suffering

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I’ve started to write this post a hundred times. Today I’m finally finishing it.

My son was born in April of 2016. It did not go well and things were scary towards the end, but he was born alive. His cries were the sweetest sound I’d ever heard. I was hurt very badly. (I did not have a c-section. Everyone asks that. It is in fact possible to have a baby without a c-section and still need emergency surgery. Who knew??)

The precise details of what happened to me are not important. This story is not really about me. It’s about Jesus, and how I found hope in Him.

The days passed. The pain was excruciating. I could not sit down for the first month. I told myself that this was normal. After all, six weeks of maternity leave is standard. No one at the hospital said that my recovery would be any different from anyone else.

Six weeks passed and the pain continued. Maybe I’ll just need eight weeks, I thought. Some people who have c-sections say it’s more like eight weeks. I did have surgery. Maybe it’ll just be more like that.

Eight weeks passed. Twelve weeks. Sixteen. All through those sixteen weeks, my baby cried. They told me he had colic. It only added to my growing sense of failure.

When my son was 4 months old, a lactation consultant who was otherwise completely unhelpful and insulting made a passing comment about how it would take a year to recover from the type of complication I had.

Every month that passed brought new discouragement as I, the healthy 21 year old, continued to live with chronic pain. I carefully calculated how long I could sit per day. There would be no snuggling with my sleeping baby in the rocking chair for hours, as I had imagined when I was pregnant. I tried to tough it out, but I just couldn’t. It hurt too much.

Mondays were the worst. I would sit through Sunday school, a morning service, and an evening service on Sundays. I paid the price on Mondays. I went to everything because I thought it was the right thing to do.

Why am I suffering so much from doing the right thing? I wondered. It didn’t seem fair.

After six months of this, I reached my breaking point. I felt the Lord say “Laura, do you trust me?”

I ignored the question for weeks. Then I finally decided that I didn’t need to hide what I was thinking from God. He knows everything anyway.

No, Lord. I really don’t. I don’t trust you. I did all the right things and made good and moral choices and this is how You repay me.

That’s awful. I know it’s awful now, and I knew it was awful then. But being honest with God about it was the first step towards healing spiritually.

Christianity doesn’t guarantee an easy life.

This is the question: Are you using God to get something from Him? Or is God Himself the goal of your striving? – Matt Chandler, To Live is Christ to Die is Gain

When I first read that quote from, it hit me hard. That IS the question! Am I a Christian because I think I’ll get more perks and have an easier life if I do the right thing? I certainly shouldn’t be!

Think of Paul, who was perhaps one of the greatest Christians who ever lived.

Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.  I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren;  I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. – 2 Corinthians 11:24-27

Does that sound like someone who followed God because it made his life more comfortable? Certainly not! This concept of only serving God because it makes things easier slips in subconsciously at first, but it is toxic. Nowhere in the Bible does God make the claim that bad things only happen if the person deserves it.

We don’t always know why things happen.

I wish I could tell you that I have arrived, that I am so thankful to have started living with chronic pain at the age of 21, and that I completely understand why this happened to me. Those things would be lies.

What I have learned though, is that we have to believe that there is a larger story at work here that we may never know this side of eternity. I will have questions when I get to heaven, and I think that’s okay.

As I write this, it is April 2017. While the pain has dulled somewhat, it is still there. Sometimes my friends will ask me if I’m going to get better. Honestly, I don’t know. I still hope so, but I just really don’t know.

But I’m no longer placing my ultimate hope in a pain free existence.

Too often, my hope is in my ever-changing circumstances. I say things like, ‘I really need the baby to take his nap this morning,’ which is a fine thing to say and a fine thing to look forward to. But if, come lunchtime, the nap hasn’t happened, and I’m so emotionally wasted by it that it ruins my afternoon, then I’ve probably put more faith in that nap than in the never-changing circumstances of the gospel. – Gloria Furman, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full

My hope is not in getting better, it is in the knowledge that I’ve been saved from the depths of hell by a Savior who loves me. It is the knowledge that I will be in heaven someday.

Sometimes God doesn’t fix it, at least not to my human standards. But He is there. And He is good.

28 comments on “When God Doesn’t Fix It”

  1. Sweet Laura, this is probably the most beautiful thing I have ever read! My health situation does not involve the same circumstances, but I am in the same boat as you and can completely relate. Why is this happening? I finally came to a place where I accepted that God knew best and was doing His perfect work in me. Do I still struggle to believe that some days? Absolutely. But I know that I am His Bride and He is preparing me to meet His Father one day. If this is what it takes for me to be His vessel on Earth and His Bride in Heaven, then I will gracefully accept what comes. Just never lose sight of the fact that you are not taking this journey alone. That brings me the greatest comfort!

  2. Laura, you are so right! God never promised us comfort and peace here. He did say we would suffer! This is a truth that so many need to know and hear! I can see that God is growing you in so many ways. That is the comfort and peace that you are receiving! I love your honesty and willingness to share your story with us! Bless you sweet sister!

