I never planned on writing a piece like this. By God's grace, these words became a remedial response to his words of life. I hope it encourages whoever might be feeling pain in their life right now.
Just another normal day. The alarm goes off. The day’s tasks run through my mind like flight times on a departure board. Another minute in bed and tick, all the numbers flip. Later and later it delays. A growing anxiety begins to overtake the euphoria of slumber. In place of the joys of a good night’s sleep is a relentless and throbbing pain. Waves and waves. I remember now; it's the same pain I surrendered to last night as I prayed for the Nurofen nightcap to come into full effect.
I’ve grown accustom to the spontaneity of illness. One night you go to bed with the expectation of being able and well to do your next day’s tasks. Then morning arrives, and your to-do list becomes suspended forever. Who knows how long this migraine might last? Will today bring crippling nausea? Who controls life, really?
In the past few months, the frequency dial has been turned up to eleven on migraines and other illnesses which keep me from being a productive member of society. I am truly grateful to live in an age where medical advancement allows me to rein in some of the pain. But often they do little to keep me from spiralling into a set of existential questions: Why are humans so finite? Who am I if I can’t do my everyday tasks? Why today (always the most important), of all days?
It doesn’t matter where the pain originates. It will inevitably find a way to ricochet throughout my core, affecting the whole. In that moment, more questions: Can your pride afford the fall? What will people think if you bail, again? Do you really trust that God is who he says he is? Did God really say….?
And then I run.
I run to Genesis 1, 3. I hide in Psalm 13, 42. I follow in John. I am reassured in Romans 8. I rest in Revelation 22. So many truths resounding in God’s one voice. His revelation that he is our creator. His judgment on sin and the brokenness of this world. His love and solution displayed in Christ. His comfort turns my doubt into faith. His hope of restoration through Christ becomes my own. All the words are there. And they are living words.
The Bible is not a self-help guide. It is so much more. In a world like ours, it must be more. In these last few months, it has become my life source, the voice of the one who gives us life in Christ.
Don't get me wrong, pain still sucks. But pain without hope will crush even the strongest of us.
Disarming my pride, I am able to share with my community when I am sick. To show them what is really going on with me instead of brave facing through it. I need their care and their prayers. When I am weak, I need them to remind me to run to God.
I must confess that I am slow to run (both physically and spiritually). But I am grateful to be enjoying one minute of this life relatively pain-free and so embracing it by writing this reflection for when life becomes painful again.
I know some courageous, meek and faithful men and women who live this life enduring much more intense pain and suffering. Often prolonged. Often without measure. Your response in running to God shows me the narrow path is possible, joyful and secure.
And praise be to God that it is exactly that, because of Jesus.