Living with Pain

A woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment . . . “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.”

— Matthew 9:20-21 

Berni was eight years old when she contracted polio during the outbreak of 1942. America was at war while Berni was fighting for her life. Doctors slid her inside an iron lung. By the time her lungs recovered, her legs had atrophied. Determined to walk again, she wore heavy metal braces on her pain-riddled legs. Berni regained mobility, but she never took another pain-free step.

During the days of Jesus, a woman had a medical condition so embarrassing and painful that she hid from everyone. As the years crept by, her hope for relief faded. Then she heard about a man who could help. But she’d have to risk going to Him. Focused on getting to Jesus, she set a few small goals. Get up. Push through the crowd. Touch the hem of His garment. Concentrating on Jesus changed her life.

Chronic pain is exhausting. It can steal our comfort, purpose, joy and relationships. As our world shrinks, fears and anxieties expand.

One way to reclaim peace is to set small attainable goals, asking Jesus to shift our focus from what we can’t do to what we can do. Doing what we can won’t take the pain away, but little successes can reduce our anxiety. Most of all, we can put our focus on Jesus, just as the woman in Matthew did.

That’s how Berni managed a purpose-filled life despite the pain. She set her eyes on Jesus and learned to walk. She finished school, got a job, married and went on to have four children. As Berni aged, the pain increased. Refusing to let pain steal her joy, Berni set new goals. Attend church. Sew quilts. Count her blessings. Sixty-three years after polio struck, Berni walked into the arms of Jesus. She is now pain free.

Today’s One Thing

Take your pain to Jesus. Tell Him where it hurts. Set one small, attainable goal for today. Let Jesus worry about tomorrow.

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