The Bible tells us that Jesus as a High Priest can sympathise with all of our sufferings. That He knows what it is to be human.
I have often rebelled against that. Was Mary sick with an incurable disease? Was Joseph? Did one of Jesus’ brothers or sisters suffer from epilepsy or depression or MS? If not, then how can He possibly know what it’s like to be a Watcher? How can He possibly sympathise with me?
This is the 4th post in a series on prayer. Post 1 dealt with the fact that we all like the idea of prayer, and yet are somewhat ashamed about putting it into practice. Post 2 examined the fact that prayer is important and non-negotiable because it’s about God and not ourselves, yet practically it is going to be difficult. Post 3 had a closer look at how we respond as Watcher to ‘troublesome’ passages in the Bible about healing.
It’s time to answer the question: what should we pray?
Chronic illness is…well, chronic. For the most part, not only does it not end, but it remains the same. Of course there are changes, developments, progressions – but these are generally subtle in nature and may vary between individuals. Perhaps our Loved One is slowly but surely declining. Or maybe their sickness fluctuates without rhyme or reason. Some days they are well, others they are not. Or perhaps there is simply no visible change at all, just a long, monotonous pain.
A few weeks ago I did a talk for a Cancer Council morning tea on living when you can’t see God working and my own personal story about waiting for Him to fulfill His promises and bring something good out of chronic illness.
It’s not a neat, polished story, tied up with perfect conclusion, because real life isn’t like that. But it’s my story, and all I have to offer. Here is the transcript:
This is the 2nd part of a series on Watching a Loved One suffer from a distance. In Part 1 we looked at the fact that it is hard to help out physically when you live a long way away. This post looks at some of the other difficulties we may encounter. So without further ado…
It’s difficult to care as much about something when you’re not confronted with it every day.
This is why we are often more distressed about our 3 year old’s tantrum than a war in a 3rd world country. What we see and experience affects us. It seems more real, not only because we are a firsthand witness but because it actually disrupts our life. Thus, it is more difficult to Watch when we do not see our Loved One regularly. It is genuinely hard to place as much importance on their struggles. Not because our love is less, but because it makes up less of our day.
Perhaps we have always lived far away from our Loved One, and we want to know if we are actually a Watcher. Perhaps we used to co-reside with them, and due to circumstances or choice we have recently moved a distance away and are struggling. Or maybe we’d actually prefer to live elsewhere and wonder what that will look like in terms of Watching. Possibly the opportunity has arisen for us to move closer and we’re not sure whether this will be a wise move.
These questions are difficult and important.
How do we Watch when we live far away from our Loved One? Is it possible?
This is Part 1 of a two-part series focused on “Watching from a distance”.