How can it be that we can taste these things simultaneously? Don’t they seem mutually exclusive?
Yet in Isaiah 30:18-21 (NRSV) we read, Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. Truly, O people in Zion, inhabitants of Jerusalem, you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you. Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
The bread of adversity, water of affliction accompanied by clear direction, instruction from the Lord Almighty. When I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 1990 I experienced this misery and joy in combination. It was a weird time to say the least!
The doctors had difficulty diagnosing me and finally admitted me to a hospital for tests to rule out the other “big nasties.” For example, it was strange to have results come back from a brain scan that showed there was no brain tumor, and instead of being relieved my husband and I were frustrated and angry. After each test, with no definitive results, we kept thinking if this illness is not that, then what is it?
Fibro is a strange disorder. The diagnosis is basically process of elimination and a few factors that should be present for 3 months prior to diagnosis. I have now lived with Fibro for 29 years. At the time I had never heard of it. Today the Arthritis Foundation says:
“To diagnose fibromyalgia, your doctor will ask you about your health history and give you a physical examination. A physical exam can rule out other conditions that may cause chronic pain and fatigue.
A diagnosis is largely based on your input on the following criteria:
- Widespread pain index (WPI) score: The WPI lists 19 areas of the body where it’s common for people with fibromyalgia to have pain. You get a point for each area selected.
- Symptom Severity (SS) score, in which you rank the following symptoms on a scale of 0-3:
- Waking unrefreshed
- Cognitive symptoms
- Physical symptoms such as headache, weakness, bowel problems, dizziness, numbness/tingling, hair loss
- Symptoms present for at least three months
- No other health problems that would explain the pain and other symptoms.” https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/fibromyalgia/diagnosing.php
So while my charismatic friends were telling me if I only prayed hard enough, or had enough faith I would be healed, the Lord was saying “I will be with you in this.” Should I try to pray this away when the Lord is speaking otherwise? Yikes. This is a long story and I hope to tell it well. Probably in several sections. Hope it brings enlightenment and encouragement to many. Not every person gets every symptom. Not all symptoms stay permanently. Sort of like living on a nightmare-go-round with symptoms instead of horses and carnival music.
There are a lot of artwork, posters and diagrams about Fibro online. Many of them sound sarcastic. That is likely caused by the fact that people with fibro do not LOOK ill and are often not believed when they talk about their symptoms. Below is one that is not too offensive, but descriptive.