The Center for Disease Control says that as of 2012, about half of all adult Americans live with one or more chronic health conditions. One in four people have two or more. That means that there is a very good chance that you or someone you love struggles daily with something such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, chronic pain, gastro-intestinal conditions, depression, anxiety, etc. The financial costs are staggering. Eighty-six percent of the nation’s annual health care expenditures can be attributed to managing and treating chronic conditions. (Information obtained from http://www.cdc.gov.)
But the financial costs, pharmaceutical debates, hospital visits, etc. are only part of the story. The people that live every day with the realities that come with these conditions are the real story. They live each day around how they feel. Their chronic condition needs to be a consideration in how they choose to spend their days. — Will I be in pain? When do I need to take my medicine? Do I need to avoid this activity due to my illness? Will people think I’m just seeking attention? I don’t want to be a burden.
The people that love them also struggle trying to find the balance between helping them cope and giving them space. When someone we love is suffering, we want to do whatever we can to make it go away. — I wonder if they’re in pain, but I don’t want to bring it up. Should I invite them along or would it be too hard for them? If I offer to help will they think I’m being too pushy?
Living in either part if this world can quickly lead to despair. Every day seems like another day to “just deal”. We desperately need hope. And although we can “hope” that modern medicine will find a cure; or “hope” that this new treatment will work; or “hope” that today will be a good day – there is only one place we can put our hope that will not fail. That is in the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Bible is full of hope, not the least of which is the fact that ultimately our hope in an eternity in the presense of God is secure because of Jesus’ atoning death on the cross. There is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved! (Acts 4:12) And if you have not yet surrendered your life to Jesus, that is the most important decision you can make. Once you do that, you have the promise of the peace that passes understanding. (Philippians 4:7)
But even when you are a redeemed Child of the Living God, you will still battle with doubt and despair. That is when you need to turn to the Word of God and to your brothers and sisters in Christ to get your focus off of your circumstances and on to your Savior.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV