Thursday, April 3, 2014
swinging from joy to despair, and back again
For twenty years I have heard the long list, the opinions, the sermons, the pat answers. I have read hundreds of books, prayed the prayers and fasted. I have stood on God's promises. I have had the laying on of hands. I have performed spiritual warfare. Rebuked demons and called on angels. I have believed, and I have doubted.
Last year more than thirty of my friends and family fasted and prayed for me for a month. And yet here I remain, a pendulum swinging from feeling safe, normal and hopeful, to the other extreme: shaking with anxiety, crying, hopeless, desperate thoughts raging in my head, and all due to suffering. SUFFERING. For twenty years.
If you know my story, you know the extensive lists of physicians, specialists, and therapists available in the medical community that I have sought. You know the many expensive procedures, nerve blocks and medications I have tried and the handful I am on. You also know the extreme measures I have gone to, from having an injection in the most sensitive of areas, to having my brain zapped --and both treatments were unsuccessful.
I still try, with what is left in me, to hold out hope. I still cry and plead with God every day. Every. single. day. I attend a weekly bible study with great friends, I see a Christian counselor, and most precious to me is the love and support from my husband, and the sweet, tender heart of my son. I continue to seek Him, but after twenty years of swinging week to week from one extreme to the other... it is difficult to believe there is an end in sight.
I look back ten years ago, when I was thirty, still young enough and still naïve enough to believe in the goodness of God, to believe that the medical community would study PGAD and come up with a cure. It is difficult for me to have faith in either of them now.
I have to admit, I look around at the lives of many believers I have known over these twenty years who have endured, and continue to endure, great trials and suffering, and I see the same hopelessness, weariness, anything but this "victorious life" we were taught we'd have. We have put our energy and faith into God and His word, only to continue in our personal pain, see our loved ones suffer and die, for great sorrow to wear us down. I know all the responses Christians make concerning this. I have been told that even though I cannot recognize it, I actually am walking in victory, I mean, God has sustained me for 20 years, right? He hasn't let me give up yet! I should feel privileged that He has chosen me to suffer, because my suffering has comforted others, and I should recognize His hand working in my life, and be grateful for all that He has taught me through suffering. As much as these statements may be true, my current response is: Well, isn't that just great?
I am with St Teresa of Avila who cried out,“God, if this is the way you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few of them!”
I do not have an answer or happy ending to this blog. I am simply stating, again, where I am: swinging from joy to despair, week-to-week, praying Psalm 13 again and again... and still not receiving an answer.
1O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
2 How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
3 Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
4 Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, "We have defeated him!"
Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
6 I will sing to the Lord
because he is good to me.