“Did you know your Dad mentioned your blog in the sermon on Sunday? It was really emotional.”
I literally almost rolled my eyes, but not for the reason you might suspect. Yes, Anna and I did develop a holy terror of certain disconcerting situations while growing up as pastor’s kids. Number One was being referenced in any way whatsoever from the pulpit, but others included sitting near the front row, occasionally having to wear dresses when other kids our age showed up in jeans, and similar minor travesties. Thankfully we’ve grown out of most of those, including the pulpit thing (I think?).
But this past Thursday I suppressed the eye-roll not out of pastor’s kid’s exasperation, but simply because of where I was, what I was, and who I was. I was sitting across from Mom on an Urgent Care exam table with an IV pumping an extremely strong anti-migraine drug into my arm. I’d morphed from my “normal” neurological mystery into a neurological mystery in the middle of a drug-resistant migraine. At the moment Mom asked her question, the migraine had already lasted four days. Who was I? Well, I’d been in unmanageable pain for four days, and I was extremely out of practice facing pain graciously. Mom was sitting with me so that Ivan (my superhuman Energizer Bunny) could “take a break” from dealing with me for a couple of hours. Yeah. Not blog worthy. Absolutely not sermon worthy.
“Umm…no. What was it about?”
“He was talking about all things working together for good. You wrote this one post years ago where you said you could see God using your accident for His glory, and that you wouldn’t change a thing.”
Honestly, I felt like someone had just slapped me in the face. It’s one thing to survive extreme pain in most parts of your body, but extreme pain behind your left eye takes it to a whole new level. Then add in the pain of light, the pain of sound, the inability to sleep, the nausea. At that moment I wanted to change a whole lot of things about everything. The worst of it was I knew that I was not making life a cakewalk for my family, either.
Just that morning I’d found myself begging God to reconsider whether my situation was working out for that Romans 8:28 best or not: “When is it enough? Isn’t it enough that I’m still in brain therapy? That I’m still stuck at home? That I don’t even have brain power to write anymore? Why this on top of everything else?” And now Mom was sitting across from me reminding me that I’d given public testimony that I was SO confident that all things DO serve God’s ultimately good purposes that I wouldn’t change anything about my accident.
It was almost like God was testing me: “Do you trust Me? Or don’t you?”
I wish this post had a better immediate ending than it does. The migraine ended up lasting 10 days. Urgent Care didn’t work. The ER didn’t work. Heavy duty drugs didn’t work. All the “right” things that you’re supposed to do at home didn’t work. The only light at the end of the tunnel is that my neuroscience team was out of town for part of the migraine, but now that they’re back we’ll have a better plan moving forward. So I’m not planning a migraine encore of that magnitude! (Lord-willing 🙂 )
Writing blog posts is not one of the “right” things I’m supposed to be doing at home to help my brain recover from its latest setback.
BUT I wanted to write this one anyway to remind y’all that Romans 8:28 is not a truism. I listened to Dad’s sermon when I got home from the hospital and am still realizing how easy it is to read something in morning devotions, or listen to it on Sundays….or in my case, blog about it…but how humanly impossible it is to convince yourself that you actually believe it while you’re in incredible pain. If I wrote anything of the kind three years ago it was only by God’s grace, and the past two weeks have been a sobering reminder of the gift that faith is. We talk of peace that passes all understanding, but when you’re in intense pain, faith passes all understanding too.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” ~ Romans 8:28
Yes, He does.