Illness Doesn’t Equal Lack of Faith

Illness Doesn’t Equal Lack of Faith

By Suzanne Stewart

I have heard  that my tragedies, illnesses, abuse etc. are cast upon me because maybe I am not virtuous enough? I’ve even heard that maybe I am cursed because I do not have enough faith? A friend of mine had someone in a local market say that they were going to “cast away the devil in her” because she carries a cane. I have had people say that they want to “lay hands upon me and pray upon me, because I am afflicted”, they feel that their prayers will “cast out evil spirits, or evilness that has caused my afflictions”. There was  another who  told me that I don’t “have enough God in my life” and therefore I have “so many tragedies” and it is because I “have not forgiven my abusers in this life”.

Suzanne Stewart

…Sometimes I feel that over zealous, “fundamentalists”, who are excited about God’s miracles, try to “play God” in peoples lives. For instance, I heard about an 18 year old girl who went to a Christian camp and was told that her younger brother need not have died from Cancer, if only the family had more faith! WHAT? You NEVER know who is going to be stricken with an affliction, an illness, disease or grief. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what you say.  I am a “Chemo Angel”.  I get assigned a person who’s going through chemo therapy and I send them small gifts & cards of cheer. Right now I have a small, 3 year old girl, with “Langerhans cell Histiocytosis (LCH) “, a form of childhood cancer. Could anyone say that she is ill because she doesn’t have enough Faith or that she’s done something to wrong God and he is “disappointed” in her? Can you say that she has had cancer for 3 out of her 4 years of life, because her family doesn’t have enough faith? NO, that would be cruel and judgemental!

First of all, none of the statements about “illness being due to a lack of Faith”, are accurate. Look at Job and all that he went through! Job was persecuted because of his faith in God. Job was given an “affliction”, not because he was “cursed” and certainly not by his own fault. Three of Job’s friends came to comfort him at the beginning of his worst pain and loss! They were sure that Job was sick and suffering because of the sins he had committed during his life. They told him that “righteous people don’t suffer”. Job always continued to say that he had done nothing sinful or wrong. In the Bible it does not say that a lack of healing is equal to a lack of faith! God can choose not to heal the faithful, but it is not connected to a lack of faith.

It is cruel, unloving, unkind and just wrong, to say that someone has a lack of faith and is ill, or stricken with loss and tragedy in life because they don’t have enough prayer, faith or enough love of Jesus Christ. To accost anyone in such a judgemental way does not help but only makes them feel marginalized and more alone. There are many different faiths in our society. Each Religion has its own set of beliefs, rules and rituals. I’m not here to judge any of these Faiths or beliefs, but I am here to say that nobody is sick because of their belief system or lack of faith. People don’t live with chronic pain day in and day out due to any Religious affiliations or lack thereof. We don’t use a cane, a wheelchair or a walker because we do not pray enough. It does not help a person with chronic pain and illness, to approach them and say any of the words that I’ve stated above. If you choose to pray for someone, then you can do that. But don’t try to push guilt and more pain onto anyone who’s already suffering. That doesn’t help, it only hurts and makes things much worse. Please try to remember to treat others as you would wish to be treated.

Suzanne has lived with a Systemic CRPS & several other chronic pain illnesses since a MVA in 2002. Prior to being disabled from chronic pain, she was an Interpreter for the Deaf at a hospital & worked with Deaf children. Since 2005, Suzanne’s been a patient Health advocate, support group leader & Mentor.  She continues doing these things today, but also does public speaking, awareness events and she’s a Writer/blogger & an Ambassador for the U.S.Pain Foundation. 

For entertainment she creates advocacy videos & uplifting ASL cover song videos on You tube and she writes in her own blog Tears Of Truth (Suzydukettes.wordpress.com).

Subscribe to our blog via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Authored by: Suzanne Stewart

There are 24 comments for this article
  1. Jean Price at 11:49 am

    I’m always a little amazed at how large a part our spiritual health plays in our lives, (especially when we have daily, life limiting pain)…when it’s not something that’s even addressed (very often!) in health care! I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me, yet since pain touches the core of our being…and so does our spirituality…it would make sense to me if it was. And it’s an age old question, back to the time of Job, and likely before…of how to relate the “bad” things that happen to us with our spiritual beliefs!

