When the Detour Becomes the New Road

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This isn’t the ticket I bought.

That’s what I thought when my health took a detour and I found myself on a road I hadn’t anticipated. A road I wasn’t prepared for. A road I didn’t want to travel.

Laura Story understands how that feels. Everything radically changed after her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Watching him struggle to breathe and withstand significant memory loss, Laura begged God to heal her husband and restore their lives to the way they were.

Life hadn’t been perfect, but it had been good.

Laura told her sister of her desire to return to the normal trial-free life she had before. And her sister insightfully responded, “You know Laura, I think the detour you are on is actually the road.”

The detour you are on is actually the road.

What a horrifying thought.

When my plans go awry, I always want to believe that I have taken a temporary detour. Maybe it’s a long one, but I hope that the real road, the road where I can return to being happy and fulfilled, is up ahead. Maybe it’s just around the corner if I can simply hang on.

Trusting that something better lies ahead is important. It helps me persevere in the midst of suffering. It gives me hope.

Yet at the same time, my hope cannot be in changed circumstances. I have no guarantee that my situation will improve. The hope that will never disappoint me is rooted in the person of Jesus.

I was talking to a friend about that very tension. She doesn’t know how to handle her newly developed health problems. Should she pray for healing and expect God to answer? Or should she come to terms with chronic pain and disability on this new road?

I understand her questions. I often wonder the same things myself.

Should I earnestly ask God to change my circumstances? Should I draw near to Him in prayer, write down my requests, and regularly seek Him for the things in my life that I want to see changed? Godly things. Restoration. Healing. Return to active ministry.

Or do I recognize that I am on a different road? One that may not bring the healing and restoration that I would like, but rather a closeness to Jesus that I could not get any other way.

Yes.

God invites me to ask Him to change the things that I long to be different. To persevere. To trust that my prayers make a difference.

But at the same time, God bids me to accept where I am. To let Him meet me in the darkness. To find comfort in His presence.  

God calls me to do both. Every day. On every road.

The old road often seems like it was more relaxing and easy to drive. The new road can be bumpy and twisty, narrow with sharp curves. And I find myself longing for the ease of what I used to have.

But the new road has benefits too, perhaps not in ease but in seeing life differently. More introspectively. Really noticing everything rather than rushing forward, oblivious to my surroundings.

But regardless of what I gain, it’s a challenge to accept that the detour is now the new road.

I struggle with that reality daily as I experience new weakness and pain with post-polio. Sometimes it’s temporary but often it’s permanent. The loss becomes the new normal. And I must adjust.

The other day I was going into a familiar building when I realized I couldn’t get up the curb without assistance. I wasn’t sure where to find a ramp so I had to ask a passerby for help. She was warm and friendly as she gave me an arm and we had an encouraging conversation as we walked in together.

Since then I have been unable to get up sidewalks without assistance. This limitation will change where I can go by myself and will require me to plan ahead.

To be honest, I don’t want to plan ahead. I don’t like limitations. And yet, like that sweet conversation I had on the way into the building, I’m sure the Lord has unexpected blessings for me along this path.

Much as I’d like to, I can’t cling to the past. I can’t get back on the old road and put everything back the way it was. That’s impossible. Some things will get better over time. Some prayers will be miraculously answered. Some dreams will come true.

But the old road is gone.

And in my mind, it will inevitably be remembered as better than it actually was. The Israelites did the same thing when they complained about their circumstances when they were delivered out of Egypt saying, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions and garlic. But now our strength is dried up and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.” Numbers 11:4-6

The Israelites neglected to mention that even though they had food, they were slaves. Their lives in Egypt were not perfect. They had continually cried out to God to deliver them from slavery.

So don’t look back on the past and assume it was perfect. It wasn’t. Mine wasn’t perfect either.

This new road that I am on, bumpy and twisty as it may be, is the road that God has for me. It is the best road. The only road worth taking.

