I remain confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)


Some days, I wish I was a turtle. Retreating into a silent shell holds strong appeal. The price I pay for what many people consider normal social interaction can be harsh and unpredictable, with intense pain lingering for days. A dear friend deals with different health challenges than mine but faces a similar struggle. Her “cost” is debilitating exhaustion. In a recent conversation, we asked, “Is it worth it?”

Logically, we know the answer is “Yes.” Living solely within the walls of our homes is both unhealthy and unwise. We need the life-giving presence of others, and the Bible clearly portrays our vital role in the Body of Christ. There is no substitute for in-person connection. Within the framework of chronic pain or illness, making that choice calls for both grit and grace.



Another friend demonstrated this reality as she valiantly fought a 7-year battle with a degenerative disease. Eventually, she could no longer walk, speak, or care for herself, yet she and her husband faithfully attended our church until the week before she died. Neither was willing to give up. Despite the extreme effort required, they refused to retreat.

Remembering this friend’s gentle smile gives me the courage to press on. A charming decorative bird she gave me sits perched on my piano. I am inspired to keep asking the Lord how I can look beyond my pain to love others as she so generously did.

Refusing to retreat requires resilience, defined in the dictionary as the capacity to withstand difficulties. In other words, resilience is the ability to keep going even when life is hard. Chronic pain has tested and strengthened my resolve to move forward, birthing desperate dependence upon God’s Word. Chronic Joy’s printable resource, “13 Verses to Lean Into,” features especially meaningful Scriptures, including:

I remain confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)

…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain … (Revelation 21:4a)



Reframing, a term I’ve recently learned, prompts me to attempt a broader perspective than what pain tries to dictate. Holding fast to the truth of the above (and other) verses enables me to shift my focus away from self-pity. Remembering my hope in Christ (even amid affliction) makes all the difference. In the words of my precious mom, “Praise may not change our circumstances, but it can change the way we see them.”

I believe reframing is essential to resilience. We can discover unexpected gifts of goodness as we refuse to retreat from life while still honoring our limits.

For most of my adult life, I have loved to lead worship by singing and playing the piano. Due to jaw pain, I no longer sing in group settings but still enjoy playing the piano. A few months ago, I began playing at a senior care facility, taking my 7-year-old granddaughter with me to share her music as well. It has become a highlight for all of us, with the residents’ smiles and hearty applause bringing much joy. As I’ve stepped into this new place of service, I’ve seen the Lord bestow blessings far beyond what I could imagine.



O Lord, You understand the relentless struggles of chronic illness and pain. You know how hard it is to keep moving forward. We trust You to renew our strength. Thank You for Your steady help and grace. Amen.


I invite you to read the “13 Verses to Lean Into” printable and prayerfully consider its truth and encouragement. Consider how God’s promises can reframe your thinking, inspiring fresh hope and resilience for the days ahead.


*What tempts you to retreat from life?

*What biblical truth is especially meaningful to you right now?

*What can you still do (even amid your challenges) to benefit others?

Yellow Bubbles
Lee Ann Zanon

Lee Ann Zanon

Chronic Joy® Staff Writer

Lee Ann is passionate about spreading the truth of Scripture. For decades, she served in various women’s ministry roles (including teaching at Corban University for ten years) until chronic pain dramatically changed her life. Her background as a Bible teacher, retreat speaker, worship leader, editor, and writer has prepared her perfectly for her current focus on writing and providing one-on-one encouragement. Lee Ann and her husband Mike live in Salem, Oregon. They have two married daughters and four grandchildren. She is the author of Honest Hope.

Compassion Begins When We Suffer Together

Pain, cultivated by the Spirit’s compassion, invites us to care deeply for one another, grow together, suffering with one another so that none of us is isolated or alone. Pain opens the door to the Spirit’s compassion in us.

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