    I do think everyone is spiritual, defined as…WHO I am, WHY I am, and WHAT I’m here for! Yet we all have very different ways of both exploring this in ourselves…AND also differences in expressing or acting it out in life! So we definitely do bump up against others who have wide ranges of opinions about how to answer those questions…and how God works! Some will be very narrow and others will be very open and general! There are those who will seek to purposely impact other people with their own beliefs AND how they practice them, regardless of how insensitive what they’re saying or doing might be! Yet when people USE their religion or beliefs like this…to tell others what they are doing “wrong”, I think they may just want to make life “tidy”….to have two and two ALWAYS add up to four! (Whether it does in reality or not!). This Is like believing IF you follow all the “rules”…you will stay out of trouble! (And have God’s favor!)

    Some people will seek the security this brings them!! Because, when you THINK you have have ALL the answers…for yourself and EVERYONE else…then you’d have to feel pretty protected against anything bad ever HAPPENING TO YOU! Once again, ALL of this says way more about THEM than it ever does about us or the person they’ve addressed! (Which is definitely a good point to keep in mind whenever we feel attacked or judged!). So, whether we pity them or empathize with them…it seems to me the most important thing for us is to realize is they are only human, TOO…and try not to judge them in return!! We have the right to our opinions about what others think or do or say…but we have no right at all to judge them as less of a person for any of this!

  2. Tim Mason at 10:19 pm

    Steven, I have empathy, not pity for people like us in pain. Pain has been with man since the beginning of time. There is only one (1) true church. That is a church of believers and followers of Jesus. There are many Church buildings full of people. Church is a 24/7 365 kind of thing, This may be a little deep for this thread but “dying is part of living”. That is my epitaph on my headstone.
    We need to kind and gentle with everyone, bridle our tongues so we don’t say the wrong thing.
    Narrow is the gate that leads to heaven, wide is the gate that leads to eternal damnation and many go in there at. Matthew 7:14
    It is impossible to un-ring a bell.

  3. Steven Pitkin at 11:07 am

    If people go to a Church that equates chronic pain with “sinful behavior” or some such silliness, then flee, because they preach a form of humanism and do not know that pain and trials have a special place in our Christian walk.
    But Job’s counselor’s today may be tomorrow’s car crash or crime victim, or even someone who goes in for routine surgery that a Doctor may botch, leaving them with a 3 day supply of pain killers to deal with MRSA or a “little nip into the spinal cord”. Let us pray for those ignorant sisters and brothers may never fall into such a position, as I wouldn’t wish chronic pain nor hell on anyone. What the Universal Church has forgotten is that we were not saved nor continue to be saved by our cleverness or anything we do, but by the grace of God. (Ephesians 2:8, Titus 3:5) and that it’s pretty much a level playing field when it comes to “piety”. Sometimes I feel closer to someone in chronic pain than I do to the healthy ones in my own Church who look down on me. Fortunately they are few in number. In reality it is they who need to find what true mercy is and to be pitied if they never find out.

  4. Jean Price at 7:07 pm

    Danny, you’re so welcome. I can definitely see where you are coming from…and in fact religion AND religious people, DO get blamed sometimes when it’s the individual person who is acting out. And not at all representative of the religion and definitely not of God! Yet we all should know each person is responsible for their own actions and words! And that believing in God definitely doesn’t make always act us “saintly”! We are each flawed….and often good people want to come up with answers so they will feel better, or try to make some sense of things for us…again, so if we feel better, then they also will feel better and won’t need to be concerned! Life and people are complex…and it’s best to have enough self-affirmation that a careless remark won’t be able to hurt us or leave us angry or devastated! No matter WHO says it! Yet that’s harder some days than others, with pain!

    And it usually does little good to try and explain our situation at the time, so letting it roll off can be the best defense! With all the discrimination happening now about pain and opioids, I think we are all a little sensitized toward anything we perceive as judgmental or as a criticism. That’s understandable. We just must know within ourselves we’re doing okay, coping and living as well as possible with the pain we have each day. And we are! Regardless of what an outsider may feel or say.

  5. Danny at 2:44 pm

    Thank you, Jean Price, for your thoughtful and well-written comment. In hindsight, I did take offense at comments like “religious people” saying offensive and ignorant things. However, I never questioned Ms. Stewart’s beliefs or her sincerity in those beliefs. If that somehow came across in my comment, I do apologize to Ms. Stewart. That was not my intent.

