Many different types of chronic illnesses exist today. You may even have one of them that you’re dealing with yourself. Even if you aren’t chronically ill yourself, you may know other Christians dealing with chronic illness.
As brothers and sisters in Christ, we’re called to offer Christian chronic illness support. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t quite sure how this looks. That’s OK. We’ll take some time to learn together.
Being diagnosed with a chronic illness means several different things. Many of these are issues that we’d never think of until our loved ones or we become Christians dealing with Chronic illness.
Christians dealing with Chronic illness frequently spend a lot of time praying for healing. They want to “escape” from a diagnosis that impacts them and will continue to do so for the rest of their lives. This mindset is one we must remember when offering Christian chronic illness support. These diagnoses frequently lead people to feel as though their life has been broken and shattered. However, there is one truth we must remember, one truth we should share with our loved ones who are facing this situation:
For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive. ~ Jeremiah 29:10 – 14
You may have read these verses before. Have you read them with an understanding of what was happening at this time? Jeremiah penned these verses right after the Lord told the Israelites they would be forced out of their homes to be held captive in a foreign land for the next 70 years. Knowing that this hardship was part of God’s good and perfect plan should comfort Christians dealing with Chronic illness.
When our prayers seem to go unanswered, we may find ourselves growing frustrated, fearful, and maybe even angry. These are feelings that we need to talk to the Lord about. Even if you can’t form the words you need, He’ll still hear the prayer that’s on your heart.
Although we may find ourselves questioning how our circumstances line up with God’s “plans for good,” Christians dealing with Chronic illness still need to believe in His promises wholeheartedly. He tells us that He’ll never leave or forsake us (Psalms 55:22), all we have to do is seek Him (Matthew 7:7-8), and He’ll be found.
God is our loving Father. He has good plans for our lives even when we don’t see or feel them. As disciples offering Christian chronic illness support, we must help those with chronic illnesses trust and believe this.
As the body of Christ, we need to be willing to offer Christian chronic illness support. Even if you don’t already know someone who’s chronically ill, there’s bound to come a time that you will. May God help you prepare for such a time in your life.