“How do you live with pain all the time?” This is the question that was recently voiced to me and has been asked in many different forms and variations over the years, and I usually brush it off with my typical, it’s no big deal, I can handle it, it’s a blessing in disguise. But all night I couldn’t stop thinking about my answer. This is what I wanted to say.
Pain sucks. Being in pain 24/7 is exhausting, mentally and physically exhausting. You literally get to the point on some days where you are functioning on auto pilot and at the end of the day you have gaps of time you don’t even remember. Something as simple as putting together a complete sentence is too overwhelming so you just stay silent because it’s easier. If you do try to talk complicated words (like bird) elude you and you find yourself trying to come up with alternate words or sounds or actions just to try to finish a sentence. I remember one time I had to call my husband to come to the grocery store because my cart was too full and I couldn’t push it anymore and the idea of trying to get everything out of the cart on to the conveyer belt and back into the cart and out to the car seemed impossible. He showed up at the store and called me to see what aisle I was in. I looked up at the aisle marker and couldn’t make my mouth say aisle six. I saw that it said baking items and couldn’t even say that…I stammered and stuttered for what felt like forever and finally got “flour” out. Pure exhaustion. Then there’s the emotional side of pain. Watching your kids eyes fill with fear when they see you in bed again in the middle of the day. Or the sadness when they realize your going to miss yet another softball game or family outing. Or when your husband needs his wife but there is literally nothing left except a hollow shell of who she once was.
But even worse than that is the spiritual exhaustion. You see my family and I prayed, begged God for healing. We prayed for over 5 years for His healing touch to remove the pain from my life. All we heard was silence. We heard silence because we were looking for physical healing and He was answering our prayers in a much larger way. When all you hear is silence you start doubting that He is really listening. Does He even care? Maybe I don’t have enough faith, or maybe there’s some hidden sin in my life. Watching Daniel question and doubt his faith was horrible. Between us he was always the one with the stronger faith. And now because I wasn’t getting healed, because my body wouldn’t respond to medicine, because of me he was walking through a dry and lonely dessert and there was nothing I could do.
Each time in my life when something bad happened I’d question and yell at God. After all if He’s all powerful, and all knowing, He should have been able to stop all these horrible things. My abusive childhood, my numerous health issues, my brother’s suicide, my daughter being abused, my son getting my generic disorder. I would rant and rave and fight Him each and everyone of these instances and then fall into a reluctant obedience.
After I found out I was going to have to have my spine fused I was driving to work and the song “Even If’ came on by Mercy Me. It was one of my favorites and as I sang the words “I know the sorrow I know the hurt could all go away if you just say the word,” I found I was saying it in anger and accusing God of not stepping in. At that moment there was that voice, “I either am who I say I am or I’m not. You need to decide.” Then I heard the rest of the chorus “But even if you don’t, my hope is you alone.” This song is based of a verse in Daniel 3:17-18, “If that is the case (they get thrown in the fire) our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But even if He doesn’t let if be known to you, O king, That we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” I could feel the “Even if……?” hanging in the air that day in my car and my mind started reeling. Even if my son has EDS, even if my daughter is abused, even if….would I still trust Him? I felt like He was asking me to surrender all my worst case scenarios and stop fighting and doubting Him each time something bad happened in my life. “Will you trust Me in all of life’s even if moments?”
That was a turning point in my walk with Him. I answered yes, even if…..I will choose to trust Him because He is who He says He is regardless of what is happening in my life. It’s made a huge difference in my life. There are times I still struggle with His answers but I find these two small words creeping into my heart. Even If……
I stated that God was answering our prayers in a much larger way. Here’s what I meant by that.
After I chose to trust God I started seeing that He truly had been healing me slowly over the years of pain. He was healing me emotionally by showing me that people loved me even when I truly had nothing to give. He was healing me mentally by showing me that even when the body is weak and I can’t physically be there for people that I can still listen and be a shoulder to cry on. And most importantly He was healing me spiritually, He was showing me that through all the times in my life that I felt like He wasn’t there, that He was crying right along with me and feeling all the pain, and heartache that I was. He was healing my view of my marriage, and showing me that my husband’s love was truly for me and not what I could do or be for him. He was healing my relationship with my daughter, showing me that He is enough for her and that I can’t be her savior. He was working miracles in my son to bring him closer to Himself, and to reveal His love for him. He was showing Himself faithful to my husband in the desert, showing him that he could question and doubt and that He would remain true. He was removing my burden of having to be everything to everyone and instead to trust Him with my loved ones because He loves them even more than I do. This life is not all about the here and now but about readying our soul for what is to come. Also, God has been faithful and provided some reprieve from the physical pain, but that’s another story for another time. So to wrap up this very long answer to a very simple question. Pain sucks but in my life it has truly been a blessing.