  3. Laura, oh wow you went through a lot! What’s amazing is that you’ve chosen to allow God to work through your pain instead of allowing it to consumer you. He is probably using your story to help many other women going through something similar.

  4. Hi Laura. I actually wasn’t sure if I was going to read this post because of the title but decided to any ways. And I am very glad I did.

    I want to share something with you, about two years ago I began to have anxiety, fear of death, illness, and many more things. As time went on, I could barely function. I saw a therapist and was diagnosed with PTSD from traumatic events in my life.

    A few things people don’t know is that I tried to fully seek God in my darkest moments. I went to a Christian therapist who helped me work through my issues with god rather than just words.

    He introduced me to a book called ” Finding Victory When healing Doesnt Happen” by Randy Clark and Craig Miller. This book says it all. It explains the downfalls we face when we aren’t healed or when we feel like God just won’t fix it.

    But Laura, there is hope. Faith is stronger than you could ever image. Please, read this book.

    It will change your life. And also, email me. I would loveeee to explain more as to why I know God will “fix” it. And why? Because he loves you and wants you healthy!

    Xoxo

  5. Your post has my eyes tearing up. I don’t know you but this post is so raw and real that in some way, I feel like I do. You have been through a lot and you are such a strong woman; physically, emotionally and spiritually. I pray that the pain gets better for you but also that you never loose your perspective.

  6. Wow I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you to put this into words. But as someone who knows others suffering from chronic pain, this is certainly Gods truth you speak! THank you!

  7. Also, I just wanted to say that you are so very right in your attitude towards all this. Sometimes, God is most glorified and more good comes when we are not healed. Paul’s very circumstances show us this. We see it throughout scripture that the people of God were often weak, poor,ect, but God used them for great things anyway. I get so sick of hearing Christians believe that God wants them healthy all the time. If he chooses to heal them, then it’s for His glory, but if He chooses not to, even though we might not like His decision, it’s still just as much for His glory. Praise God for you seeing that in your own life.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your growing experience with us!! It encourages me to hear of others walking through their trials, with their eyes fixed on Christ, and with their hope in glory.

  9. This was a heart-wrenching post for me to read. I don’t suffer from health problems and had no complications at the birth of my three children, but I struggle all the same. Last August, my sister-in-law died within 5 days of a cancer diagnosis. I know that we aren’t the only one to lose a loved one to cancer, but it’s been so hard to understand. I was told very shortly afterward that we don’t always know why and I do believe that, but sometimes I STILL want to know “why.” So, yes, I’ve grown to recognize that my walk with God can’t be about what I can get out of him, but more about loving and serving him no matter what.

    • Wow, that is so sudden. I have lost both of my grandfathers to cancer, one more suddenly than the other. The unpreparedness added to the grief for me. I am so sorry you are struggling. I think it’s normal to struggle with these issues. Sending prayers. <3

  10. I am so sorry for your own pain, Laura! Through the hurts, I am so glad to see you still honoring God with your life and the story He has given you. I have gone through my own pain and multiple trials in my twenties that has lasted longer than a season. But as you mentioned, God certainly didn’t promise us an easy life, at least not here on the fallen earth. If nothing else, I think those who experience more pain here on earth gratefully look forward to our resurrected bodies on the new heaven and new earth all the more.

    Thank you once again for sharing your story- it was very well written and insightful. I pinned it to my “Faith Through Chronic Illness” group board on Pinterest.

  11. Laura, I felt for you when I read your post. It made me think back to when we were in our car accident hours before my son’s delivery and then the long period of the unknown future. Our family (including my unsaved husband) were on the way to a church event. An elder in my church was bewildered that something like this could actually happen when I was doing the right thing. In the months after the accident, I found myself bristling whenever someone would pat my hand and say “I’m sure everything will be okay”. I’d smile, but I really wanted to yell, “You have no idea how things will turn out!” I’ve come to realize that it is easier to make platitudes that to be silent. And if they had said that things might go very badly, I can’t say I’d have liked that either. I haven’t been in your position. I won’t try to predict your future, all I can offer is that God is there and has promised to be with you every step of the way. I also have a book suggestion (if you can find the time) – “Chronic Pain: Finding Hope in the Midst of Suffering” by Rob Prince. My parents have met him personally and attested to his faith in spite of his circumstances. Still praying for you!

  12. Hey Laura. This is beautiful. I was relieved to know that now the pain is better. You are ministering by your writing. I hope one day you will be pain free but as you perfectly explain. God knows the whole story.

    Your post is very encouraging.

  13. I read with tears. Thanks for your honesty and willingness to share. You have inspired me more than you know I do not suffer from chronic physical pain but from a heart ache I know only God can heal. May God continue to hold you up on this journey…Je us faithful to complete it. I will pray with you. Blessings ❤

    • Lureta, I’m so glad I was able to bless you. Psalm 34:18 says that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted. I pray you will feel His presence.

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