The last few days have been particularly painful. During these times, I try to remember that I am not alone in the experience of extreme pain. I often turn to the psalms of David, who also (apparently) had arthritis. His psalms are peppered with references to it.
Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint;
O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony.
– Psalm 6:2
My back is filled with searing pain;
there is no health in my body.
I am feeble and utterly crushed;
I groan in anguish of heart.
– Psalm 38:7-8
David’s relationship with his pain is a recurrent theme in the Psalms. He sometimes viewed his pain as a punishment for sin, primarily his relationship with Bathsheba and his involvement with the death of her first husband. He sometimes viewed his physical pain as part of his political and family struggles. (I imagine the pain of arthritis was worse when his son tried to overthrow him, worse when he fled certain death to hide in a cave.) David also viewed his pain as a metaphor for the broader struggle of the people and nation of Israel.
Despite the pain, David usually ended each psalm with praise for a God who listened to his cries for help. I need to remember that. It’s comforting to know that others feel your pain, but even more comforting to experience their sense of hope.
I don’t know what else to say than: Amen.