Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Invisible Symptoms

How do you explain the invisible? Take, for instance, muscle spasms. How can any explanation properly convey the pain of a muscle that is being pulled like a rubber band? When the unseen force of a contraction strikes my leg and radiates up my left side there are no words to express my discomfort and distress. I've tried to use analogies like a vise grip and even a game of tug-of-war. But even my best attempts at sharing the inner life of my invisible symptoms fall short in providing true understanding. It is as if I am speaking a different language from my audience and there is no one there to translate.
Over the years spasms, spotty vision, vertigo spells and fluctuating blood sugar have helped to fill up my symptom list. Somewhere along the way I stopped trying to make the world see my invisible suffering. I stopped talking about the pain and discomfort associated with each new ailment. I shut the world away and went into my own personal hibernation. Silence became easier than speaking. Isolation more desirable than explanation. 
In my state of human hibernation I did my best to avoid any questioning or discussions of my condition. Even the well-meaning concerns of family and friends were too much for me to handle. I didn't want to talk about what they couldn't see and I couldn't adequately describe. So I avoided all conversation. I made my visits to family functions as short as possible. I stopped attending church on Sunday mornings. I refused to see any more doctors out of an unwillingness to have to, once again, enumerate my symptoms and recount my health saga. There was so much happening beneath the surface, in my muscles and nerves, that no one could comprehend and I didn't have the energy to effectively communicate. So I simply stopped trying.

It wasn't until I reached the dead end of ineffective explanations that God gave me a new story to tell. He lifted the burden of telling the world about invisible symptoms and gave me the commission to tell the world about visible faith. 
Out of all the unseen symptoms that have plagued my body God has nurtured in me a stronger belief in His perfect plan. I trust in His will. I find peace in His presence and comfort in His promises. With every new invisible aspect of my illness God has increased and strengthened a visible attribute of my faith. He has used every symptom that no one can see to cultivate a faith that can shine for His glory. 

My journey of faith isn't over and the invisible symptoms might not be either. But even if a new and unexpected physical ailment seizes my body I have the assurance that God can use it to manifest something in me more important and more powerful than pain or suffering. God has, can and will use every discomfort to deepen my dependence on His Son and my faith in His perfection. I trust and believe that God will use every invisible symptom to proclaim the goodness of visible faith in my Sustainer, Lord and Savior. 


  1. All glory to God. Stephanie I needed to read that... Thank you!! God is faithful. Suffering and weeping may last during this night season but joy comes in the morning! I truly believe a morning is coming with a cure to this disease very soon. In fact it is already in process ...praise God!!! For everyone out there that needs eternal security call upon the Lord with your heart... Romans 10:9 if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you shall be saved

    1. So true, Angela! God uses the darkest moments in our lives to sustain us with His unending light. Keep pressing into Him and He will see you through.