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This Week at St Mary’s

Living with a Chronic Condition

 “The seemingly insurmountable challenge can be demoralising, scary, isolating and frustrating”. So describes one chronic illness sufferer of what it feels like. The list is long – from ME, PTSD to a range of physical, emotional and mental conditions. Many who have a chronic illness are incredibly resilient, but that does not alter the daily limitations which the condition brings. One friend said to me, ‘You’ve got to understand that if I walk more than 100 metres, I am taken out for the next 3 days’. 

There is an example of this in the Gospels, a woman with chronic gynaecological problems which had gone on for 12 years. She is at the point of desperation, the medics having made things worse and cost her a fortune. The story describes an ‘exchange of energy’. As she touches the hem of Jesus’ garment, she knows she is healed when she feels energy enter. Jesus says energy has left him – and he asks the beneficiary to declare him or herself, which she does, in fear and trembling, and is told ‘her faith has made her well’. 

 If desperation to be free of a chronic condition, be it an illness, a relationship someone feels trapped in or an addiction which leads to someone crying out to God for help, that can often be a turning point. The idea of an exchange of energy is central to being a Christian. At the Cross, the One with all power was willing to give it away so that you and I can have the energy and life we so desperately need to live for Christ. It’s all about receiving the energy. 

The story of the woman has more than a hint that it’s speaking to baptised people. We’ve not just touched a hem, but we are ‘clothed with Christ’. We are all given ‘energy’ to go as peace bearers, following where He leads and serving as He bids. 

Tom Gillum

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