I recently found an old email I sent a while ago, and decided to put the whole thing in a post just as it was. My description of where my illness is at is not up to date, it was during a relapse over a year ago, but I felt it was the right context in which to share this topic and best left how it was…Enjoy!
“Beloved siblings in Christ,
Just thought I’d share with you some verses I’ve found helpful recently.
“I know, LORD, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course. So correct me, LORD, but please be gentle.” – Jeremiah 10:23-24a
I love this because it expresses much of my journey with prayer in continuing to pray God’s will in my life, while at the same time praying he’ll be gentle because I have seen a little of how it can cost. It also describes the journey I’ve been on in learning my life is not my own, and just how powerless my plans are.
My prayer before this illness was “whatever you want, whatever it takes” and in response to that God gave me ME/CFS (yes, I do believe this illness was an answer to prayer! Be careful how you pray!!!). I have struggled with so many things through this. I have (and do) struggle to surrender my life to him and joyfully accept the life he gives, I struggle with not being able to plan and often having to give up my plans/hopes/dreams.
Recently I felt God ask me, “Do you still mean it? Would you still pray that now you know a little of what it costs?”
…I thought about this. I am struggling right now. I’m struggling with exhaustion, finding it very hard to eat, having to spend the majority of each day in bed, and to give up (again) many of the things I love. I’m wearied out, I am becoming more isolated as I am more and more housebound, I’m tired of illness, limitations, being useless, exhaustion. I’m soul weary from battling, and having to do much of it alone. I DON’T WANT ANY MORE!
But is it worth it? Is having Jesus as LORD of my life – all of my life – worth it? Is it worth it to know him more, to grow closer to him? And if that is the only thing that comes from this illness – knowing God more – is that alone worth it?
“When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” – Matthew 13:46
Jesus is that pearl – worth everything. And a pearl is created through suffering. Jesus is that pearl of great price because he suffered. Because he gave up everything. Because, somehow, through the eyes of grace, he considered us worth it. It cost him everything to make the priceless treasure of salvation, of eternity with him, and of being able to draw near to God, available to us.
How can I withhold anything from this God? O LORD, let my prayer again be:
“Whatever you want. Whatever it costs…You are worth it!”
But I am still weary, and it still hurts to pray this, and I still feel I can’t take any more. But this is what I love about Jeremiah’s prayer. He knows what he needs to pray – for God’s correction and for God’s will to be worked out in his life, but he also knows what it costs. So he prays “correct me, LORD, but please be gentle.”
So I will pray,
Lord, you know I’m tired, you know I’m weary, you know it is a battle for hope, and that my strength has run out. You know how much I can take. I want this to be over, but more than that I want your will in my life. Do whatever will honour you most. Do not let me withhold any part of my life. You are so much more than worth it! I don’t understand, but I know that you are good. I still pray Whatever you will, whatever it costs. You are worth it! But please be gentle!
So brothers and sisters, what is your prayer? Is he worth it? Are you weary, and afraid to pray something that God might answer in a way that costs?
I would encourage you to pray this anyway. Jesus is the greatest treasure, and worth every cost. But at the same time it’s ok to pray ‘please be gentle’. He knows we are weak. He knows our limits, and how much we can take. Sometimes it is scary to pray this because it is handing over control, and trusting that he will not allow more than we can bear. But he has promised. And he that has promised is faithful to complete everything he has said.
Hold onto those promises brothers and sisters. We have a glorious inheritance – one worth waiting for. Let us live in hope… looking to Jesus.
He has not forsaken you.”
Praying for you, walking with you, cheering you on,