I am on this new road for a reason. If I keep looking back on the old way longingly, focusing on what I’ve lost rather than on what I have, I will miss the rewards of the new path. I just have to open my eyes. Notice what’s around me. 

While I may always miss parts of the old road, this I can know with confidence: As I seek the Lord, He will guide my path. He will give me the grace to face the future.

I am on the right road. 

And so are you.

 

 

  • January 21, 2016 - 9:57 pm

    Holly - Thank you, Vaneetha. I really needed to hear this.ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2016 - 6:16 am

    Dolly - Thank you for sharing. It was blessing to read these lines – But the new road has benefits too, perhaps not in ease but in seeing life differently. More introspectively. Really noticing everything rather than rushing forward, oblivious to my surroundings.ReplyCancel

    • January 22, 2016 - 5:35 pm

      Vaneetha - Sometimes its hard to be grateful for what the new road offers– but its benefits are often more lasting than the old one. Thanks for writing, Dolly!ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2016 - 7:17 am

    Irene - This message has come at such an appropriate time in my life. Thank-you so very much.
    God Bless.ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2016 - 9:45 am

    Karen - I am so appreciating your blog! And today’s post was one I needed to read as I’ve been dealing with a physical ailment for several years now and longing to get back to my “old road” but realize I need to focus on this new road…thanks for sharing your story 🙂ReplyCancel

    • January 22, 2016 - 5:33 pm

      Vaneetha - Its hard to focus on the new road when I keep looking back at the old one — at least it is for me. Praying as I write this that you will find joy in the Lord as you focus on the path ahead.ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2016 - 9:52 am

    EuniceC - Wow. Thank you so much for this post. I have been traveling a difficult road for the last few years. It has brought a lot of suffering and I have been looking back longingly at the life I used to have before we made the choices that put us on this road. Lately, I’ve been looking longingly at the past that wasn’t perfect and it’s been causing me a lot of pain. Funny how I do that to myself! I compare myself to others of my age living the life I used to have. Recently, my husband pointed out to me that if it wasn’t for the circumstances we are in presently, he and I would not be as close as we are to the Lord. Everyday, we go before the Lord together in prayer, desperate for his help and strength. And He is faithful to help us, everyday. We never experienced that in our old life. We didn’t need him as much. Your post has brought it all together for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your heart to encourage others with your experience. God bless you!ReplyCancel

    • January 22, 2016 - 11:23 am

      Vaneetha - What a blessing to hear what the Lord is doing in your life, Eunice. Thank you so much for writing!ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2016 - 10:08 am

    Alison Talley - Thank you, Vaneetha, for such a great reminder of the love and providence of God even in our losses, disappointments and changes that those bring. Your words are always filled with God’s sweet aroma and His powerful Truths.ReplyCancel

    • January 22, 2016 - 5:28 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you Alison. God is good through all our seasons…ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2016 - 11:32 am

    Tracey Casciano - This is so encouraging and important for us all to remember. I recently went to Women of Faith and one of the speakers said, “Don’t look back, stay in your lane!”

    Blessings to you on your new path!ReplyCancel

    • January 22, 2016 - 1:08 pm

      Vaneetha - What a great encouragement to keep pressing on. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2016 - 1:55 pm

    Alice Crawley - The conversation you had on the corner with the stranger who assisted you reminds me of the scripture In Matthew: “The King will reply, Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me.”
    Both women encouraging one another sounds like a good road to be on.ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2016 - 3:32 pm

    Connie - I don’t know if it was last night or today that it suddenly hit me, “this is probably my new normal”. Although I’m doing things to improve my health, out of nowhere it occurred to me that not all of my problems may be solved. I had never thought that before. I guess I just thought the last few years were a “detour”, as you said, and life would eventually get back to “normal”. Then I read these words and felt that maybe God was giving me some confirmation, and helping me come to terms with some things. I think He’s trying to get me out of the past and into the present. To learn how to really live the life I have now.

