Obstacles are a Pain

You may have noticed that my blog was missing last week. That’s because I’ve been fighting with today’s obstacle: chronic pain.

I’ve had a series of headaches and migraines that have made it hard for me to think, let alone write a blog. I’ve dealt with pain before, but this…this ice pick in the temple that doesn’t let up…this assault on the body that had me hiding under the covers in my bed, wishing I could just go to sleep so I could get a break. But no sooner would I finally, finally drift off, than the pain would rip me from sleep and back into the pit of agony.

Some of you know all too well what I’m talking about. You know what it is fight chronic pain, to try to battle your way past it so you can do what you feel God has asked you to do. And yet, no matter how hard you try, there are times the pain wins.

So what can we do in the face of this obstacle that turns our own bodies into weapons against us, that steal from us our ability to write? First, remember that you’re not alone. Scriptures show that God’s people are no strangers to pain. Even his most faithful followers have known chronic, agonizing pain. Second, pray. Third, pray. Fourth…well, you get the idea. But as you pray, don’t look so much for relief—which we know will come in God’s timing and in His way—but focus instead on HIM. On the truth that He is there, with us. And third, soak in the most honest, authentic words in this world that address Writer’s Obstacle #5: Chronic Pain—

2 Corinthians 4:16-18–Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Job 6 1-10–“If my misery could be weighed and my troubles be put on the scales, they would outweigh all the sands of the sea…For the Almighty has struck me down with his arrows…Don’t I have a right to complain? Don’t wild donkeys bray when they find no grass, and oxen bellow when they have no food?…At least I can take comfort in this: Despite the pain, I have not denied the words of the Holy One.

Lamentations 3:2—{The Lord} has led me into darkness, shutting out all light…He has made my skin and flesh grow old…He has besieged and surrounded me with anguish and distress…He has walled me in, and I cannot escape…The thought of my suffering is bitter beyond words…I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.

Psalm 6:2-4, 6-7, 9–Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am frail! Heal me, Lord, for my bones are shaking! I am absolutely terrified, and you, Lord—how long will this continue? Relent, Lord, rescue me! Deliver me because of your faithfulness!…I am exhausted as I groan; all night long I drench my bed in tears; my tears saturate the cushion beneath me…the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping! The Lord has heard my appeal for mercy; the Lord has accepted my prayer.

Jeremiah 17:12-14–“Lord, from the very beginning you have been seated on your glorious throne on high. You are the place where we can find refuge. You are the one in whom Israel may find hope…Lord, grant me relief from my suffering so that I may have some relief; rescue me…”

1 Peter 5:9-11–Be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.  All power to him forever! Amen.



30 Responses to Obstacles are a Pain

  1. Avatar
    Amanda Wen April 26, 2017 at 4:22 am #

    Thank you for such an honest and encouraging post. Praying right now that God will bring relief from your pain, and praising Him for using it to draw us close to Him!

    • Avatar
      Karen Ball April 26, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

      Thank you so much for the prayers. That’s the most powerful help you can give.

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    Jennifer April 26, 2017 at 4:24 am #

    Perfect timing. Last weekend, a freak accident almost severed my right ring finger and left me with a broken hand. I’ve been feeling sorry for myself because I need surgery tomorrow and I’ll be in a cast for the next 6 weeks. I’m 64 pages into my first novel and I just accepted a job as a contributing writer for a local magazine. Now I can’t use my dominant hand.

    But I still have my left hand…I can still type. Thanks, Karen. I needed this reminder. It took a long time to dig up my talent (I almost forgot where I buried it). I won’t let this injury be the excuse that re-buries my dream.

    • Avatar
      Karen Ball April 26, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

      Oh my word. So sorry that happened and praying for God’s healing.

      • Avatar
        Jennifer May 25, 2017 at 4:22 am #

        Thank you. I’m praying for you, too. One day at a time…this too shall pass.

  3. Avatar
    Kirsten Panachyda April 26, 2017 at 5:19 am #

    Praying for you, Karen.
    Yes, I know this obstacle well. It can be so easy to collapse next to it and think, “Well, obviously, this can’t be overcome. I guess I’ll just curl up here.”
    You are right; the only remedy is focusing on Him.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Avatar
    Robin Patchen April 26, 2017 at 5:25 am #

    I’m so sorry about your migraines. They’re absolutely torturous. I’m praying the Lord heals you completely.

  5. Avatar
    Rebekah Love Dorris April 26, 2017 at 6:12 am #

    I’m so sorry, Karen! I had a migraine once that lasted seven days. How I empathize with your description.

    My nurse practitioner friend kneaded the fire out of my neck muscles at church on the seventh day. She massaged them so hard I could feel it in my forehead! She said to continue it until the headache lessened, and sure enough, that’s what it was! (I’d stayed up sewing on Christmas Eve till midnight, and the tensed muscles had morphed into the granddaddy of headaches.)

