Suffering in Obsecurity But Not Alone

During my praise and quiet time this morning, one of the chapters included in the Bible reading plan I use, was 2 Corinthians 11. When I got to verse 30, "If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.", I realized this is something I rarely do. I often boast of Christ crucified (as every Christian ought), and I often boast about the good works of God displayed through the hands of His children. I've boasted about my Lord Jesus' power made perfect in my weaknesses. But today, it hit me...I don't often boast about things that show my weakness.

It's difficult to do because I don't know what's enough or too much. And to be honest, I try to forget about all the pain and weakness I constantly feel, because who wants to hear about it? Most people don't. I've had numerous occasions when I've tried to share and either the person is clearly disinterested or they interrupt and change the subject to something funny or cheerful. Some people wrongly judge me and think I'm making excuses to get out of volunteering for something, or serving them somehow. Others think I'm a hypochondriac and am just making all this up for attention because I don't look sick.

And that's the most difficult struggle with my "illness"—it's not easily visible to the naked eye. It's only visible to the loving eye. But sadly, it seems the loving eye, is the one most of us rarely use to see God, others, or ourselves. We look at one another with a roving eye, a rolling eye, a disinterested eye, an envious eye, the eye of hatred and disgust, and the eye of arrogance and false-piety. Rarely do we look up to our awesome Father God with the eye of holy love, adoration and gratitude, and thus, rarely do we look at one another that way.

If we're honest, we'll admit, that the majority of the time we look to our Father is when we want to feel better about ourselves, our situation, or sadly...even our sins. Rarely do we look to our Father to wound our pride and sin-filled desires with His faithful rebuke and rod of discipline. There's nothing wrong with looking to the LORD for comfort and help (we're commanded to). But our sights are unbalanced if we rarely, or never look to Him for the latter.

To the naked eye, I look well. As a matter of fact, some even say I look fit, healthy, and vibrant. I'm 47 years old and our oldest son is 23, yet I'm often mistaken for his sister, girlfriend or wife. By the sheer look of things, I appear to be the picture of health. But I'm not. Inside, I'm a mess. Inside, I look like my son's great-grandmother. And I'd rather look old on the outside than feel this way on the inside.

But since I was convicted to boast in the things that make me weak, let me give you a glimpse of some of those things.

I had to have my first emergency surgery eight years ago when my gall bladder burst, causing me to have sepsis. I have sixteen titanium screws, two titanium rods, one titanium plate and five artificial discs holding my spine together.

I still have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, two kidneys that don't clear well, oral lichen planus, degenerative disc disease, hyperparathyroidism, migraines, and sick sinus syndrome. I have a host of other conditions, but I think you get the picture. My insides are a train wreck. This is why I've had eight surgeries in seven years, countless procedures in between, multiple ER visits and hospital admits, and more specialists than there are colors in the rainbow. And this is why I'm in constant pain and weakness.

But for whatever reason, my wise, good and sovereign Father God has chosen my outside to appear to be the complete opposite of what my insides look like. This makes it difficult for most people to see how much I'm hurting daily and how truly difficult simple tasks like, eating, cooking, cleaning, and meeting someone for lunch or coffee is for me.

It takes a loving eye to notice that I'm pressing firmly on the side of my face, next to my ear because I'm in extreme pain while talking or chewing due to the discs dislocations on both sides of my jaw. It takes a loving eye to notice that I keep changing positions whether I'm standing or sitting because I'm hurting so bad and have to move constantly in order to shift the pain from one area to another. Due to my rebellious nature, I'm somewhat ambidextrous and can do many things with my left hand just as well as I do them with my right. So it takes a loving eye to notice that I'll start eating, writing, cooking or doing things with my left hand rather than with my right because my right shoulder, arm and hands are too weak, or they're in too much pain to move.

Only those who look at me with the eye of love, can see all these little ways where I exhibit how much pain and weakness I'm suffering from right before their eyes. And thus, most of the time, I suffer in obscurity—but I'm never alone. Through it all, my gracious Savior, who's suffered and endured more pain and heartache than any human being can imagine, understands how I feel and has compassion on me. Compared to what Christ suffered for my sake, everything I just mentioned here is like a cake walk. It's not even in the same league. But I will boast today, and endeavor to boast more often, of the things that make me weak, so that it can be more clearly seen that if I can do anything, no matter how small or easy it may seem to others, it is only by the great might and grace of God that I am able to do anything.

"For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong...For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us...So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, so we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal...[Therefore] I do not consider my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God...[for] Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
-2 Corinthians 12:10, Romans 8:18, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Acts 20:24, Philippians 2:17

May God teach us all to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom, and die to self daily, so we can live for Christ daily.

**NOTE: Before you comment or send me an email with remedies and an array of solutions for all these things that make me weak, please know that it's due to the severe damage done to me because of the sins of others whom I will never publicly shame, and therefore, will never publicly mention. Thank you for understanding.