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Chronic Challenges: A cross to carry.

At Christ The Good Shepherd Parish in Saginaw, MI. Above the Altar is a massive crucifix. It is something that you are easily drawn to as you walk in. High above our heads as we move about the church. There a statue of Christ is nailed to the massive wooden cross. You see the marks, the scars, the wounds and the face twisted in a silent agony. It is truly at that moment when we can feel the pain that Christ felt while being on that Cross. It is something that I am drawn to inside our parish. A reminder of the sacrifice that Christ made for our salvation.

Christ tells in the Bible that we should pick up our cross and follow Him. Some of us do this in many ways. Some have to do this daily with chronic conditions that often test the limits of our endurance and have is openly wonder "why have you (God) forsaken me."

I deal with a few chronic conditions of my own. Issues that decide to fire up now and again. Most days I am fine and have no trouble. Other days I feel like I'm trying to hold on for dear life. A lot of is related to disabilities such as the neurological issues related to my cerebral palsy. It can be difficult on some days to navigate life. Because of these issues playing havoc.

This is a common element in life. Many of us deal with on going challenges that can be defined as chronic. Those issues can be very difficult to deal with. One day we are doing well and taking care of things. Other days we have a flare up that takes us out of action for much longer time than we would prefer. I've had this happen more than a few times. Riding out the storm as best I can.

Some would openly wonder where God is in all that we face. More so as we contend with issues that not even doctors fully understand. Let alone trying to make sense of why an issue picked that moment in time to flare up with out any kind of warning. It can be hard to see God's plan when you are out of action. Sometimes dealing with a great deal of persona agony. It my case I have come to accept these challenges as some kind of cross I have to carry. I know that in my own struggles that God is very much with me. Even when that is hard for me to see in the moment.

By the Grace of God I'm Still Standing. It is a phrase I use in these moments. A reminder of how amazing God is even in the struggles that life tends to offer. A way of offering up thanks that even when I do have a flare up I can still get some things done. Life will throw some nasty curve balls at times. In those trials faith becomes even more important. Relying on the power of prayer is critical. It helps me stay focused. Helps me to pick up my cross and follow Christ. No matter where that will lead.

Not everyone will understand these private struggles that we face. To live with something that is on going and almost seems endless. We never know when we might have to miss out on something due to a flare up and the chaos that it might cause. Yet though our struggles God understands. By relying on Him we see the grace in others that we come across.

As look on the crucifix at my parish. I am reminded of what Christ went though. That final agony. I take comfort in knowing that God did not forsake His son. Nor will He abandon me in my own struggles. It helps me to focus on prayer and to do the best I can just to simply let go and surrender all that troubles me to Christ. As I move in this life. I have come to understand and accept that God is always with us. No matter what chronic issue we may face. -

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