The holiday season can be a lonely, hard time for those of us who have particularly hard circumstances. Perhaps you have lost a loved one with whom you used to spend the holidays. Or maybe, like me, you live with chronic pain, and each day is hard beyond belief. Or perhaps your little ones are grown and the house is now empty on Christmas day. All of the these things can make the holiday season particularly hard to bear.
Have you wondered what God is doing in your difficult circumstances? Why God allows suffering into our lives? It’s natural to ask why and to want to see some benefit from our suffering, because it makes us feel better if we can see good coming out of the difficult situations in our lives. It makes it seem more “worth it” when we can see a purpose for it all.
If you’ve ever wondered what God is up to, then I have good news for you. God IS doing something. He is doing something very good, indeed.
When your body is screaming in pain, your house is a mess, the laundry is piled high, and your dog throws up on the carpet, you definitely need joy in hard times! That describes my reality right now, but thankfully, God had mercy on me this morning and helped me with the whole perspective thing. It was just in the nick of time, too, because as I write this, it’s soon going to get even crazier as we start dog-sitting a puppy.
In James 1:2, God plainly tells us that He wants us to be able to rejoice in our stressful times. He says, “when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy” (NLT). But, if you are anything like me, you might be wondering how that is even possible.
Today I had to ask my husband to come get me from work and take me home.
I had been sitting at my desk, and when I got up, my back muscles contorted, causing a massive spasm which literally threw me on top of the desk. I imagine I was quite the sight as I was holding onto my keyboard for dear life, not able to get to the chair and trying desperately not to hit the floor.
One of my worst nightmares was unfolding as I realized I was going to have to call my boss and coworker to cover for me. I was going to let people down and have to accept the fact that, at least for now, I am not able to fulfill my work responsibilities.
I hate, more than anything else, to not be able to do what I know I should be able to do. Lately, I have been saying, and have been believing, and have been coming to terms with those two little words a lot: “I CAN’T!”
When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the rheumatologist (who I never saw again) told me that fibromyalgia was related to being a perfectionist, and that I needed to exercise. And that was it. That was all that his many years of training and experience could bring him to say.
When I told a family member (who shall remain unnamed) that I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia (just like his sister had), my unnamed family member replied with, “She’s crazy!” (meaning, the sister, of course, but implying that those with this diagnosis are crazy). Again, he was a healthcare professional.
Now, before I go any further, I should tell you that I am also a healthcare professional, a bachelor-prepared registered nurse of twenty-five years. I was taught that nurses are healthcare advocates for their patients. I took a Florence Nightengale pledge to care for my patients compassionately and be their advocate. I take this very seriously.
I choose to believe that all healthcare professionals go into the field of medicine to help people. We all take a pledge when we graduate. Yet when I got out of nursing school, I was surprised to find that so many doctors and nurses are what I call “jaded.” They have become burnt out in patient care and become immune to people with pain or other illnesses they cannot understand. They have worked a long time (most of them), and are just trying to get through their unbelievably crazy shift.