Shannon's Poem

  • Aug. 11, 2017
  • #9205

Chronic pain cannot defeat us because God’s mercy and grace give strength to the weak.


Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I want to tell you about Shannon.

Shannon is a dear friend, and she lives with chronic pain; not a day goes by that Shannon is not dealing with constant, deep pain in her back and neck. But she is such an encouragement to me and to others who know her. Last winter, she wrote to tell me about one particularly difficult weekend. Her pastor husband was away leading a tour to Israel and a weary friend from the West Coast had unexpectedly come for a visit. It happened to be the same weekend a bad winter storm hit their region. Without her husband handy and the snow-blower not working, and with water trickling in on the first floor, Shannon had to put aside her pain. She donned her jacket and started shoveling 42 inches of snow. It was backbreaking work for anyone, but for her? It meant recuperating for weeks.

After her husband returned and the snow melted, and her friend went back home, Shannon was able to get some much-needed rest. And as she reflected on all that had happened and put it to prayer, the words of a poem began to take shape. When she sent it to me, I just knew I had to pass it on to you. You may be one who struggles with chronic pain, and if you do, listen to these inspiring words that a fellow sufferer has written for you. She wrote;

“Pain is the enemy that has no hands but a powerful grip.
He has no face but an angry countenance.
Pain has no voice but a scream that can be deafening.
Pain has no respect for the righteous and imposes himself on the weak.
Pain does not listen, it does not quit, it does not sleep.
But, pain’s grip is not stronger than God's embrace.
His countenance disappears in the light of Christ’s face.
His scream is easily muzzled by Gods whisper to my heart.
His disrespect brings glory to the righteous and God’s strength to the weak.
God bends down and listens, He never fails, and He never sleeps.
In all of pain’s arguments, God has a greater answer:
His grace is sufficient, His mercy is everlasting,
And His love is more than enough for me.”

Wow! What a powerful poem, and what I love about it is that it is real; it tells the truth. Pain does have a powerful grip. And its scream can be deafening. I don’t care what others say, I know for a fact that pain does not listen; it does not care; it does not quit, and it does not sleep. It is relentless! And of all the results of a broken, sin-sick world, pain might be one of the fiercest personal battles we face in a fallen world. Yet there is that word “but.” But pain’s grip is not stronger than God’s embrace. And in all of pain’s whining, complaining, and arguing, no matter how insistent its accusations, God has a greater answer. His grace is sufficient. His mercy is everlasting, and His love is more than enough for you.

I’ve offered this gift before, but it’s so popular, I’d like to offer it again. I want to give you my pamphlet “Pain and Providence.” It’s filled with real Christian encouragement for those who suffer with pain. Just go to and ask for your free copy of my booklet on pain. And while you’re there, download Shannon’s poem. It’s something to reach for the same time you reach for your Tylenol arthritis strength formula because God’s embrace is greater than pain’s grip. Thanks for listening today on Joni and Friends.

© Joni and Friends


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