Ache is Not Equal

Following another prompt challenge this week to keep my thoughts flowing and try to be more consistent in posting.

I’m a couple days behind on this one hosted by @meredith_mcdaniel, but the Lord has insisted I do NOT overlook or scoot by this first one: ACHE.

First off in my head is this—ACHE does not equal pain. Let’s unpack a bit of that thought with the following quote leading the way.

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”  ― C.S. Lewis

A dear friend of mine messaged me this morning and mentioned a couple of different directions I could travel with “ache” as my prompt. She noted both my physical aches as well as that perspective of my heart ache.

Using the Lewis quote above, I experience God using the daily ache of my body, driven by a 2001 diagnosis of fibromyalgia, to remind me how dependent I am on Him just to swing my legs over the edge of the bed on any given morning.

Aching is a way of life for me, with a host of aches a possibility each dawning of a new day. God isn’t whispering through a pleasurable experience in this way, but it isn’t the shout of pain every single morning either. I gingerly touch my feet, riddled with plantar fasciitis, to the floor and suck in my breath as they shuffle to their first destination, usually to the bathroom and immediately following to the coffee pot.

This is inconvenient, but unless it is out of control I keep moving without any extra pain relief. This is ache NOT pain. I stretch. I adjust my gait. I wait for the stiffness brought on by a night’s sleep to ease and for those joints and muscles to warm up and loosen.

Ache keeps me attentive. Ache reminds me I am alive and dependent. Ache can sometimes be described as “dull”. I can often ignore ache and basically tell him to take a hike when he is getting in the way of me actually taking my own hike. I can function and do so daily with the constant presence of ache.

Rarely does physical ache keep me in my bed. I have a whole virtual bag of goodies to keep ache at bay and from intruding too far into my plans for the day. Most people who meet me would rarely recognize I’m being accompanied everywhere I go with my ever present companion of ache.

I don’t draw attention to him. Instead, I often have private, hushed conversations with him in a public restroom or some other quiet spot where I can give him “what for”. I then instruct him to keep himself hidden so no one knows he’s planning to crash another party or try to keep me from climbing another set of stairs or steep hill in the neighborhood where I want to stroll at work.

Pain is another character altogether. As Lewis mentioned, “pain insists on being attended to.”  Pain is insistent — just like a four-year-old who is asking you “why” for the 300th time before 10 am.

Pain is LOUD, impatient, and seemingly endless when it has its strangulating hold on you, whether it be physical or emotional pain. Pain has tentacle upon tentacles.  I see pain almost like an entire lake teeming with octopuses. Imagine all those tentacles tangled. You have no idea where one creature begins or ends, but you know each one represents excruciating feelings soaring in intensity through your body or your heart.

I have been in both kinds of pain, as I’m sure many of you have as well. If you are more than a few hours old, your have experienced pain. As much as it is, as Lewis said, “his megaphones to rouse a deaf world”, I am pretty sure it is His gift to us, too. Pain, in its insistence has the power to drive us headlong into the arms of Jesus if we let it.

That has not always been my response to pain, but I am learning day by day. I am learning as I allow Him to bear my pain, carry my burden, and comfort me as only He can; I receive His mercy and grace in those times of deepest need.

So I do experience aches on a daily basis, both physical ache and a heartache that has dulled over the years. He leaves me with the ache, however, I believe, to remind me it happened. He is in control of my complete healing and its timing.

I may not find the ache lift this side of heaven.

I’m becoming more and more okay with that. This is far from my whole story (stay tuned for the next prompt).

I do know my Jesus knows best what I need. While the ache remains, He has gently taken away the sharp pains of heartbreak that threatened to slice me down the middle at one point. He guides me through the steps of healing and promises to one day make me whole.

The heartache still stops me in my tracks some days, but He is the lover of my soul — carrying me when I find the path too steep.

Lean into Him, my friend. No matter what ache or pain you currently wear; Jesus can handle all of it. He wants to ease your burden and lighten your load.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭ESV‬‬

He is with you in your ache, even if it never fully disappears. Allow Him to walk this path ahead of you. There is rest to be found in and from Him.

Leaving a trail of beauty ~



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