Many people suffer from a chronic illness. It may be accompanied by debilitating pain, exhaustion, deterioration of the body or other symptoms. They have been given little hope of a cure or an end to their suffering.
Pain management doctors try to help them live with the pain, counselors may help them live with the emotional aspect of the illness, friends and family pray for them and help out where they can, but the bottom line is this is their life and there's nothing they can do about it but learn to live with it.
It is hard for those who do not live with constant pain and suffering to understand what they must deal with. I know some people living with Rheumatoid Arthritis or Fibromyalgia. I have arthritis is one thumb that is quite painful and has caused me to lose some use of my thumb. But that's just one tiny part in pain. I can't imagine having that kind of pain in my whole body.
There have been a few times when I've had a pinched sciatic nerve which caused much pain in my back and down my leg. But I was able to get relief from a chiropractor. I know a number of people living with chronic back pain who can get no relief. It affects so many areas of their lives, leaving them unable to carry out normal functions of life.
We have an elderly friend who has been suffering with the pain of Padgeons Disease for a very long time. For many years she's also been losing her eyesight to Macular Degeneration and her hearing has also been deteriorating. She can only see or hear a little with the help of mechanical aids.
Some years ago I woke up in a panic from a nightmare. I had dreamed that I was both blind and deaf and could only communicate with others through touch. The dream had been so real and left me shaken to the core. I didn't even want to close my eyes again, and I had to pray quite a while before the panicky feeling lifted.
I had a new understanding of what my elderly friend was living with. This is the reality she faces each day as her eyesight and hearing continue to diminish. It must be so frightening to know that a day may come when even the mechanical aids no longer help. I had much more compassion for her circumstances after that.
They say we can't fully understand or appreciate what others are going through until we've walked a mile in their shoes. There may be some hypochondriacs, but there are many people all around us who are in constant pain or living with chronic illness that there's no help for. May we show them the compassion we would desire if we were walking in their shoes.
Page 2 of 2 - Hope Ministries is a Christian counseling center, and we are here to help. If you would like to speak confidentially with someone, give us a call at (845)482-5300.