    Thank you for your words. They are so full of truth and so life-giving.ReplyCancel

    • January 22, 2016 - 4:42 pm

      Vaneetha - Thanks for writing, Connie. Its a hard realization to come to, yet it is so life-giving to see God is in our present. That’s where the grace is!ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2016 - 5:04 pm

    Trudy - What an encouraging post, Vaneetha. I love Laura’s song “Blessings” that was written because of her husband, also many more of her songs. It’s amazing how God uses those “detours” in our lives to give honor to Him and to bless others. Laura with her songs and you with your encouraging posts. I’m so sorry you have to travel this road, and I pray God will give you strength and sufficient grace for each day. Once when I was asking God for physical healing of my chronic illness, a lung disease, I thought of Paul who asked the thorn to be removed from his life, but God said His grace would be sufficient. And I felt that I need to learn to accept this road of life, but that no matter what, His grace is sufficient. I really love this line – “The hope that will never disappoint me is rooted in the person of Jesus.”ReplyCancel

    • January 22, 2016 - 5:27 pm

      Vaneetha - I love her song “Blessings” as well. Its pinned on my bulletin board to remind me that His blessings often come through raindrops and sleepless nights. I am ever so thankful that His grace is sufficient for everything!ReplyCancel

  • January 23, 2016 - 6:24 am

    Elaine - Change is so hard. I question God, then come to my senses. He knows what I don’t, He sees what I don’t. Trust and obey. Believe the new road(s) he makes us travel will be always for our good. Thank you for blessing us with words of wisdom and encouragement.ReplyCancel

    • January 23, 2016 - 12:24 pm

      Vaneetha - Its always hard to walk the new road by faith and not by sight. But what a blessing to know that it is always for our good and His glory.ReplyCancel

  • January 23, 2016 - 10:54 pm

    Jimmy Manser - Thank you, Vaneetha. In the midst of suffering, pain, injustice, and detours, we all have to decide what’s our true identity and what we value to teach along our life path. For me, redemption through the Cross is the “way and truth”. Christ is my identity, rock, and hope. While the path less traveled is troubling in the flesh, I yield to the power of God’s spirit within. If my life is to have purpose, I’ll willingly take that detour and not fear, but have a rock of faith in Christ that promises to prosper me in all things that reserve my eternal place. Yogi Berra is famous for many things he accomplished in baseball, but most people remember his funny quote: “If you come to a fork in the road, take it”. I’m going to take the liberty to modify that quote to make it my own: “If you come to a detour in the road, take it”. Let’s be encouraged in our detours.ReplyCancel

    • January 24, 2016 - 1:46 pm

      Vaneetha - “Let’s be encouraged in our detours.” Amen. I’m thankful God is with us on every road we travel. Thanks for writing, Jimmy.ReplyCancel

  • January 28, 2016 - 5:17 pm

    Andrea - Thank you Vaneetha for this post. Your testimony of the Lord in the midst of physical suffering is very encouraging to me. I have had fibromyalgia for 11 years and everytime it begins effecting a new area of my body I tend to get frustrated because I know it may be there forever now as is the pattern for me. Now God has me on a road with chronic hives. Being uncomfortable has taken on a whole new meaning. As He has taken away little things that I’ve liked to do (because of the pain, tension and migraines and daily hives), idols that I worshipped, or even foods I liked to eat (as I explore reasons for the hives)… I have been given the gift of Him through salvation after my pain began, a quieter life, less distractions, a refining of my character that could have come no other way. I can praise Him for the blessings of trials such as these. I’ve also found that when I stop fighting the latest trial or health decline, lean into Him, trusting the Lord, I have Joy that only God could grant. There are of course still hard and emotional, gut wrenching times, but I can see why God does not take my thorn in the flesh away. It is for my good and His glory.ReplyCancel

