Although the following is from my journal in late April, it seems relevant to post today:

Mornings have been endurance contests of late, as the pain in my hands has been escalating. Constant. Throbbing. Stabbing. Debilitating. Medicine providing little relief. Pain providing reminders of the joint degeneration that is coloring my world, limiting my abilities to do all I desire.

Yet also providing a reminder of God’s intricate design for our hands, particularly the usefulness of our thumbs. So much of daily life is affected when those joints don’t function as purposed. How sad that all too often we only realize how precious something is after it is taken away.

Our hands are amazing, and I praise my God for the intricacies woven throughout the design of our bodies.

Still, how my hands have hurt. Pain levels higher than ever, rudely interrupting everything I wanted to do. Simple tasks made difficult. How I begged my Lord for relief. Sought Him in ways those at the end of their strength will understand. And oh, how I found my Lord ever faithful, drawing near as His Word promises. As if pulling up a chair beside me, just being with me.

Spending time in the Psalms, it was if the Almighty spoke to my soul. Whispered, I walk with you through the shadows of death . . . but today I walk with you through the shadows of pain.

In some realms, pain can cause a type of death. Death of normal activity, movement, energy levels. Death of usefulness. Death of independence. Death of hopes and dreams. Death of personality, even death of one’s true self.

O God, thank you for drawing near to me in the shadows. I am ever grateful that you are a God who sees, hears, and draws near to those who suffer.

O God, please speak your light and life into the souls of those whose days are spent in pain. Be near to those bodies who this day are wracked by pain.

Be present, God-with, those whose lives are sequestered as a result of all pain has stolen from them.

When pain-tinted brains declare your promises, you, are not real, please give evidences of your compassion, mercy, and comfort. Even as Jesus wept over the death of His friend Lazarus, help us understand how you weep over our pain, our ‘deaths,’ our sorrows. Then empower us to weep over others’ pain, becoming tangible, visible representations of your invisible presence with them.

Help us, O God, chisel into the darkness around us, allowing your Light to penetrate and envelop our world with your sweet presence and sustaining grace.