    I adore the verses you shared! Another one I love is Isaiah 63:9:
    In all their affliction he was afflicted,
    and the angel of his presence saved them:
    in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
    and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

    God bless & heal you and turn this for your good and His glory. 🙂

  6. Avatar
    Rebekah Love Dorris April 26, 2017 at 6:22 am #

    Sorry! Just one more. So good.

    Psalms 22:24
    For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
    neither hath he hid his face from him;
    but when he cried unto him, he heard.

  7. Avatar
    Melissa Henderson April 26, 2017 at 6:31 am #

    Amen. Praying you are feeling better today.

  8. Avatar
    Micky Wolf April 26, 2017 at 6:32 am #

    Thank you for this post, Karen. Ditto to other comments. Have been a faithful reader of this blog for years and been blessed so many times by the wisdom and encouragement you share with us.

    This one really hit home. Been in pain or on the mend from four surgeries for three different issues in less than four months. With pain yet to endure, the prognosis for full recovery is excellent. Soaking in Scripture sustains me, gives me the strength and courage to persevere and write when I can. The verses you shared are some of my favorite. 🙂 Praying for you…for healing, wholeness, and restoration in His loving time and plan.

  9. Avatar
    Glenda April 26, 2017 at 6:36 am #

    I did notice there was no post from you last week, Karen. And missed you.

    Migraines have been a major obstacle for me as well.

    What you said about focusing on HIM and not the pain, just wow! There were times I wanted to bang my head on the wall to focus on a different kind of pain.


    Saying the sweet name of JESUS over and over was its own relief.

    Thank you for the list of apropos Scriptures! This week the focus of my writing is our wonderful Creator and I was s t u c k.

    The whole world could not contain all the stories of His marvelous grace,


    Thanks to your bolstering words, I’m going to try and add my own.

    Praying a closer walk with Jesus for us all. 🙂

  10. Avatar
    Bob Boeck April 26, 2017 at 6:36 am #

    I’ve been living with Shingles pain for nearly six years and the pain of compression fractures in my back for the same time frame. We come to grips with this as part of our daily life especially when doctors say you’ve tried everything that could help. God allows this for His glory that we might be lights for Him in the midst of a world of sin. We can be examples of how we respond to affliction, whether emotional or physical. We know that “this too shall pass away.”

  11. Avatar
    Sharron Cosby April 26, 2017 at 6:49 am #

    Karen, thank you for your encouraging words and the scriptures. Chronic pain shadows me daily, and I tire of working through it but your blog gave me a new perspective.

  12. Avatar
    Ruth Anne Blanchard April 26, 2017 at 7:02 am #

    You were missed! But as a chronic sufferer of a migraine-type headache for more than thirty years, I sympathize. I tried every migraine medication known to man, and none of them helped.
    My answer came by chance in the form of a benign heart condition discovered two years ago and treated with Metoprolol. I mentioned to my cardiologist that since taking the medication, my headaches have stopped. I was amazed, but he was not. He said chronic migraines are often helped by this medication. If only I had known years earlier!
    Hope this suggestion helps. You’re in my prayers. Thank you for the great posts.

  13. Avatar
    Debby Zigenis-Lowery April 26, 2017 at 7:11 am #

    Thank you Karen. I am waiting today for the test to be scheduled that will determine whether or not I have Lymphoma. I am saving this post in my encouragement file. It comforts me so immensely to know my life is in God’s hands.

  14. Avatar
    sherri stewart April 26, 2017 at 8:02 am #

    Timely words. Thank you for the word that gives us encouragement.

  15. Avatar
    Janet Ann Collins April 26, 2017 at 8:05 am #

    Karen, I missed you at Mount Hermon and have been praying extra hard for you. I had chronic pain for years because of back injuries and was helped by reading an old book by Philip Yancy and Paul Brand called Pain, the Gift Nobody Wants. It was later republished as The Gift of Pain. The book taught me that pain isn’t evil, but is a gift from God to make us take care of our bodies. After reading that I stopped tensing up to fight the pain and felt less pain as a result.

  16. Avatar
    Carol Ashby April 26, 2017 at 8:38 am #

    I’m so sorry you’re suffering right now, Karen. Many of us here pray for you.

    Here are some verses that comfort me when I’m having problems of any kind. I’ve found it to be so true in my own life.

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.–2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (ESV)

    Sorry to share some discouraging words, but it’s important for many reading here to know.

    I was checking on the copyright info I needed to put at the front of my next novel as I’m finishing the front and back matter before release in May. I was horrified to learn yesterday at the Blue Letter Bible website that the owner of the NIV copyright (Biblica, Inc.) very specifically prohibits using the NIV in our posts on the Internet. I’ve edited the Bible quotations in my novel, and now I have to go back and edit my blog posts using a different translation.

  17. Avatar
    Linda April 26, 2017 at 10:07 am #

    Oh my Karen. I have been suffering this week with the very same headache pain and your words rang so true. It is so hard to think of anything else but the pain. I have found so many times when I can’t find relief from pain of whatever kind, I am drawn closer to God. His words are even more comforting during those times. Praying for you that you will find sweet relief for your physical pain and also comfort in our loving Fathers arms.

