For the past 14 years I have suffered from chronic neck pain. For the past year I have suffered from debilitating lower back (and mid-back) pain.
Put those together and you have a very bad problem. I recall going to the chiropractor about twelve years ago, and he said: “you’re only 24 years old and already you have chronic neck pain. That doesn’t bode well for your future.”
Thanks for cheering me up, Doc.
I’ve seen chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, spine surgeons, had multiple MRIs (and another scheduled for early November) and in general tried every thing imaginable, yet I continue to suffer from this.
For the past four months I’ve been unable to pick up my children. I just have to kneel down and give them hugs, or offer to hold their hands. A week ago I had to put in notice at my job because my back hurt too much to work there anymore.
This is real stuff, and for a husband and father who is the sole breadwinner, scary stuff. I’m only in my mid-thirties. My body is starting to reach that point where it doesn’t bounce back from injuries very well.
As a Catholic, I believe we can offer our sufferings to Christ for ourselves and others. A regular prayer of mine goes like this: “Jesus, please unite my sufferings to yours on the Cross as penance for the remission of my many sins, and also as a prayer for my wife and children and the salvation of the world.”
We Catholics haven’t just made this up. Consider Colossians 1:24 “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church.”
Jesus wants us to offer these sufferings to Him, and united with His, they become redemptive.
My friends are probably sick of my emails to them asking for their prayers for my back’s healing. I’m sick of sending them out. But I do believe that we should do all in our power to alleviate sufferings and that God can and will heal us of sufferings in response to prayer.
My main point with this post is to tell you that if you are in chronic pain: physical or emotional, I am there with you. And so is Christ. You are not alone. God will give you a way out, one way or the other. In the meantime, offer those sufferings to Him.
I’ll pray for you, and please pray for me, that I am able to provide for my family and be able to do the basic fatherly duties like pick up and carry my children.