I think you’ll agree that being patient in affliction is challenging, especially if illness has continued for many years.
With God, how we wait matters and how we occupy this waiting time is significant.
I remember being at my wits end, even suicidal; the months were now years and still no breakthrough. I’m sure some of you can relate?
So today, I’m going to show you the 5 ways I introduced some kind of contentment back into my life so I could be patient in the affliction.
You don’t want to prolong this painful season more than is necessary so I invite you through this post to invest in good waiting habits that glorify God, ease frustration and invite transformation.
When I was a child, during church services I would often whisper to my mum ‘is it nearly over?’. No doubt, the service had only just begun!
Children want everything now because they haven’t strengthened this muscle. But even as grown ups, we want rid of everything unpleasant and so translate this impatience onto our healing journeys.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
PATIENT IN AFFLICTION
I’ve shared before the story of Admiral John Stockdale, a Vietnam prisoner of war who survived years of brutal tortue.
“the way I survived was this; I realised I had to retain a fundamental belief that I would prevail in the end. But I also had to confront daily the brutal facts of my current reality.”
Doesn’t this sound familiar? Are you confronting a daily battle of symptoms whilst trusting God for breakthrough? Admiral Stockdale knew how to be patient in affliction.
Hebrews 6:12 says we’re to ‘imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.’
I love the story of Joseph who endured years of unfair imprisonment and torture only to find victory and restoration.
He waited well.
1. MEDITATE ON GOD’S PROMISES WHICH GROWS YOUR FAITH
I see God’s Word as medicine, reaching parts of me that physical medicine cannot reach. See FORMULA FOR HEALING IN THE WORD OF GOD
This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.
The woman with the issue of Blood, suffered for many years still had faith for healing.
Her symptoms were persistent, doctors had disappointed her, the emotional grief was massive.
But she took hold of the word and spent time meditating on it. “… the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” James 1:21
If God’s Word needs implanting to save us, I believe the same is true to heal us.
I remember my friend once saying these wise words “If you get to the end of the day and you’ve not spent time with God, you’ve just wasted your day”
Wow. This revelation transformed me completely.
No matter how ill I am, I can still spend time with God. This really is my food and my medicine.
2. RECEIVE GOD’S COMFORT IN ORDER TO GROW
2 Cor 1:3-4 tells us that God is the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation…
At the beginning of my journey, I would often turn to my family members or faith filled friends for support. There’s nothing wrong with this, until I realised that I was hindering the work God wanted to do in me.
When we turn to the external for comfort – alcohol, other people, social media and the internet etc, it only soothes temporarily, then we need to do it again.
We don’t grow or move forward.
I believe God is asking us to turn to Him directly. The same Spirit that rose Jesus from the dead is inside you, comforting you.
I don’t think the woman with the issue had anyone at all to turn to. Being ‘unclean’ she could not spend time with anyone. I wonder if this, whilst sad, perhaps motivated her to gain her comfort from God.
3. CONSIDER NOT YOUR OWN BODY OR YOU’LL LOSE FAITH
God gave Abraham the promise he would be ‘Father of many nations’ but it was 20 years until the fulfillment of the promise.
So how was he patient in his affliction?
And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body. Rom 4:19
I think this is a challenge for anyone who is confronting symptoms each day. Taking our eyes off the problem and onto God’s promises.
God asks the Israelites to do this in the Old Testament instead of simply removing the snakes.
So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.
I’m sure snake bites are very painful and hard to ignore yet God instructs the Israelites to look away from the problem and onto the solution.
This is a shadow of the cross.
When we see Jesus, carrying our sickness on the cross, we are in alignment with Him. Can you look away from your symptoms today?
I don’t mean ignore them. I just mean can you choose to change your focus?
We want to change those neuropathways in the brain. Thinking about your pain all day long is simply reinforcing it.
I know this is hard.
BUT YOU CAN DO THIS VICTORIOUSLY.
4. KEEP A GRATITUDE DIARY PREPARES YOUR BRAIN
I try to ask myself what I am grateful for today. I don’t mean the big things, but those small things that are easy to filter out. A smile from someone, the scent of an orange, the blossom on the tree….
I call them glimmers. Those tiny snapshot moments that, if we were to savour them, would help our nervous systems come back into regulation.
It’s so easy to focus on our symptoms all day long because we have a negativity bias, which reinforces it. Recognising glimmers helps us to reset our brains to notice the light in the darkness, no matter how small.
5. BE OUTCOME INDEPENDENT OR YOU’LL GIVE UP
Of course the one thing we all want is healing asap but if this is the goal then we may encounter frustration and disappointment.
These release cortisol into the body which only amplifies our symptoms.
I’m trying to have the attitude ‘What is going well for me today?….. how can I enjoy today?…..And of course time with Jesus. It’s a way of getting my eyes of the pain, the loss and grief and onto the ‘light’.
I love working with my clients, spending time with friends, being in nature, forests, the sea, bright colours, the scent of coconut, the feel of a hot water bottle
What do you love despite your present limitations? It’s really learning to be in the present.
How would your life be different if you focused on other things instead of the pain? If you learnt how to make Jesus the goal and not healing?
If you feel this isn’t possible that’s ok. It’s taken many many years for me to be in this place.
What helps you be patient in your affliction?
The fact you’re reading this, means that there is something in you that is still believing in God for healing. You haven’t given up!
Well done, good and faithful servant! KEEP ON GOING.
If you benefitted from this post, please read