Quiet My Pain (Finding Rest in Jesus)
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)
I did not have a good night last night; a discussion about current events triggered some powerful emotions around an area of my deepest pain, which triggered not only overwhelming anxiety but also caused my chronic pain to flare up as well. My mind raced as I struggled to fall asleep; over and over again I threw myself before the mercy seat of Christ, asking him to replace anxiety with peace and fill my mind with the truth that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Have you ever been in that place? My struggle is physical chronic pain and occasional flare-ups of anxiety attacks; maybe yours is a chronic illness that God has not yet healed despite years of asking in prayer, perhaps it’s a marriage that’s falling apart, crushing depression that doesn’t seem to leave, a job that seems to literally suck the joy right out of the room, a messy family situation that never seems to get better, or (fill in the blank).
Joni Eareckson Tada has been a quadriplegic for over 5 decades; she’s also lived with severe chronic pain for many years now and is going through round #2 of cancer at this very moment. She’s a woman very familiar with pain, suffering, fear and anxiety. When I try to put myself in her shoes - lying in bed at 2am, body aching and unable to move at all without someone’s help - I feel like I might lose my mind.
Yet - in the midst of her battles, Joni has found peace in Jesus Christ. How? I’ve often asked myself this very question; when I interviewed her last summer I asked how she dealt with comments like this - “Oh Joni, I could never do what you can; God has given you strength I just don’t have.” Joni laughed as she replied, “Ryan, I’m just a beggar who knows where to find the bread - I am not a strong person!” What do you do Joni when you’re really struggling? “You know Ryan, I go find someone and I ask them to pray for me.”
In her devotional titled “Quiet my Pain,” Joni shares about her struggles with pain, the mixed blessings of pain medications, and incredible blessing of a soul at peace. Isaiah 32:17 says, “The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.” What’s Joni’s not-so-secret secret to dealing with pain and anxiety? This is what she says:
Nothing quiets pain better than a body at rest and a soul at peace. God’s Word says this will be the result when you pursue right living. Keep in step with the Spirit, practice genuine gratitude, keep the door to prayer cracked open, get into your Bible, and give His love to others. In short, seek out God and His ways, and the effect will be quietness of mind, heart, body, and soul.
The “peace that passes all understanding” comes when we’re following in the footsteps of Jesus. Our circumstances may change, but he never does. Enjoy the fruit of righteousness - it will bring peace!