    I do stand by my comment, though, without reservation. Believing that “religious people” all think, act and speak the same way because of their religion is a dangerous and ill-informed mind-set. I believe that “____ people” say and do ignorant things when it comes to chronic pain sufferers. And “_____” means “all kinds of…”

  6. Jean Price at 2:33 pm

    Danny…well said! Generalizing about any group because of a few people is unfair and doesn’t represent the truth. It can cause others to be misled…as the war on drugs has surely done, just as you have said! And then bad feelings, even hatred and and bigotry and abuse have fertile ground to spring from and grow! Sadly, we see this every day in our own country, too…especially the last several years, and also the whole world over.

    It’s unfair to judge all Christians, or any group in total, by the remarks made or even the actions, taken by some individuals…who for some reason took it upon themselves to respond out of their own sense of justice or as an explanation, or just ignorance…whatever their reason! I will say I don’t believe this article really did that, or meant to do that, by any means, Nor did the comments here, although I suppose you might think that if you feel passionate about what’s happening now with so many people seeming to judge Christian! Because, let’s face it…that happens also! And more lately it seems than ever!

    And some Christians have prompted a lot of this themselves, too. Some, not all but certainly some, think they have to condem others for not knowing God yet, or even try to scare them into believing…instead of just LIVING out their faith and perhaps drawing people to know God though the love of God in them!! I guess I saw this article and the comments as mainly a way to open up the subject of poor or inappropriate support…which we get from many people, not just Christians! Yet i will say it did mostly concentrate on the comments heard from SOME Christians, I’d admit that. Maybe that’s because those types of comments can hurt worse, for some reason. They seem to touch the core of our being, maybe because we know we’re not perfect and know that we often falter, in life OR in our faith…and we don’t pray formally at times, or maybe at all. (Yet prayer doesn’t have to be the standard type…smiles, tears, laughter, pain, concern are all types of prayers!). The truth is, many of us HAVE been touched by these kinds of comments at some time in our lives, due to illness, pain, or loss. Both in church and out of church!

    Really, Christians are just people, and as people they are all individuals…as you said! They can have a wide range of personal beliefs and interpretations of how they see God. Some do seem to view God as a strict and punishing God, and think we are meant to be perfect in our faith and the practice of our faith…of else we’ll be punished or called to task by some illness or injury. These kinds of statement do happen, unfortunately…yet not nearly as much as what you said you have experienced…Christians helping others and extending their love, compassion, and concern….no matter what! For myself I believe that’s what we are called to do as Christians, yet again…we all have our individual ways of seeing God and understanding our calling.

    And yes! We of all people must know that judging any group isn’t right. I’m sure there are even some compassionate people in government and the CDC, yet we don’t hear their voices. So we tend to lump them all together too. When we hurt, it’s easier to forget these are individual people too. And it’s always important to be reminded of this, as you have done. Thanks!

  7. Sheryl M Donnell at 11:42 am

    Danny, Suzanne is a Christian woman. She was not in any way deriding an entire group of people. I think you missed her entire point that religious people often blame sick people for not praying hard enough and having enough faith in God to be well. It is not just fundamental Christians who do this. It is all sorts of religious people. I believe they do it because they fear these illnesses could happen to them too so they delude themselves and blame the victim which is of course something that we see in many many different forms. If it had only happened once, she would not have written the article.

  8. Danny at 5:49 am

    I almost stopped reading this article when, in my opinion, the word “fundamentalist” was thrown at the reader like a rock. However, I chose to continue reading in order to try to understand the point of the author. However, “fundamentalist” isn’t a term just for Christians. We’ve all heard about “fundamentalist” Muslims, right? Personally, I think “fundamentalist” could also be used to classify those who made up the CDC Prescribing Guidelines committee, in that they all had a basic, fundamentalist view that all opioids are bad, all the time.

    I am a Christian. I was raised in a Southern Baptist church. The truest friends that I have today, the ones who have stuck by me after my accident and the resulting severe, intractable pain, are the people with whom I attended church. While reading this article and many of the comments, I am flabbergasted by those who lump everybody into a classification based upon the actions or words of one, or a few, individuals.