  18. Avatar
    Edward Lane April 26, 2017 at 10:57 am #

    Thanks, Karen. So inspiring about pain and patience. I was feeling down because I read over a manuscript and realize I am having a difficult time deciding what to cut. While it’s not a physical pain, depression is an obstacle. I agree. prayer is an answer. Thank you again.

  19. Avatar
    Joan Donaldson April 26, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

    I am so sorry for your pain. Praying that God will wipe away your tears and pain so that you can relax in the beauty of the spring.

  20. Avatar
    Effie-Alean Gross April 26, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

    Thank you for the wise words and carefully selected Scripture. It’s good to read God’s promises so they come back to us when in pain or in any circumstance that requires healing. God bless you. I’m praying for your comfort and writing ministry.

  21. Avatar
    Sheri Dean Parmelee April 27, 2017 at 10:31 am #

    Karen, I pray for your strength and well being and the end of the pain.

  22. Avatar
    Joey Rudder April 27, 2017 at 11:18 am #

    Oh my, Karen. I’m so sorry you’re suffering. I’m praying for you…

  23. Avatar
    Lois Keffer April 27, 2017 at 12:18 pm #

    Oh, Karen. Bless you, sweetheart. I did miss your post last week.

    I don’t need to tell my whole story. Suffice it to say I suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in 2009 and learned the true meaning of pain. It threw me into a chronic pain cycle from which there is no exit, wiped out a chunk of my right frontal lobe and ushered in a fairly hermit-like existence. Every now and then I can charge into my story and pull off a five-page day, but most often I struggle through a few paragraphs.

    Your advice is right on. I so love the book of Job. God reminds of what I still can do—be a compassionate friend and listener, put my whole energy into reflecting Jesus’ love. I’m sure not the Mimi or wife or go-getter I used to be but I have complete trust that God allowed this to happen for his ultimate good. It is this trust that allows us to trudge along, doing what we can when we can.

    Needing to keep our family afloat I burned the candle at both ends until I broke. I am so blessed to have a family and groups of friends who understand and give constant support. I have never been in the hospital without leading someone closer to knowing Jesus Christ. So God’s strength truly is made perfect in my weakness!

    I believe God gave me the dreams for the trilogy that has long been in process. Yet its completion is not up to me. The Lord knows what he is doing. Marry chronic pain to brain damage and you have a combination that most folks can’t understand. In fact, within my family I’ve been labeled as lazy. My doc said to love people in their ignorance.

    It took a while to realize that my relationship to Jesus and reflecting his love to others is my MOST important responsibility. If the book comes to pass, it will be quite a gift.

    I love and pray for you, Karen, as well as others who share this crippling condition. All our hope is in the Lord and he is not unaware of what he allows us to bear. But, praise Jesus, he bears us it with us. And we never know how we may inadvertently bless others by being conduits of his love and mercy.

  24. Avatar
    Damon J. Gray May 2, 2017 at 10:15 am #

    Karen, you write the most beautiful, insightful, and uplifting blog posts. Time after time, you present some issue or struggle that has the potential to drag us into the quicksand of self-pity, but then you pull our focus off ourselves and put it back on God, where it should be.

    Over the years, my own prayers (as pathetic as they are) have morphed from “Please resolve this uncomfortable situation,” to “God, help me understand and glorify you in the midst of this mess.”

    Thanks again Karen. You’re a blessing.

  25. Avatar
    Henry Styron May 2, 2017 at 12:18 pm #

    I can’t add anything to the excellent advice and counsel that’s already been given, but thanks for sharing, and praying for you.

    And, to other commenters sharing their own struggles, I did take a moment reading through the replies to lift up quick words of prayer.

  26. Avatar
    carol nicolet loewen May 5, 2017 at 7:38 am #

    Thank you Karen, for these meaningful words and scriptures. I too deal with some chronic pain and know what it is to want to hide under the covers and feel sweet relief. I pray you will find relief from this onslaught and, as you remind us, hope in his presence and love.

  27. Avatar
    Mary-Anne Crooks May 25, 2017 at 4:15 am #

    Hugs and prayers sent your way Karen.

    It has been enlightening to read your blog and the scriptures you quoted are inspirational.

    As a Christian I have found at times I asked the question “why me?”, and believe me I asked several times when I was ill. Then a good Christian friend said to me “Why not you?”

    It is difficult to be ill when we are believing God for His promises of healing.

    I had cancer and an arterial bleed and I definitely wouldn’t want to ever face it again, but, as strange as it may sound, I wouldn’t change it. I felt God’s grace and love, His presence when I faced death from the bleed and the sacrificial love from His people like I’d never imagined.

    My prayer is that God’s incredible peace will descend on you and you will feel his wings of protection cover you – that you are healed totally.

    Thank you for sharing and your honesty.

    God bless x

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