Suffering can't compare to the glory to come. Romans 8:18

Living with M.E./CFS for the past eight years has been difficult as you can understand. When I first was diagnosed, I really struggled with the news, but I was grateful to know it wasn’t all in my head. I had already struggled for two years with utter fatigue before finding out what was wrong. I just thought it was part of depression and anxiety, which I also suffer from.

I did not want to face up to the diagnosis and take time off as was recommended in the beginning. So I worked for one more year, preaching and fulfilling my duties as an officer/minister in The Salvation Army. Sadly, my body gave up after that year and I have housebound ever since.

I lost my freedom and ability to do things quickly. I was angry. I was upset. I was even more depressed. I hated life.

I prayed for healing (and I still do). Others prayed for me. However, I was told that I did not have enough faith to be healed, therefore God couldn’t heal me. I was also told it may be undiscovered sin that is keeping me from being healed. These words added to my despair.

Life is even more difficult now than when I was first diagnosed. In the past couple of years, I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, peripheral neuropathy, and osteoarthritis in my lower spine. I am unable to walk for more than ten meters, therefore I use a wheelchair when going anywhere. I get exhausted and have bouts of pain anytime I go out and do things. Flare-ups can last for a week or more.

I cannot cook, clean, launder, drive (I just turned in my license), walk much with crutches within the house, etc. Most of my days are spent in my recliner.

After being off work for five years, my outlook on life has changed. I keep myself busy every day with a strict schedule. Most days I have my devotions, share posts online, take a nap, eat lunch, write and listen to lessons, play a few games, have tea, finish playing a few games, knit or make cards for people, watch TV, read then go to sleep.

I have decided to focus on what I can do. This keeps my mind off of the negative.

My relationship with Christ has grown. He has been healing wounds from my past. He has been reaching deep into my heart and showing me His amazing love.

I have learned to be grateful for every day and for the gifts God is giving me. I keep a journal of all the things I am grateful for. I was inspired by Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, and since last year, I have written down more than 1,000 gifts that God had given me.

He has been teaching me patience, contentment, love, and especially hope.

Hope is such a beautiful thing. It’s what keeps me going.

Hope is knowing that no matter what I go through, Jesus is with me. Hope is also what Paul speaks about in Romans 8:18 ESV, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

What I am going through now is just a blip in light of eternity. Heaven is a place where there is no sickness, pain, sorrow, or tears. Because of the hope I have in Jesus, I continue to trust Him. I have faith, trusting Christ despite my illnesses.

You, too, can have the hope I have, if you take your focus off of your problems and focus on Jesus instead. Jesus is worth our attention and praise. And I promise you, it helps greatly.

Be authentic with Jesus. He knows our hearts. He longs for us to be close to him. Don’t use illness as an excuse to stay away. God did not give us these illnesses. He has allowed us to suffer them, but for His glory. Everyone suffers at some point in life.

Remember that what we suffer here on earth is just a blip in eternity. God’s glory which will be revealed to us will be worth all the suffering we go through.

Stay strong. Place your hope in Christ. Keep going. God bless you.

Tanya Derstine

Tanya Derstine

Tanya, a minister in The Salvation Army, has been ill off and on for five years. She is British and American. She born in Virginia, but moved to the United Kingdom in 2007, becoming a British citizen in 2010. Tanya is married and has two teenage boys.
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