Learning To Live With “Thorns in the Flesh”

Joni Eareckson Tada, who has known her share of pain- physical and emotional- shares this poem by Miss Margaret Clarkson, a woman who was bedridden for years with chronic pain:


Lord Jesus, King of pain,

Thy subject I; Thy right it is to reign:

Oh, hear my cry, and bid in me all longings cease;

save for Thy holy will’s increase.

Thy right it is to reign O’er all Thine own;

then, if Thy love send pain,

find there Thy throne,

and help me bear it unto Thee,

who didst bear death and hell for me.

Lord Jesus, King of pain, my heart’s adored,

teach me eternal gain is love’s reward:

in Thee I hide me; hold me still

till pain work all Thy perfect will.


And this prayer:   When I struggle with pain, dear Lord, teach me to wait on Thee and remember the example of Jesus, the King of Pain.


This past week I have been nursing a knee that seems wonky.   I can’t recall any particular trauma to it, but it is definitely demanding to be treated with care. My sister has suffered with severe arthritis in her left knee for several years to the extent that the doctor is talking about a total knee replacement.  This coming week she is getting an anti-inflammatory injection into the knee to quell the pain.  Such scenarios become more and more common with age.  Many of us have taken good health and freedom from pain for granted until we find ourselves with a new painful malady.  Then we do all that we can to remedy the condition, be free from the pain, and eventually, if irremediable, attempt measures to minimize it and learn to live with it.

A 30-something friend of mine has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and it appears to have been at work in her body for at least a decade or longer.  Now the symptoms can no longer be ignored.  She is being treated by a neurologist and, at his strong urging, applying for disability, as it is becoming clear she will have to make some accommodations for her diagnosis.  Yesterday she told me she had been researching MS and has come to the conclusion that it’s more a matter of learning to live with and accommodate one’s symptoms.  She is already adapting her lifestyle to some of the symptomatic consequences.

Cherish your good health.  And when it declines, seek the Lord’s help in coping with it.  He knows the pains we endure and will help us with them.