Days of Grace: Meditations and Practices for Living with Illness by Mary C. Earle. 

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Day Three

You Behold Trouble and Misery

Written By Mary C. Earle

Practice Note

Meditation: <listen>

Surely, you behold trouble and misery;
You see it and take it into your own hand.
Psalm 10:14

We live in a culture of the quick fix. If we have a diagnosis that is not likely to result in that quick fix, we can find ourselves at odds with dominant perspectives, even within our faith communities. I have lived with chronic pancreatitis since 1995, and I have recently had my seventh endoscopic microsurgery. There are no quick fixes for this condition. There are no ready solutions.

Many who are reading these words find themselves in the same dilemma. Perhaps you find yourself yearning, as we all do, for some miracle cure. Perhaps you find yourself wanting God to intervene in a miraculous way. I have certainly had those desires. 

And yet, the peculiarity of my own anatomy that creates the chronic condition remains the same.  God in Christ indwells the not-perfect creation that is my body, just as God in Christ indwells the not-perfect creation of the whole universe. God does behold the trouble and the misery.

Before God we are never invisible, never unseen, never ignored.  Our trouble and misery are seen and known for what they are—trouble and misery. God meets us in that deep distress, even when we cannot sense God’s presence.

In the deep distress of living with this illness, may I know that You behold every moment of pain and fear.  May I know that You are with me.  Amen.

Practice: <listen>

In your journal, write down a description of the illness that you live with. If, for example, you live with a heart condition, you might write, “My heart is weakened and has lost its ability to pump blood efficiently.” Be specific. 

Then allow yourself to become quiet and receptive.  Breathing gently and slowly, place your hands on what you have written, and pray the prayer offered at the end of the meditation:

In the deep distress of living with this illness, may I know that You behold every moment of pain and fear. May I know that You are with me. Amen…

Let your hands connect the description of the illness to the prayer, the imperfection to the yearning for God’s presence.

REFERENCE NOTE: All psalms are from the psalter in The Book of Common Prayer, 1979.