    • January 28, 2016 - 9:18 pm

      Vaneetha - I am so sorry for all you’ve been through Andrea as I know chronic pain and weakness can range from discouraging to debilitating. I am thankful that are continuing to glorify God even in the midst of extreme suffering. Thank you for writing!ReplyCancel

  • January 30, 2016 - 4:23 pm

    Effie Darlene Barba - I love your posts. You lay open your heart so that Christ can shine through. Thank you Let me share with you a poem I wrote once upon a time.
    O GOD-MY LOVE, MY HOPE, MY JOY

    by Effie Darlene Barba

    My life-so filled with hopes and dreams

    Lay shattered at Your feet

    So many tears, so many pains

    I laid before Thy seat

    Can I look upon Your face of love

    And question what You’ve done?

    For You have been my only hope

    My only morning sun

    You’ve seen my heart when crushed with pain

    Your hands have held it tight

    When I have been so weak, so frail

    You’ve shown Your strength, Your might

    You’ve held me close within Your arms

    When darkness filled my night

    And when I could not see my way

    Your eyes, they gave me sight

    I lay my life within Your hands

    That You may heal my soul

    And keep my eyes upon You Lord

    That I may reach Your goal

    Shine forth Thy grace, Thy mercy Lord

    And let me be Thy light

    That all may see Your eyes of love

    The blind, they might have sight

    Let not the sorrows, nor the pains

    Bring bitterness within

    And give me strength to walk this path

    Protect my heart from sin

    I lay my heart, my soul, my dreams

    Before Thy throne of love

    I lift my eyes to You, My God

    And seek Your will above

    Thou art the only one I need

    To fill my heart with glee

    It is Your face, my one true love

    Tis all I need to see

    So lift me up and hold me close

    Reveal Thy love divine

    That through the holes within my heart

    A world might see You shine

    And if the sorrows of my past

    Can touch a wayward one

    I thank you Lord for each dark path

    That lead them to Your son

    I praise You now from mountains high

    For each dark path I’ve trod

    Twas there I found Your heart, Your love

    Twas there I found You God

    What great and wondrous joy I know

    Because You are my king

    And though the path I cannot see

    My heart will trust and sing

    A song of praise unto You Lord

    Who knows what’s best for me

    You’ll hold my hand and lead me on

    In darkness, I can see

    Your love, Your help, Your guiding hand

    Is all I’ll ever need

    So hold me close unto Your path

    For this is all I plead

    I’ll skip with joy along this path

    Though darkness may surround

    Because I know You hold my hand

    My feet will e’er touch ground

    I cannot fall outside Your love

    I cannot lose my way

    I’ll hold my broken dreams once more

    And see them real, one day

    A song of praise unto You Lord

    Who knows what’s best for me

    You’ll hold my hand and lead me on

    In darkness, I can see

    Your love, Your help, Your guiding hand

    Is all I’ll ever need

    So hold me close unto Your path

    For this is all I pleadReplyCancel

    • January 31, 2016 - 6:11 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you for sharing your beautiful poem, Barbara. You have a real gift!ReplyCancel

  • January 30, 2016 - 10:32 pm

    Roger Price - First I would like to say what an exquisite writer you are. For many years now, I have noticed that the people in this world with the most credibility, those with genuine depth, are those who have suffered most but relied faithfully on God. I was a public school teacher for many years. My colleagues knew that I had lost my only child to cancer at age 6. Then I began to notice that those with major life issues would search me out to chat. I was always honored by their confidence; but initially, I did not quite understand why they came to me. Then one day I realized it was because, like them, I had to learn to chart a new course. And, since the loss of my amazing son, I have come to realize that God uses all our anguish to His glory. God bless you Vaneetha! I so much look forward to your next post. Yours in His matchless grace, RogerReplyCancel

    • January 31, 2016 - 5:10 pm

      Vaneetha - God does indeed use all of our anguish to His glory. I’m so thankful for what God has wrought in your life through trial, Roger. Thank you for writing.ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2016 - 3:37 pm

