Most of you know that I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), classical type. With that comes many sister diseases, such as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, gastroparesis, mast cell activation disorder, early onset osteoarthritis, and things like bad teeth, because the collagen is faulty and breaks down. I had a tooth pulled Monday. Tuesday I broke another tooth. While I don’t break a tooth every day with EDS, I do have a health issue every day. I’d even go as far to say, every hour. An hour doesn’t go by when I don’t have a joint pop out of the socket, excruciating stomach pain, mast cell reaction, or another “gift” from EDS. I’ll admit. Some days I don’t feel grateful. The Lord doesn’t just ask us to fight our infirmities. He doesn’t even just ask us to “take it like a man,” as it were. He asks us to be thankful for those infirmities. He gave us Paul for an example. Paul gloried in his infirmities.
2 Corinthians 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
There are times when I can do that without too much difficulty, but other days, it doesn’t come so naturally. On those days, I need to call out to the Lord and ask His help to find that place of gratitude. I need to count my blessings. I have pain, but I have the use of my hands. My hip pops out, but at least I can walk. My shoulder isn’t secure, but I can use my arms. My husband is here beside me, a partner through the good and the bad. He does the things I cannot do. He loves me and I love him. I am surrounded by farm animals that I enjoy. God blessed us with a son. We even have a dog, Sammy, who has lived to a ripe old age of seventeen. There is plenty to be grateful for.
If I reach deep enough and trust God enough, I find that gratitude for my physical infirmities. I understand that I wouldn’t be as focused on the Lord if I didn’t have them. I’d most likely still be working full time and who knows what other activities I would be involved in. Knowing that my pain draws me nearer to Him is enough to make me grateful for the pain. Yet, it doesn’t always come so easily. I need His help finding that gratitude. I need to look at Paul’s life. I need to remember Jesus’ life and what He did for us. I need to really focus to find that place of gratitude on days like today.
Our guest blogger for today never sent their post in, so I had the opportunity to share my thoughts with you. One more thing to add to my gratitude list. Let’s not forget the warm bed, the roof over my head, the food in my belly. There are also the non-essentials. The extra blessings. The brand new computer to write my blog posts and books. The increase in income from my books. All those little blessings that God showers me with.
Lord, thank you for the blessings you have filled my life with. Please continue to help me find that place of gratitude in my suffering. Help me to see it as a blessing. Please help those reading this to recognize their blessings. I know that my infirmities keep me close to You. For that, Lord, I am truly grateful. I know you’ve already forgiven me for the whining and complaining on the tough days, but I confess it and ask that You help me do better.
In Jesus’ precious and holy name I pray. Amen.
Share your thoughts on gratitude in suffering in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
(All verse references are taken from the Authorized Version of the Bible, commonly referred to as the King James Version.)