Ever since I was a kid, I have struggled with severe migraines, sometimes accompanied by stomach aches. I can remember taking over-the-counter medication several times a month while I was in middle school to relieve myself of the symptoms. In high school, it turned into several taking them several times a week. Now, in my twenties, my migraines sometimes last non-stop for weeks on end - oftentimes becoming debilitating. And no OTC medicines work. Sometimes, my pain becomes unbearable. That's when I lie in my bed, cry an pray, and wonder why I am dealing with so much pain on such a regular basis. I have tried many different treatments, diets, and supplements, but I have yet to find something that relieves me of these debilitating headaches.
I am not writing this to gain sympathy. Far from it actually. Rather, I want to encourage those who are struggling with the same things that I am. I truly understand living in pain, and have for most of my life.
But through it, I have learned about God. I have learned that He never leaves me. I have learned that He gets me through some very hard things, and I've learned that He has a reason for everything, even if we may not like it.
Here are some truths I have been clinging to and learning through all the pain I have been experiencing recently:
1. God did not cause pain
We can't blame God for something that He never chose or wanted in His creation. When sin entered into the world through one man, pain, death, sickness, and every other evil thing came along with it. God had never created those kinds of things into the design of the universe. We created them, not God. Thus, pain is not God's fault, but ultimately ours.
We also have to remember that there is an evil entity out there that enjoys spreading pain, lies, hurt, and untruths about God. Paul says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." - Ephesians 6:12. Paul is clear in this verse that when we struggle in this life, we are struggling against rulers of evil (also known as Satan and his demons.)
Ultimately, there are three things that cause pain: sin, evil forces, and our own flesh. But never God.
2. God can see the whole picture
It's easy to blame God for every terrible thing that ever happens to us. After all, He's All-Powerful isn't He? Well, yes. But that doesn't mean He has to do anything for us at all. He's God.
However, God is loving and merciful. It says in Scripture that He enjoys giving gifts to His children. He enjoys freeing us from pain, giving us life, enjoyment, and happiness. But that doesn't mean He always will. Sometimes, He allows us to not get what we want because He knows that it wouldn't be good for us because He can see the whole picture. He knows all about you and your personality. He knows if something will be better for you, even if it is causing you pain in the moment.
In Lysa Terkhurst's book, "It's Not Supposed to be This Way," Lysa talks about a terrible, excruciating experience she went through in the ER. For six days, her stomach was separating from her other organs. She was in so much pain that even morphine wasn't working. For six days she lied there, praying for relief from the horrid pain. It took the doctors far too long to figure out the problem. Finally, they did, and they put her in immediate surgery, fixing the issue.
She recalled later in the book that if God had given her what she wanted - relieving her of her pain - she would have been released from the hospital. She would have gone home, and gone septic, and died. She needed that pain in order for the doctors to figure out what was wrong. In fact, God was being loving by