our race in this life while fighting the fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12, 2 Tim. 4:7). John Piper states it very well when he says:
The fight is a fight of faith. It’s not a fight to get out of bed; it’s a fight to rest in God. It’s not a fight to keep all the powers of youth, but to trust in the power of God. The race is run against doubt in God’s goodness and love for us. It’s a fight to stay satisfied in God despite the broken hips and lost sight and failed memory and inexplicable fatigue.
So, please be encouraged. The hard work we do preaching to ourselves through all the pain and fatigue and loss is what is pleasing to God whether anyone ever writes our biographies or not.