    Samantha - This was exactly what I needed to hear today. Thanks for writing!ReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2016 - 6:04 am

    The Detour – Melinda Inman - […] of you travel this road. Creative people—Laura Story, Vaneetha Rendall, Laura Hillenbrand—often journey on this byway. God uses it for our […]ReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2016 - 1:36 pm

    Sharon - I’ve been increasingly ill for fifteen years, heaping one autoimmune illness after another. Just this morning, feeling despair sweep over my soul, I again begged God for His mercy. He gave me your writing followed by His peace. I’ve known I will not heal without a miracle, but I long more for the miracle of His grace and presence than any other. I want His will in my life. Thank you for your surrender thereby helping all of us.ReplyCancel

    • February 5, 2016 - 1:51 pm

      Vaneetha - Praying for you now, Sharon. That God will deliver you from pain and illness and also praying that His incredible grace and joy and nearness will flood you as you draw near to Him. Praying all of us will see and experience that His love is better than life.ReplyCancel

  • February 10, 2016 - 11:08 am

    Usha Rogers - Thanks so much for sharing. I really needed this, often times I look back at the good or not so good days compared to the present days and I always regret the mistakes I’ve done. It’s encouraging to read that the Lord has something good stored for us which we cannot see with our worldly eyes. And thank you for letting me know that I’m on the right road.ReplyCancel

    • February 10, 2016 - 3:22 pm

      Vaneetha - I can so relate, Usha. Its so easy to look back on our mistakes and wonder “what if”… We have no idea what’s around the corner. We just need to wait and trust.ReplyCancel

  • February 12, 2016 - 8:37 am

    Sophia - Pregnant and the mother of 3 other tiny children, I’m facing health trials of my own, potentially critically cancerous. I so often want to change reality, pause time, or go backwards–anything but move ahead into what feels like an increasingly surreal nightmare. But, I don’t have that choice. Instead, time and time again, God gives me the grace to set my mind on Jesus–his promises that I struggle to believe, his love that I find hard to feel, his cross that can seem so abstract–and the strength to raise my invisible sword with him and whisper through paralyzing terror, “Onward, Christian soldier!” I know that is grace. I pray for healing–and I pray for it desperately!–but I also pray for God’s help not to spurn that grace.ReplyCancel

    • February 12, 2016 - 4:46 pm

      Vaneetha - Oh Sophia- I scarcely know what to say…I cannot even imagine how hard this is…how you are making it through each day that has turned into a “surreal nightmare.” I am tearful as I read this, and I know the Lord weeps even more with you, His precious child, whom He has known even before your birth. He is with you, Sophia, and He will NEVER leave you. Not for a millisecond. He will walk through all of your days with you, from now through eternity. I wish I had some wise words for you, but I have none besides I will hold you in my prayers and ask the God of all comfort to comfort you as you go through these excruciating days. I am praying for some crazy miraculous healing in your body and a sense of God’s presence and His extravagant love as you lean into Him…ReplyCancel

  • February 17, 2016 - 8:14 pm

    lizzy - I keep coming back to this one…to re-read. It’s a hard one, but I need it, to soak in the truth that this road, that I have so wanted to be a long detour, is His road for me, and it is best. So hard for me to “do both”–ask and accept. I struggle to ask, to have that hope, so quickly crowded by fear. Thank you for all you write on these pages, speaking Gospel truth to pain–I am so blessed He led me here..oh how He is using you. As the “passerby” who helped you was to you, you have been a source of “unexpected blessings for me along this path”ReplyCancel

    • February 18, 2016 - 10:02 am

      Vaneetha - Thank you for writing, Lizzy. Though I don’t know the road you are walking, I do know how hard the new road has often been for me. Knowing He is on that new road with me is what prevents me from longing for the old road, since the old way is now a road without Him…ReplyCancel