    The people referred to, in the article and the comments, are just that: individuals. They are ignorant about pain and the ignorant statements they’ve made only reflect upon themselves. I can even add a few ignorant comments myself: “You can will it away, if you wanted to” and “God has given you this pain for a greater purpose”. What kind of God “gives” the kind of pain that has completely disrupted my life to the point where I’ve lost the support of friends and family?! Certainly not the God I believe in! These people don’t understand chronic pain, so their comments come from a place of ignorance. Therefore, when what they say is offensive and hurtful, we must realize that they haven’t a clue about what they’re talking about. And, in no way, do they speak for others.

    If you want to talk about people who don’t I have a clue, consider my situation after being electrocuted. In 1991, NOBODY knew much of anything concerning the long-term effects of electrical injuries, including doctors! If I were to judge an entire group of people based upon an individual who’s offended me with their comments, here are the people that I would condemn, as a whole: Every nurse in America, because of the comments of a nurse who flat-out told me that I was an addict who was “exagerrating” my pain to get opioids. Because of her words, I should believe that every nurse feels the same way? That’s been proven to be a fallacy because of many wonderful and caring nurses that I’ve encountered over the years. I have a cousin who is a police officer. He actually said to me that if I didn’t quit taking my pain medicine, I would eventually be a heroin addict. My cousin! We all know how absurd that statement is, but I should assume every person in law enforcement believes as my cousin? That’s asinine and was proven as such by an officer who investigated when my home was burglarized and my medicine stolen. Turns out that there was a group of people who followed customers of a pharmacy home and would break into those homes to steal medicine. So I should despise every nurse and policeman because of the ignorance of these two individuals? If so, I would be as ignorant as they are.

    To have negative feelings about an entire group due to the actions of a few is dangerously close to being like a racist or a bigot. We all have dealt with the stigma of someone assuming we’re addicts or malingerers because of our chronic pain. We, of all people, should know better than to believe that everyone is the same because of the actions of a few. As for me, I wouldn’t have survived the first year after my accident in 1991 without the love and support of my church family.. The love these people showed was unconditional and was a perfect example the “agape love” that Jesus Christ encouraged his followers to show. (Please research “agape love” if you don’t know what it is.) I received supportive cards in the mail EVERY DAY, sent by Sunday School classes or friends who I grew up with in the church. I was told on numerous occasions that I, specifically, was being prayed for during church services. I don’t know about anyone else, but I need all the help I can get! I enthusiastically accept the prayers of anyone who is willing to pray for me!

    I encourage all pain sufferers, and the National Pain Report, to not encourage stereotyping or bigotry. Yes, there are judgemental Christians. Just as there are individuals in every walk of life who are judgemental and ignorant when it comes to chronic pain. We should be better than that.

  9. Sheryl M Donnell at 4:02 pm

    I think it makes people feel better to THINK that if they pray and have enough faith nothing bad will happen to them, but of course that is nonsense. Infants are born gravely sick. That alone proves that is a false hope. Faith is believing God will carry you through whatever life gives you. Faith is believing there is something more for us when we are called home. Faith is not a guarantee of an easy, illness free or pain free life. Those who believe that do not understand God and faith at all.

  10. Dianna Byrne at 1:23 pm

    The stories in the Bible are meant as examples to us showing how others have come through afflictions, bad decisions, and other negative occurrences in their lives. It is a type of “guidebook” if you will of the best way to walk through our lives. God does not try each day to observe and decide whom he can destroy. He is a loving God and gives us strength and peace in our trials. I know that one of the most important questions many chronic pain patients ask is, “What can I do now that my life is so compromised by this pain and disability to make the world a better place; what is my purpose?”
    Please understand that every day that you keep pushing on despite the pain, or smile at someone even though you are in so much pain you don’t know how you are upright, that you are blessing the world with hope. Showing fellow humans that life can contain physical pain, disability, financial woes, lost relationships, or any other negative event that may come your way, and you will hesitate long enough to reprocess the situation, pull yourself back up, and move on the best you can. Because of examples given in Job and other books of the Bible, we have hope, strength,, love, and peace so they see with their own eyes and moving forward, what it means to have God in your life. No preaching necessary!

