He speaks in the darkness. Albeit whispers at times, He speaks.
The silence from God I have experienced throughout these seven months of sickness has been deafening. But, it makes the moments I see Him or hear Him in my life that much sweeter. For they are few and far between.
My desire is to suffer well. To point to Jesus. To make Him look glorious in the midst of pain. But, I fail at this every day. I am far from a hero. But, I serve a great and gracious God.
Here are some confessions of the chronically ill.
I fear “nothing”
I wrote the following in my journal the other day: “I am afraid of “nothing”—of becoming nothing. Of meaning nothing. Of doing nothing. I am a “doer”. I always have been. A legalist at my core. Always trying to save myself. Always trying to “do”. To be. To become. To make myself okay. This has made me afraid of failure. I never thought I was afraid of failure until faced with this illness. I fear meaninglessness. I fear “nothing”. I don’t want to be nothing. One by one, I must surrender my fears, open handed before the Lord. Today, I give Him my fear of “nothing”. Knowing that He has made me something. I don’t need to “do” to mean something to Him. He treasures me. He delights in me regardless of what I can do for Him. Father, I give You my fears. I don’t want to be afraid anymore.”
Ephesians 2 is well-known and often quoted, but so often I live in a way that says, “Thank you Jesus for dying for me, but, I’ve got it from here.” I am not sure how much I will ever be able to do physically again—but, I am learning that God loves me, not what I can do for Him. I am so afraid of doing nothing, but my salvation is by grace alone—not a result of works so that I may not boast. He doesn’t love me because He finds me useful. He loves me because He loves me. Oh, how hard it is to simply rest in that.
I am fighting the bitterness
It is difficult for me not to have feelings of jealousy and bitterness towards my friends who are healthy and who seem to be living care-free lives, while I am living trapped inside a body that feels like a torture chamber every moment of every day. I confess I feel bitterness toward those around me when I see them singing about surrendering all to Jesus and bowing their lives before Jesus, begging Him to take it all. I feel bitterness because nothing is being taken from them. Of course it is easy for them to sing. I am losing everything, and although I know it is not true, I feel like I am the only one. I do not experience the constant “Jesus High” that, it seems, everyone at my school does. I do not feel the joy of the Lord. I only feel sadness. Deep sadness that I have to fight against. I am trying to trust, but it is painful. I am being ripped to shreds while it seems like everyone else dances along through life. I want to rejoice, but my illness quickly brings me down. I am a prisoner in my body, and this has produced bitterness in my heart. I ask for forgiveness for feeling this way toward each of you, as well as ask forgiveness from the Lord.
God has not abandoned me.
“Child of God, you cost Christ too much for Him to forget you.”
Will I be forgotten when I move home? What will I do there? Will I ever get well? Why doesn’t anyone know what’s wrong with me? God, I don’t understand how this is love. And, I don’t know how to not be sad and bitter. I don’t know how to find joy. At least not today. I pray for help but help eludes me. I pray for healing, I get worse. I pray for peace, I have none. I pray for Your presence, I feel nothing. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? I am tired today. Thank You for not ever growing tired.
I am learning dependence. I am learning what it looks like to pray for the Lord to help me take a shower. To help me make breakfast. To help me sit in class. I pray to Him constantly, asking Him to help me drive, to help me walk up the stairs, to help me watch a movie with friends. When everything is hard, you learn to need Him.
Every day is really hard. And I fail every day. And every day He gives more grace.
We are saved by the gospel, but we never graduate from it. And I am thankful for that.
I am no suffering hero. Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. “I believe, help my unbelief!” is my heart’s cry. I fall down at the foot of the cross where there is grace overflowing. I fall down at the foot of the cross and I will not get back up.
These are my confessions.