I need inspiration! What words of encouragement might you have for me? I have a chronic illness, for which at this time there is no cure. It causes me a great deal of physical and emotional pain. Most days, I am in a survival mode. I used to attend the temple, frequently, even bargaining for relief; in exchange for my obedience. I am unable to go now. Thankfully, I am still able to attend church. It is a popular notion that people who are sick are sick because of their thinking processes, in other words, stress or depression. Some believe that it is a desperate cry for attention. No way, I’d rather be a hermit than to seek such attention. John 9:1-3, gives me some comfort.
And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
I have had Priesthood blessings, which have given me some peace of mind. To my surprise, most recently, my Bishop blessed me that I, personally, would have more patience for my family. (Instead of the other way around). They do not fully accept the extent of my limitations or pain. Particularly, my husband gives me a lot of grief for being sick. At times I wish this illness was fatal, which it is not; at least it would end the pain. Enduring to the end seems to be my fate. I am only 42 and often feel 82. I wish I could suffer more gracefully, but I am reduced to taking prescribed narcotics and neurological medications, just to be able to get out of bed and try to live normally, but still in pain. Do you have some encouragement?
Of course nothing that we could say would have any effect on the pain that you suffer. So the only thing that we could suggest would be some possible orientation or understanding of the purposes of life and our position in the scheme of things. Do doubt you have pondered all these things and there may be very little that we could suggest that you have not already considered. But nevertheless, let me suggest a few concepts or principles that might be worth some consideration.
In the first place, mortality is a testing and proving ground, not a haven of peace and happiness. Considering the purpose of mortality the Lord said,
And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever (Abraham 3:24-26)
Although suffering is a part of mortality, it never goes unnoticed nor unrecompensed by the Lord. Those who are called upon to suffer the most in mortality will undoubtedly receive the greater reward and blessing for their enduring. Let me share with you a few scriptures that tend to bear this out-
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another. (D&C 90:24)
Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice–yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command–they are accepted of me. For I, the Lord, will cause them to bring forth as a very fruitful tree which is planted in a goodly land, by a pure stream, that yieldeth much precious fruit. (D&C 97:8-9)
Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord. (D&C 98:3)
For he will give unto the faithful line on line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith.
And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal.
Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy (D&C 98:12-14).
Wherefore, fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full.
Therefore, care not for the body, neither the life of the body; but care for the soul, and for the life of the soul.
And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life. (D&C 101:36-38)