      • February 21, 2016 - 2:58 pm

        Jo - Thank you, Vaneetha for this very enlightening post. I am replying here because your comment above pricked at my heart and opened my eyes to see something I’ve never considered before. I’ve been longing for what once was and persistently asking God to give me back my old life. I’ve share with you in other posts that I have dealt with a chronic condition for almost 40 years. One that involves at times debilitating pain, which for the most part I’ve learned to “manage”. More than anything though it’s having to adjust to what I can no longer do that is most painful. Over the years it’s been something I’ve learned to “accept” and with God’s love I’ve refused to allow it to rob me of my purpose or peace. But when my husband lost his job 2 years ago I fell apart. It’s rocked my world and I’ve grown so tired and weary. Keeping the flame of hope alive has become almost impossible. I struggle daily with fighting off the black cloud that looms above wanting to engulf my every thought. I keep praying God will restore us back to the life that brought me security and comfort. I’m even willing to forgo the “comfort” if He would just stop the ground that’s shaking below me, still my fears and place me back on the former road we were traveling on. What’s wrong with that simple request?

        “Knowing He is on that new road with me is what prevents me from longing for the old road, since the old way is now a road without Him…”

        Yes, I do believe He is with me on this road I’m journeying on (although I still want it to just be a detour), but I’ve never considered that the “old way” may be one without Him. That is a game changer for me. I don’t want to drive on any road that He’s not right beside me. I’d rather be with Him in the uncertainty than without Him in an assurance that is really just based upon soothing my fears, my anxieties, and satisfying my flesh, my self.

        I also want to add to what Lizzy made reference to when she wrote about her struggle with “ask or accept”. This “tension” we find ourselves in when as believers we are unsure how to approach the Lord with our petitions. Do we seek the peace to accept our circumstances or do we remain diligent in our heartfelt requests for healing and restoration? I am reminded of when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane at the time when He knew He was coming face to face with being separated from the Father and the horrendous suffering that He would endure. Various bible translations use words that describe Jesus’ as feeling weak and sorrowful, overwhelmed with anguish and troubled, almost to the point of death. Some even go as far as to say He was “sweating drops of blood”. All this was horrific– and yet it speaks volumes to those who also suffer and cry out to God for relief. Jesus did the same. He too felt fear and sadness and anxiety and for all of us that see Jesus as “the Son of God”, our “Savior”, the “Christ” and our”Lord” (and yes He is all that), He was also a “man”. One that had a human heart and feelings just like us. The same anguish that we live with brought Him to His knees crying out to our Father to “Ask” if this cup could pass from Him and then “Accept”, thy will be done. So we have a Savior that thankfully understands how we feel and we do as He did bring both our requests to “ask and accept” to the Father.

        In bringing all this together I mostly want to thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. For using the gifts He’s given you to help others, including myself. I’m still struggling with this new road I’m traveling on with all it’s twists and turns and potholes and inclines and it’s extremely difficult at times to live in such uncertainty, especially when the road seems to be backtracking, but I’m holding on to the belief that His hands will remain on the steering wheel and guide me to the place that He’s prepared for me. My heartfelt prayer is for Him to give me a renewed hope and the strength to face whatever lies ahead. God bless you!ReplyCancel

        • February 21, 2016 - 3:41 pm

          Vaneetha - Thank you so much, Jo, for your thoughtful comments. They ministered to me today. Thank you for your transparency about your struggles- I could relate to them all! I too am beyond grateful that “we have a Savior that thankfully understands how we feel and we do as He did bring both our requests to “ask and accept” to the Father.” Praying for you today.ReplyCancel

  • March 4, 2016 - 9:13 am

    Nwabisa - Today is the first day I have read your blog. It came at the perfect time. I am finding it hard to be joyful when i feel so defeated by life. But reading what you written is teaching me that God might not change the situation but what He has in store for me is far greater than I could ever imagine and that that is the hope i should hold onto. Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • March 4, 2016 - 1:23 pm

      Vaneetha - So thankful God is showing you: “what He has in store for me is far greater than I could ever imagine.” Hold onto that, Nwabisa!ReplyCancel

  • March 29, 2016 - 1:22 pm

    Kimberly - Yes! I can so relate to this! My marriage took a huge detour because of my husband’s severe mental health issues, and I’ve finally come to the conclusion that this detour IS our road…a road that will lead to helping others find treasures in the darkness!

