Embrace Wednesday Writings

Embracing Chronic Illness, Part 2

Last week I shared with you what God has been teaching me about embracing the limitations of my health struggles. Particularly from the book of Ecclesiastes, He showed me that life is meant to be fully lived wherever you are, whether you’re healthy or not. 

And I have learned, both from Scripture and from experience, that any difficulty becomes much less difficult when you stop fighting it and choose instead to (not just accept but also) EMBRACE it.  

In studies both related and unrelated, God has similarly been showing me the value of the process and not just the product, the journey as well as the destination.

Let me illustrate this truth with two different ideas: a road and a place. 

When we use the term road, we don’t use it as a place to be. We don’t say “I’m at the road” or “I’m going to the road” or “I can’t wait to get to the road.” 

A road is a way to a place. A road takes us somewhere.

A place, however, is somewhere to be: a house, a field, a yard, a corner, even a car. We stay in a place, we work in a place, we enjoy a place. 

As humans, we tend to value roads only because of where they take us. But God has a different perspective. From Ecclesiastes and other passages, we see God as a God who values work for the work itself and not just its end product. He values the journey as much as–if not more than–the destination. 

He values roads and places. 

Why else would He tell us to enjoy the work we’ve been given, even when the work seems to accomplish nothing (Ecc 2:24)? Why else would He Himself invest so much in His special Israel only to see so little yield (Is 5:3)? Why else would He commission Isaiah to spend his life sharing a message that no one would heed (Is 9:6)? These are just recent examples from my devotions; the Bible holds many more.

A valley can be a way to somewhere else, but it can also be a place of its own. A place to BE.

And I believe that’s what God means when He tells us to embrace our limitations: to BE in our valleys. Not to despise them, not to hurry through them, not to see them as a delay between us and where we want to be. 

But to settle. To accept. To walk patiently beside Him one step at a time, look for the blessings He’s laid for us along the path, and find joy in the journey. 

What does that look like? For me, it means changing my words from “Lord, I want to run, when can I run again?” to “Okay, Lord, if I don’t run again until Heaven, that’s fine, thank You that I can still walk.” From “Man, this knee/back/wrist pain still hasn’t gone away, why hasn’t it healed?” to “I know I live in a broken body, Lord, give me the grace to do what I can and then take a break.” From “Great, another crash day, I won’t get anything done” to “Lord, help me to truly rest today and trust You for tomorrow, thank You for this time/place I have to rest.”

So I challenge you, as I learn this truth for myself: whatever your valley looks like, BE there. Embrace your limitations. Let God direct you in the way that He knows is best for you. 

(And if this way looks different from the way you’d planned for yourself, let go of your map. You’ll find your valley a much more beautiful place when you lift your eyes from where you think you should be.)

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