I just finished reading But God, Wouldn’t I Be More Useful to You If I Were Healthy? by Esther Smith. Having chronic pain and illness is confusing and frustrating. If you’re tired of resisting where you are in life. If you’re tired of being at odds with God about your continuing health struggles, then this book is a breath of fresh air. The author points the way to acceptance of our condition which frees up our energy and leads to peace.
I think that all of us secretly worry that if we aren’t able to be productive members of our homes, our communities or our churches that we matter less. Our world values productivity. Even the Bible tells us to be busy doing God’s work.
But that isn’t the whole story. Esther Smith struggled with this issue. She wanted to be a missionary, but debilitating pain prevented it. She searched for answers to the book’s question and she records what she found for us in the pages of her book.
Getting Clear About Work and Our Value
First, Esther talks about work and how we think our value as a person is in what we do and accomplish. My favorite passage is this:
“Work makes us no more valuable, loved, precious, treasured, important, or saved in the eyes of God. Doing more does not make us worth more. When chronic pain takes away our ability to do and to work, we do not become worth less. Because of what Christ has done, we are free to exist in his presence, held up by his grace, and that is enough.”(pg 11)
Rest Is Not A Waste Of Time
Next, she covers the topic of rest. She encourages us to rest in Jesus. To sit at his feet like Mary did and learn from him. She encourages us to enjoy being in His presence. My favorite quote about rest is:
“Rest in the physical sense is not a thing of guilt; rest is a thing of faith.” (pg 12)
Doing What We Can
Her other emphasis is doing what we can, instead of focusing on what we cannot do. To be on guard for self pity as an excuse to do nothing. It’s a balancing act to not exhaust ourselves by doing too much, but to do what we can even if it feels small and unimportant.
My favorite quote in this section is this:
“Just as the widow gave out of a poverty of financial ruin, in the same way, those who live with debilitating chronic pain give out of a poverty of health.” (pg 20)
Since, there’s so much to think about and ponder in this short book, I know that I will re-read it and come back to it many times. Not stressing about what I can’t do, should free up energy for doing what I can. I’m praying that this book will guide you towards peace and acceptance as well.
If you would like to read more about Esther Smith, you can read her blog here.
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