Several years ago, I dealt with a health issue that caused me to have chronic pain. You couldn’t see the issue, but I could feel it 24 hours a day 7 days a week. It was awful. I’ve never experienced pain that debilitating in my life. To give you a frame of reference, I’d choose childbirth over this pain any day. I lived like this for 3 years without relief.
In my daily prayer life, I would beg the Lord to heal me. Day after day this was my prayer. About 2 years into my journey with chronic pain, I felt the Lord ask me, “If I never heal you, am I still enough for you?”
This question stopped me right in my tracks. I immediately started to cry. I decided at that moment that I would say YES to the Lord. That God would be enough for me, even if I lived with chronic pain for the rest of my life.
One scripture that I clung to during this season was Psalm 16:11, You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
The context of Psalm 16 is a situation where the psalmist, David, is, or has recently been, in some kind of peril, but has taken rest in the Lord. David knows where his security lies, and he finds refuge and peace in God.
David hasn’t discovered the way of life for himself. This was not something he figured out, rather it was revealed to him by God. David could not correct his behavior and live a God-pleasing life on his own, and the same is true for us. We need the Holy Spirit to fill us in order that we may live a righteous life that pleases God.
The “fullness of joy,” means a joy that completely satisfies. David shares with us that this joy is only found in the presence of God. This joy is not mere happiness, like when you get a pay raise, or a gift from your spouse on your birthday. This is a deep joy that brings a sense of contentment to the soul that nothing else in the world is able to give.
When the Lord asked me that question, God was reminding me that the security and blessing we find in him transcends our circumstances. We find rest and refuge in the Lord while we go through the trials of any kind in this life. Even in the midst of pain, we may still experience joy simply because of who God is.