    Thank you for your writing!ReplyCancel

  • April 13, 2016 - 12:28 pm

    Brittney - Thank you for sharing your story! I loved reading the last line of this article. Thanks again for sharing. I’ll be stopping by your page more frequently.

    Blessings!ReplyCancel

  • April 15, 2016 - 12:54 pm

    Ruth - Hi Vaneetha,

    Everytime I read an article from this blog, it makes such a huge impact on me… I had been holding onto the past too tight to count my blessings in the new road…I have been so anxious of the bumps ahead that I keep my eyes closed and hope that the olden golden days would return.. Though, those days werent perfect, they look perfect when I look back and relish on those cherished memories…Just like the Israelites… I need to trust God and praise Him with joyful songs as I walk down a new road to sunshine!
    Thanx so my dear sister!God keeps using you in my life!ReplyCancel

  • March 1, 2017 - 12:37 am

    Thea - I’ve only just discovered your blog Vaneetha – this is the first post I read – and God is already using your wise and honest words to encourage and challenge me. Your questions are exactly what I struggle with daily:

    Should I earnestly ask God to change my circumstances?

    Or do I recognize that I am on a different road?

    I have had chronic pain for nearly 10 years now, increasingly more and more widespread till now it includes my whole body. Up until the last few years I was daily begging God for mercy to deliver me from the relentless and increasingly worse pain. However, over the last couple of years as I have gradually come to think that the ‘detour might be the new road’ I realised that my constant praying for healing was not helpful for me in accepting my current reality. In fact, although my constant prayers looked like faith, actually, it was fear that drove me to pray like that. Fear that this might be the new normal, fear that actually God might intend for me to continue having this pain, possibly for life. I was praying so desperately because I didn’t want a life with constant pain! (God – there must be some mistake!). Eventually, I realised I could keep praying out of fear (and spiral into a very dark place) or begin to ask God to help me trust Him more – to change my heart to genuinely want His will to be done in my life, rather than my own will (which of course, doesn’t feature relentless pain!).

    So as I have begun to pray more for acceptance of my current situation and what it means for my life, I am finding that the constant, desperate fear is gradually subsiding. I think for me it comes down to trust.

    Do I really trust God that a life with pain is possible in His hands? More than possible – even fruitful?

    Do I trust God that he intends this way of life for me for my good, the good of others and for His glory?

    I do find it hard to pray this way because I struggle each day on the ‘new road’ just to keep putting one foot in front of the other – and all I want is for life to be easier! But I have to keep reminding my heart that the Lord is good, He loves me, and He promises to redeem the pain and losses, even if not in this lifetime. How do I know He will? Because “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so”. Seriously, some days that’s all it comes down to for me! Jesus.

    So now when I bring my pain and anguish to the Lord, I’m not bent on convincing Him to heal me. I’m still bringing my hurt to Him… but I’m slowly learning to say “your will be done”. I’m praying that He will change my heart to love Him – and His ways – a little more every day. To be able to declare, even with the pain, that

    “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

    This of course, is a (slow) work in progress. Thanks be to God for His grace and love, and for not giving up on us! Thank you so much for sharing your heart Vaneetha.ReplyCancel

    • March 1, 2017 - 5:09 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you so much for writing,Thea. I am so encouraged as I read about your faith even in the midst of such a difficult struggle. I am so sorry for your chronic pain which I’m sure can zap every bit of strength from you. Praying as I write this for miraculous deliverance from your pain, and life-giving, Christ-exalting, sustenance as you wait for Him.ReplyCancel

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