Reflections of God’s Love Devotional: Looking Past Feelings of Anger and Abandonment to Discover God’s Love for Those of Us with Chronic Conditions and Pain

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:19 (NLT)

do not have to literally climb the highest mountains, explore the furthest depths of the sea, or soar to the highest heights in order to live a full and happy life. Good news for those of us whose bodies place limits on these activities. So often during my illness I have felt that my life was slipping away, that I was missing out on all this world had to offer, because I was limited by my body and left waiting for my health to improve so that I could focus on something else.  The problem with this was that I was missing out on my life, not because my health needed to improve so that I could experience life, but because my life was happening while I was “waiting” and I was discounting it.

As the years stretched by, I started to awaken to the reality that this is my life, and if I wanted to live it than I better quit waiting and start.  But, I didn’t know how.  I began praying, begging really, for God to take away my emptiness and to allow me to have a fulfilled and meaningful life.  And I am slowly learning: a full life is not achieved by the great feats we accomplish, the money we earn, or the amount of the world we explore. The Bible tells us that a full life comes from experiencing the love of God.  But, when we look at our hurt and battered bodies, when we reflect on what we have lost, and when we focus on the rough road ahead, it can be difficult to feel Christ’s love.  In fact, rather than seeing a god who loves us, we probably see a god who has at best forgotten and abandoned us, and who at worst has deliberately harmed us.  But, like the picture we see when we look into the fun house mirror, which tells us that our legs are only inches high and our torsos are inexorably wide, this evidence of god is distorted and misleading.
 

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” (Ephesians 3:12 NLT)


 

So, if looking at our own lives produces a distorted view of God, and we are not going to receive perfect clarity until the veil of this world is stripped away, then how can we experience God’s love in this lifetime and concurrently have a fulfilling life?  When I was a kid, I loved “hidden messages.”  A very  common version of this was a message that was written backwards on a sheet of paper so that when it was held in a mirror, the true meaning of the jumbled-looking letters revealed itself.  We can use this idea to unveil some of the love of God that resides in our own lives.

 
 

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another,  for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.  No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” (1 John 4:7, 12 NLT)

When we reach out to others in love, it is like we are holding up a mirror to the love of God that resides within us.  For, if love comes from God, and we have love to give, then we must be loved by God. There are many ways to express love.  With our altered bodies and altered lives, we might feel that we can no longer serve God through acts of love because of our pain, limited energy, or altered finances.  But, God does not want us all to live and love in the same way.  If everyone served at a soup kitchen, imagine all of the other areas that would be lost in need, including having someone produce and donate the food!

We can start by praying for others and keeping our eyes, ears, and hearts open for other ways to love that are within our God-given abilities.  Some people write cards of encouragement, others provide a listening and supportive ear or email.  Many people, during their illness, discover that they have skills that they were previously unable to explore, such as making a craft-item or developing their musical talents.  Whatever unique ways to love lie within us, if we reach out with these skills, then we will find a clearer reflection of God’s love in our lives.

Prayer: God, thank you for the love that you have for me, even when I cannot feel it.  Show me my uniqueness and how I can reach out in love to others.  As I give your love to others, help me to see your love for me more clearly.  Let me be a blessing to others as you bless me with a fulfilled life.  In thy name I pray, Amen.

“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” (Ephesians 3:16-18 NLT)


~This devotional was originally posted on my Sunroom Blog in February 2011~ 

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2 thoughts on “Reflections of God’s Love Devotional: Looking Past Feelings of Anger and Abandonment to Discover God’s Love for Those of Us with Chronic Conditions and Pain

    • Glad you enjoyed it Lucy! When I started my blog in the Sunroom it was all devotionals. They’re still there. I assumed that when I made a stand alone blog I’d write as many but I found myself in a more seeking place and writing became more of a struggle for me. I’ve wound up using my writing spoons to address other topics, although I think we can never truly separate the mind, body, and spirit.

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