  11. Layla Rose at 1:04 pm

    I had a guy, who was a neighbor at the time, ask me if I prayed when I briefly told him that I was ill. He was always commenting about how good & young I looked. (TBH he was a tad condescending) I was immediately a bit defensive & just said “To who?”. Of course thereafter, I think he thought that I was an atheist or something, which is untrue, I just don’t want to discuss my spiritual beliefs with those types of people. Plus it has no bearing on my illnesses whatsoever. There were a lot of intrusive neighbors like that there, so glad that I moved out.

  12. Kathy C at 12:13 pm

    This kind of thing is really prevalent. It justifies their false belief, that people don’t need Medical Care, they just don’t pray enough. The Faith Issue has been woven into the “Mental Health Industry” too. People with Pain, and other conditions are just not Faithful enough or positive enough. I have a friend who is now passed. He had early onset M.S. He had to use canes to walk, and was fairly Physically messed up. He got these kinds of lectures too. They made assumptions about his “lifestyle.” Apparently in the faith based world people only get MS due to past Sins. We laughed as I told him, that he could live in Bordello, and smoke Crack daily and never get MS.
    These Magical beliefs have permeated everything. There is an Alternate Reality, where if you ignore a lot of Facts, you can just believe things and they manifest. Since the Medical And Pharmaceutical Industries have failed so many people, they had to promote this myth. The “Mental Health” or Faith Myth works with two key groups, the religious, who refer to their Faith to justify illness, as a punishment, and the “Spiritual” who refer to “New Age” Psychobabble. They are equally as pernicious. The Industries like to promote this Ideology, because it obfuscates the “Healthcare Crisis.” It ads another magical variable, one that blames the patient for getting sick. The Medication, or treatment did not work, because the “Patients” negativity did not let it. It is not because Statistically a lot of Patients don’t respond. They did not have the right “Attitude.”

  13. JoDawn at 11:11 am

    Preach it, Sister!!!

    I currently have CRPS, but years ago, after the birth of our third child, I started getting terrible migraines. Military drs put me on pain killers, that only gave me rebound headaches!
    Aaaand then…
    A woman I really looked up to in my church completely broke my 26yo heart by telling me I must have “unrepentant sin” for this to happen.
    We went churchless for a long time after that, and would have done so much better at one.
    Thank you so much for posting this!!

  14. Tim Mason at 10:32 am

    Philippians 4:11-13New International Version (NIV)

    11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

    I am not a religious fanatic but I do think many so called preachers and people are on a “greased pole to hell” for treating people with lack of empathy,
    If you have not love…you have nothing.
    I had a preacher come by on a Saturday and said “We have not seen you in church for a few weeks”. I said “I have been ill and no one has called upon me to check on me”. His response was. “YOU ARE GOING TO HELL”.
    Religion can be an addiction that drives people crazy. In a group they can be like wolves.
    I know spend my sunday (a pagan word by the way) in the woods with one of my hounds enjoying nature.
    That’s all I am going to say about this.

  15. Robert Dean Rose Jr. at 8:20 am

    Suzanne, You are so right. People do not choose to be in pain. Job did not choose to lose everything of to suffer through affliction on affliction. We have a very merciful God; but at the same time we have a very devious and intelligent Satan. In the Garden of Eden, man made a choice and now we must live with that decision. Now, because sometimes tragedy befalls us, we fail to see Satan’s hands playing us for fools. We believe God is not listening or that He is not merciful because He says no to our anguished cries. This is simply not the case.

    God listens to everything we say or ask of Him. Sometimes, like Job, He is aware of the bigger picture and blesses us in ways far more impressive than we can imagine. People see me with tears in my eyes from the pain I have in my back and wonder how I can glorify God. My answer is simple; in my darkest hour, God has never forsaken me. This pain was God’s way or returning me to the land of the living. After having to rely more and more on a wheelchair to get about, I had fallen into a deep depression. Many days I would ask God to simply take me home because I could not deal with the pain any longer. Then in October 2016, when the VA began denying me pain medications, God gave me a swift kick in the ass. As I was trying to fight for my own selfish benefits and relief, I began to realize their are others out their suffering more than I; such as the little girl you mentioned. With continued research, I realized the problem is not just within the Veterans Administration but also with the tens of millions of Chronic Pain Patients being denied quality health care. It is my belief now, and the strength I draw upon each day, that God wants me to use my pain to help others. So as I see it, my pain is as much a blessing as my sons…

