Joni and Friends Blog
Cup of Anguish
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a beautiful poem from a good friend.
And I’m a big fan of good poetry, especially poems that have been written in the furnace of affliction. I have a friend like that. Her name is Lisa Marie and honestly, she is such an inspiration to me. When Lisa was around 12 or 13 years old, she started suffering from unusual achiness in her joints; she was always seemed tired and listless. Her parents took her to one doctor after the next, but they never got a clear diagnosis. The achiness and tiredness turned into exacerbating pain, and an overwhelming weariness. Brain fog and super-sensitivity to light and sound eventually drove her indoors when she would spend long periods in bed. Finally, it was determined that Lisa Marie was dealing with an unusual form of Lyme’s disease, among other autoimmune disorders.
But as her body declined, her heart inclined to God. Her young faith took a beating, but her disease could not defeat her. At the age of 20, Lisa Marie became bedridden. It’s not what any young girl would want, and Lisa Marie kept praying and hoping that things would get better; that they would come up with a treatment for this strange Lyme’s disease gone crazy that relegated her to one room in her house, and a dark room at that, given her sensitivity to light.
Get this – that was 20 years ago. And now Lisa Marie is more than 40 years old and she is still in the same situation, living daily with pain that most medications just can’t reach. Yes, and she is still in her bedroom, spending most of her time in the dark. Lisa Marie wears sunglasses when she works on her computer and so this valiant woman is able to write inspirational poems and she posts them on our private pain pal page. Not only that, she prays regularly for each of us in our pain, interceding with great empathy and bolstering our spirits with comforting scriptures. She wrote a poem recently that touched me so much—touched all the “Pals”; I just had to read it for you. She calls it “Cup of Anguish.” And it goes:
“Sometimes it all seems too much, This overflowing anguished cup. I say, “I can’t. I’m not this tough.” But then I see upon that tree, The Man of Sorrows slain for me – Unshakable even to death. And though my strength has nothing left, I feel a deep, steadying Breath. For a sacrifice so infinite, May my gratitude be evident. In Your strength, I know I can. So, precious Lord, with all I am. I surrender to Your perfect plan.”
Right underneath her poem, Lisa Marie wrote Psalm 119, verse 143, “Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me; yet Your commandments are my delights.” Well, I think you can tell Lisa finds the Word of God her biggest delight; it’s what sustains her day in and day out as she lies on her bed.
Hebrews tells us to encourage one another daily, and that’s what I hope Lisa’s story has done for you. If you are troubled and you feel as though anguish has taken over, remember the power and protection, even the delight that is found in the word of God. Because if the Bible, as well as God’s grace, can sustain Lisa Marie, on her bed for some 20 years, He can be your help. By the way, if you’d like a copy of Lisa Marie’s poem called “Cup of Anguish,” just download it off of my radio page at joniradio.org. Or for a hard copy, write to Joni and Friends, P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills California, 91376. God bless you today and thanks for listening at Joni and Friends.