As I sit here, type the words I haven’t been able to get out for a month, I look out my window only see it pouring rain outside. Which is fitting since I’ve been pretty sad lately and I can’t help but hope the raindrops are really just Jesus crying along with me. At least that’s what I’d like to think.
As some of you may know, I have a chronic illness called Ulcerative Colitis and with that came Colitis’ good friends Auto-Immune Hepatitis and Sclerosing Cholangitis. They’re buddies apparently and lately they’ve been causing quite the ruckus in my colon. The past couple of months I’ve been really sick. The pain has been so intense. I can’t go places or being with friends out of fear of what might happen. I’ve been late to work on more than one account and have had to miss more days than is probably acceptable.
I spend a lot of my time crying now days, as you can probably imagine. I cry out of fear of what’s going to happen to my body. I cry every time I have to say no to my friends because sickness keeps me from hanging out. I cry because of the countless medications and doctor calls/visits I’ve had to deal with the past few weeks. I cry because this disease is an inconvenient annoyance. I cry because I honestly thought this was over. I cry out to God for a lot of reasons.
But you want to know what gets me the most?
God sees me, lying on the couch with my head buried in the cushions, crying from the endless pain and problems. And He still hasn’t healed me.
That’s what get’s me.
Because I know for a fact that God can and does heal all people and His son Jesus is the proof. Jesus healed blind men, dead men, lame men, and sick men. He’s healed broken hearts, broken dreams, and broken homes. He died for us to be free from sickness. He endured torture, took every whip, and stayed on the cross so that we would have victory through Jesus.
So where’s my victory? How does this work? I mean, you do see me laying here in pain, right God?
I’ll never understand why He has allowed this to happen to me. I don’t know why He hasn’t healed me yet when I know He can. People have been asking God why for years, especially when it comes to health, and I’m here to say..I don’t know.
But here’s what I do know.
God has been faithful to me during this time. He has extended grace to me in ways that I didn’t always notice right away. I’ve been learning what it means to step out in faith and not give in to fear. And I’ve been blessed with an amazing support group of friends, family, and brothers/sisters in Christ all over the world. It is becoming more and more obvious to me now that God is working in my life.
How have I seen God work?
I had a writer’s weekend in Atlanta, Georgia about a month ago during a prime flare-up time. I was feeling miserably sick and because of that, I wrestled with not going. Two days before, despite the pain, the fear and the uncontrollable situations, I made the decision to go no matter what. And I tell ya, Satan was fighting me all the way up to my 6am flight. I remember praying in my car the whole way to the airport. With tears in my eyes, I said “God I trust you because that’s the only thing I’ve got at this point. I cannot control anything that happens because I have no idea what to even expect. I have no way of knowing if my stomach will be alright. But you do. And you’re all I’ve got. Take care of me Lord because I can’t do this on my own”. Man, it still amazes me how God provided for me and protected me the whole time I was down there. I had no problems and all the things I was worried about seemed to fade away. He took care of everything.
This may be a small one, but God blessed me with a great memorial weekend. I was able to swing in the rain on Memorial Day with one of my good college friends, acting like we’re 12-year-olds with no care in the world. It was one of those rare moments that was unexpected, spontaneous and completely freeing. During that 20-minute downpour, I forgot I was in any pain.
I’ve had some social events the past couple of weeks that I really wanted to attend, but wasn’t sure if I could do it. The stress and fear was too much. But God gave me the strength to go, protected me the whole time, and I had some of the best moments of my life. I’ve been more open with my friends about what I’m dealing with. I’ve actually been able to say “I just need you to know I’m not alright” and they have been such a strong support group for me. I couldn’t do this without a community of believers praying for me, supporting me, and urging me to take steps in faith and not fear.
Most of all, I see myself taking more steps in faith than taking steps back. God sees the chain of fear wrapped around my neck, hands and feet, and he is breaking those chains by breaking me, showing me what real trust looks like and how desperately I need Him everyday. I’d still be living my life in prideful I’ll-do-this-myself, controlling, fear, had it not been for His love through this difficult time.
Here’s what I’ve been able to take away from everything
- God has a reason and a time for everything – if it hasn’t worked out, it’s not over yet.
- God always comes through for us. It might not be the way we expect or when we want it, but He does.
- God doesn’t promise a smooth road, but He promises to be there right beside you the whole time.
- God gives us grace to get through the hard times. Your life can be ruined by fear, but making the choice to trust God despite the fear makes you an overcomer. When we are weak, that’s when He is strong.
- Sometimes you got to stop asking “why”, give it over to God, and just keep on living. Persisting in faith, even when you can’t feel God, hear God, or understand God; that’s your biggest weapon against the enemy.
- He will deliver us from the pain. Victory is yours because of what Jesus did. Claim that victory.
I believe God has been working on me, chipping away at the things that keep me from being fully surrendered to Him. And even though it’s been painful and times have been tough, I’m able to look back and see how he has provided for me. I’m able to put the pieces of the puzzle together, seeing how God is getting rid of the junk and using my pain for His glory. He is making me stronger and causing me to rely more fully on Him and not my own strength. Because of this, I now find joy in the midst of this pain. I don’t always understand, and I don’t know when it will end, but I’m trusting the One who has come through for me before and I’m confident He’ll do it again.