Many times in my life I’ve felt like I was on the sidelines watching my family go out without me because I was too sick or in two much pain to leave the house. Then stupidly checking into social media, I’d see more families having outings that were completely off limits to me. That of course made me feel even worse! I’m slowly earning that the best thing to do when I’m struggling to cope with chronic illness is to spend some time with some Bible verses before I look at social media.
I never cried out to God about it when I was feeling like this. I would just sink into myself and become depressed about it. It’s probably the worst thing I could have done! One of the hardest things that anyone can go through is a debilitating chronic illness. Many times, these illnesses are mysterious, come on suddenly and have no end in sight. While I was lucky enough to get diagnosed right away, others go from doctor to doctor for years without ever finding out what’s wrong.
It’s easier to go through a trial when you think that it will have an ending date. For example, if you’ve ever had a bad flu you know that sooner or later it’s going to pass. That hope keeps you going in spite of your current misery.
But when you live with chronic illness, you don’t have the comfort and assurance that it’s going to end, at least not on this side of heaven. Instead, you’re faced with the overwhelming prospect that you might be facing physical suffering for years, or even for the rest of your life.
And that’s just the physical and emotional side! If you’re a spiritual person, you might be wondering where God is in all of this, and if He’s abandoned you. You might think you’re being punished for something you did. You might wonder if you have enough faith to deal with all of this.
All of these reactions are completely normal. What you’re experiencing is grief. Grief is simply the pain that we encounter when we lose something. For many of us, it’s not just our lost health. It’s also feeling like you’re missing out on life. One of the challenges of living with chronic illness is staying spiritually and emotionally strong when you feel awful all of the time. You might feel like you start with an empty gas tank every day.
Some Christians believe they should put on their bootstraps and tough it out when they’re dealing with a chronic illness. This is never productive! Instead of trying to bury these feelings, take some daily time to go into God’s presence and share your emotions with Him.
One of the ways that I personally stay encouraged and keep myself from slipping into depression is by spending some intentional time reading the Bible every day. I’m currently following the She Reads Truth and Bible in One Year plans.
Is it a lot of reading? Yes, but it’s a much better use of my time than scrolling social media! Using the audio on YouVersion, with Max McLean reading the NIV version has really helped me to stay focused.
I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite Bible verses that help me cope with chronic illness as well as the depression and anxiety that go along with it.
Bible Verses for Coping With Chronic Illness
Hebrews 13:5b “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
John 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
Romans 8:38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Psalms 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.
Psalms 32:10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
Psalms 42:11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Psalms 94:19 When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Psalm 50:10-11 “For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
John 14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”
Psalm 107:29-30 “He made the storm be still and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.”
John 14:1-3 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also…”
Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
The Power of Prayer
James 5:14-16 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
1 John 5:14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us.
1 Chronicles 16:11 Look to the Lord and His strength, seek His face always.