    I recognize that I am not the best ambassador in God’s ranks. I lose my cool and occasionally I slip into Marine Corp profanity. In those moments of weakness, or maybe after I have cooled down, I must ask for God forgiveness. I am certain this pisses Satan off to the ninth degree which is why it is raining right now and I can barely move my fingers across the keyboard. In the end however, Satan may destroy me but he will never ever take from me my faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

    It is with this belief that I do not judge others as it is not my place. I can only share my beliefs, not force them down anyone’s throat. It is with this knowledge that I know the afflictions of so many is not their own doing because of a lack of faith, or because they did something wrong in the eyes of the Lord. It is with the knowledge of Job and so many more such as the disciple Peter who denied Christ thrice, that we have a loving God. A God so merciful that sometimes with tears in His eyes He tells us no. A God so loving that even when we turn our backs on Him, He is still there with open arms.

    When I say I’ll pray for someone, it is not out of malice. When my heart breaks at another’s suffering it is not because I am judging them as sinners or as being unfaithful; it is not my place. I do these things out of love for them. I do these things because I know my God will reward them beyond their wildest dreams and maybe because I am a bit jealous because I need to remain and continue to do battle with Satan. And even on my worse days, Satan does not stand a chance as God is always with me. I see Him and His precious miracles in the smile of a small child. I hear Him in the song of the bird beside my window. I feel Him in the embrace of my children and wife. God is good… God is great… it is Satan who brings these trials upon us through no fault of our own… and so, I pray for each of us to have a wonderful day. I pray for each us to walk hand in hand with Jesus Christ through a field of lilies… Robert

  16. Cheri Furr at 8:00 am

    This infuriates me more than anything. I am so tired of these “holier than thou” people thinking they know anything about our illness. First of all, they know nothing about it. Second of all, they should mind their own business. This thought of someone being punished by God for their sins is ridiculous. Like you said, what has a three-year-old with cancer done to have the wrath of God come down upon her? I knew a couple who was extremely religious, hard-working, kind, and generous who lost their four-month-old baby due to a kidney defect and kidney failure. When I went to the funeral, I could not believe the people who were telling them “Well, this is God’s will.” It reminds me of the days when AIDS first began killing gay men in America. Several people I knew said God was punishing them for being gay. Statements like this are ignorant and absurd. I have plenty of faith and pray at least once a day, sometimes twice. Faith is a personal thing, and no one better tell me I don’t have it or that I am being punished by God for my sins. If they do, I will probably commit one by hitting them with my cane! Thank you for writing this.

  17. Joyce compton at 7:53 am

    A family member of my brothers wife approached me on christmas eve and handed me a pamphlet from his church . The pamphlet proclaimed that those who suffer physical ailments do so because they have not been saved. I was horrified that someone I had known for several years who was uncle to my niece and nephew thought my illness was a result of my sins. I am a practicing Catholic who at the time was in and out of hospital constantly due to respiratory issues. I spent 380 days as an inpatient in a 2 year period. I was a registered nurse had dedicated my life to caring for others. The concept that my God was punishing me with illness was beyond disturbing. I considered the premise but quickly dismissed it as ignorance and malice on the part of this individual and his church. I continue to face many challenges the steroids that saved my life have left me with avascular necrosis of all my major joints and at the age of 49 I have had 3 replacements in 3 years. 4 weeks ago I had shoulder surgery to revise a replacement that is less than 2 years old. I face hip replacement as soon as my arm heals. I live with chronic pain which each day becomes more frightening thanks to misuse of the drugs that allow me to function by people who make headlines rather than dinner by taking opioids. As many with chronic illness I have questioned the why behind my suffering and my family has as well . I have come to the conclusion that God knew I was strong enough, that I could grow in my compassion and empathy for others as result of what I have faced. On bad days I have moments when the why can be as debilitating as the pain if I allow fear to overcome my faith. Those moments are fleeting because of my faith in a compassionate and loving God who has and will continue to carry me through. The pamphlet handed to me that Christmas night is long since thrown away and its premise that those who are ill are simply the sinners and unsaved is garbage as well.

  18. connie at 7:10 am

    Years ago my sister’s friend lost two children to some unknown disease that actually ate their faces off. As if that weren’t bad enough her church group told her that they died because of their lack of faith. People like that honestly believe the [edit] they’re spouting no matter how devastating it is to others. It makes me sick! When that same group told me to throw away my glasses and drive my car I told them where to get off and never went back!

