I’ve been through a lot in my life. So much so that I’m worn out mentally and physically. I’ve had long talks with God about why bad thing happen to me and he’s taught me a few things that I want to share.
Chronic pain has always been a major thorn in my side since coming home from the Iraq war in 2005. Over the past thirteen years the pain has only gotten worse, not better. It started out with the occasional pain in my mid- back and then my knees. Over time it’s progressed and after extensive tests the VA Hospital diagnosed me with deteriorating disc disease with mild scoliosis in my lower spin as well as osteoarthritis in my knees.
For the past few months my knees have hurt so bad that I can only take the stairs one at a time because of the crunching pain that shoots through my knees when I bend them.
I’m thirty-four with the knees of a 60 year old.
I can’t run or work out anymore. The less I move throughout the day, the less burning I have to deal with inside my knee. It feels like an itchy, burning scab over a wound. I can barely walk. I wear knee braces every time I leave the house or I’ll end up having to take baby steps from the agonizing pain.
Last night, after a very active day, I had to crawl up and down the stairs. After doing this twice I started to feel depressed. I gave in to the pain and sat down on the stair in defeat. I started having memories of me at my best running and lifting weights. I used to be able to march, jump and bound while carrying 100+ pounds of gear easily.
“How did I get here?” I asked silently, tears from defeat and pain swelled up within my eyes.
After a few minutes of being in darkness, a scripture from the old testament in The Bible came to mind that helped snap me back to reality. In Genesis 32 verses 22-29 after Jacob wrestles with God all night, God touched Jacobs hip, permanently crippling him.
That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
Even after all his fighting with God, God still blessed him because Jacob had all faith in God even after he crippled him. God even gave Jacob the name Israel because he was an overcomer of Gods and humans.
I began to realize that the pain I have came from my unwillingness to give up on what I wanted in life and not doing what I was created to do. I’ve fought God my whole life, the enemy has constantly attacked me since I was born.
“Maybe going into the military wasn’t what God wanted for me and my fight with him was being on the front line. All of my ailments stem from the war in Iraq.”
I still have faith in God that life will get better. Even through all the pain, he has systematically surrounded me with love so that I won’t lose my faith in him and that love pushes me to be my best at all times just as he did for Jacob.
I might not be able to walk right because of painful knees, but I know that God has blessed me because of the calm in my life. He is literally polishing me, making me better so that I can shine to be a guiding light for others.