UPDATE: In her book, “Suffering Redeemed: Finding Strength to Endure, Purpose in Pain and Hope for Tomorrow,” Karis shares parts of her journey with chronic illness while processing different aspects of suffering such as: intimacy with God in affliction, living in the already, not yet of God’s kingdom, peaceful expectation of surrender and faith, purposes in suffering, unexpected gifts in our pain, learning to suffer well, and much more. She offers practical applications from Scripture and strategies to keep going when life feels too hard. Karis invites her readers to process their suffering with her as she fights for faith and clings to hope that only God can bring. You can purchase her book on Amazon, or get more information and supplemental materials from her website: karismeier.com/
Have you ever been in a situation where it seemed like God was using affliction to draw you to Him? Or maybe you’re in that situation now. How do you respond in those circumstances? In the face of a chronic illness that seems to have no end, Karis Meier chooses to respond in this way—give thanks.
In this episode, Karis is joined by her husband, LTC Ben Meier, USA, and throughout my conversation with them, you’ll hear at least three themes in their story:
First, marriage. Both Karis and Ben talk about the difficult aspects of marriage that often come along with the commitment to that marriage.
Second, patience in suffering. Karis talks about contentment and endurance as she daily battles a disease and continually asks for healing. And Ben shares how not being able to help Karis with her physical health has taught him to be more compassionate.
And third, sustainability. As a couple and as individuals, Karis and Ben talk about practical applications that have helped them on their marriage journey.
Click here to visit Karis’ blog, Suffering Well.
As you listen to their story of military life at the intersection of faith, family, and profession, here are 4 questions to reflect on:
- Seasons of change can often be difficult to adjust to. Karis talked about not only the change that comes from being newly married, but also the “new culture” of military that she had to get adjusted to and the start of what has been a mysterious illness. God brought Psalm 121:1 to her mind (“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?” ESV). What verses of Scripture have helped you during difficult seasons of change?
- Ben said that his 15-deployment to Iraq and Karis’s multiple health struggles were “opportunities” God used to grow their marriage, “to force us to learn to communicate in ways that we weren’t doing well,” and it was an experience “brought us to our knees and to each other.” Why is it so hard to communicate with others, especially spouses or family? What factors play into the difference between really communicating as opposed to a he-said-she-said dialogue?
- Read 2 Corinthians 1:8-9. Have you ever experienced a health issue or life challenge that has rendered you feeling burdened beyond strength, even despairing of life itself? Why do you think that even then, the tendency of humans is to rely upon ourselves, to find satisfaction in things other than God? What does that say about us in our walk of faith as Christians?
- Prayer and worship together, developing a key support system around them, and a 10-minute couch time to connect. Karis and Ben talked about specific and practical ways they’ve incorporated these disciplines into their marriage and family to help navigate the challenges stemming from Karis’ ongoing health issues and Ben’s career challenges as an officer in the Army. What are some of the ways that trusting in God makes it possible to confront the problems of life? Or does it? If not, what do you rely on instead?