  19. Maureen at 6:49 am

    I’ve had that happen to me…a Christian friend of mine at a church I used to go to once said to me ‘you suffer because you are not right with God’.
    This was a friend who had been in my life for about 6 years by then.
    Who had watched me decline and go through yet another surgery at that time and who knew my heart re: my relationship with God.
    I was stunned she suggested that. I already knew that God knows my heart and thats what matters.
    I say back to people like her ‘I suffer for HIM as He suffered for me. He has his reason for allowing my suffering and I use it as a witness of my strength and faith in Him’. Amen!

  20. Cindy Perlin at 6:35 am

    This issue was addressed in depth and quite beautifully in the classic book When Bad Things Happen To Good People, written by a rabbi whose son was afflicted with a terrible disease.

  21. Ben Aiken Longfellow at 6:26 am

    WELL SAID!! Well said Suzanne. The reference to Job, a true man of conviction and faith had some SERIOUS afflictions. I believe the story of Job as history, not a parable. That is how I perceive it. Young children, in fact, get very sick. I have a son that was diagnosed with an extremely rare kidney disease at the young age of 9 years old. Through prayer AND good doctors, he has managed with the disease and, is now 36 years old. He has a beautiful family, gave us a grand daughter and he is happy. There is no one to “blame”. I believe that there is a higher power and all things work, through him, to open eyes. That is my own personal philosophy, religion, and I am thankful to be a citizen in a country where I can believe as I wish to believe, worship as I wish to worship, and I am just “hard headed” enough to, change not. I can not help be disturbed, no, angry, at the direction my country has chosen to “treat” those with chronic pain. We wish for no more than an option to deal SUFFICIENTLY with the chronic pain that is affecting our lives. If you go to a physician and are found to have an elevated blood pressure then, the proper medication will be prescribed to you. It is your choice to follow the physicians advice and take the med or……not. At least, you have a choice. The agency that has declared an “opioid epidemic” in the USA has determined that it is best to reduce prescribing of a helpful medication, reduce the manufacturing of same, and therefor made a “choice”, for the pain afflicted. Pain is as treatable in some degree as many other forms of afflictions. The”degree” of treatment has been unjustly SET for one and all. Regardless of a physicians educated analysis. Thus placing many who have been able to manage their own lives into a “shadow of doubt” After 20 plus years of sufficient help by means of treatment, my and maybe hundreds of thousands of other lives are being extremely affected with the agencies “guidelines”. The “guideline” is an untruth, from the start. We know it. It has been determined by the agency, the degree, that the non cancer chronic pain community can be assisted. After our physicians have been schooled through much time, expense, and a great many of them, convicition.Conviction ot help ALL in need of medical assistance. I look at my pain management specialists’ sufficient prescribing of opioid medication as………assistance The treatment I and hundreds of thousands of others receive is to benefit their lives. It is NOT a crutch. I dare say that ANYONE that has been affected by serious, non stop pain would be just as angry and upset as those of us who are affected by chronic pain. The conception of “it won’t happen to me” or ” I am strong enough to do without opioid medication” is seriously misjudged. Of course those of us in the chronic pain community already know this. The idea that the “guideline” will lower the mortality rate among the people of this country is a misguided attempt to reconcile a seemingly real problem. Those abiding by their physicians prescribing of medication and moving on with their lives in a meaningful, helpful to themselves, family and friends way is a positive indicator of opioid medication actually benefiting those of us with chronic pain. Pain is not a health issue that can be “placed in the back of our thoughts”. I wish it could be. The chronic pain afflicted are not weak or weak minded people. On the contrary, they are some of the strongest people living.The “guideline” must be amended to actually help people, not harm them……or worse. Write your state medical board, all your state health officials, your congressmen, and the President.
    .

  22. AnitaM at 4:28 am

    Thank you for writing from this standpoint. The unearned guilt that can be absorbed into one’s mind from the words of an overly righteous individual is definitely not helpful or healing to the one who is afflicted with suffering. A simple, silent, and unknown source of prayer prayer may very help sustain the wellspring of the sufferer’s faith. Applying the Golden Rule is certainly the great and much often needed reminder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *