At around 7pm last night I received a call, “Jess can you come take me to the ER.” My friend Emily had been in intense pain all day. Nausea had started a week and a half ago. Intense migraines started 5 days ago. Lower abdominal pain started on Sunday. The pain had increased and it hurt to move…any movement hurt. She was dizzy and nauseas if she stood up. We thought it might be her appendix. Not what you want. But, it would have been an answer. Emily has spent the past two years hearing “we don’t know what’s wrong with you.” You do have Celiac’s, but we don’t know the cause of your migraines, numbness, etc. We hoped to have some answers last night. They admitted her, gave her meds to help with the pain and nausea. They did blood work and a CT-Scan, it all came back clear. Her insides looked fine and healthy. (Yay! That was good to hear.) So at midnight, they sent her home. And she once again heard the words, “It’s a mystery, we don’t know what’s wrong with you.” They recommended getting a lower GI done.
As I sit here this morning (drinking lots of coffee to stay awake), my heart aches. I do not understand. I hate to see my friend in so much pain. I hate seeing her discouraged. I just want to make it all better. But, then I remember how much the Creator loves her. He died for her. He redeemed her. He has done amazing things in her life. She is not the same woman that walked into church almost 6 years ago. (I was freshly reminded of this fact as she gave a long list of “No’s” to the nurses questions last night.) He has provided for her again and again. He has used her to bring Him so much glory. But, I still can’t explain the why. Why has He allowed her to suffer so much? Why can’t the doctors figure this out?
I don’t know. My dad has said that you have to be comfortable with mystery. I cannot give a single answer to all the whys. But, this is what I know:
Psalm 121:5-8 The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
1 Corinthians 10:22 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Luke 12:6-7 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Isaiah 54:10 For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Psalm 27:13-14 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Psalm 34:15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Isaiah 64:4 From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.
Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Psalm 103:13-14 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
2 Corinthians 12:9a My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
Isaiah 41:10 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Psalm 73:25-26 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Psalm 37:23-24 The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.
Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Isaiah 43:2a When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you.
Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
Lamentations 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Psalm 145:13b The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.
Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else
in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ
Jesus our Lord.
I can’t explain suffering. But, I know that God uses it for our good. It’s no fun, but often times it produces the most fruit. I’ve have seen God’s faithfulness displayed more during seasons of suffering than at any other time in my life. Though my heart aches for my friend, my hope does not lie in answers. My hope lies in a risen Savior. He loves her more than I can begin to imagine. He died for her. He sustains her. He has a reason for this trial. I don’t understand it, but I trust Him. I know that He is perfectly good and everything He does is good. If it wasn’t not, than He would cease to be God. He is all-powerful and all-knowing. He sees the big picture. I trust His care, His love, and His wisdom for Emily. He knows. He is faithful. God provided an amazing staff of doctors and nurses. God displayed His love to Emily by giving her friends that surrounded her and cared for her. She now knows a lot of things that the pain is not. And most importantly, her loving Father has promised to never leave her and to uphold her.
So, it was a long night and I’m really tired this morning. But, it was so cool to watch God display His faithfulness and care in an ER room!
O Wondrous Love
O wondrous love that will not let me go
I cling to You with all my strength and soul
Yet if my hold should ever fail
This wondrous love will never let me go
O wondrous love that’s come to dwell in me
Lord who am I that I should come to know
Your tender voice assuring me
This wondrous love will never let me go
I’m resting in the everlasting arms
In the ever faithful heart
The Shepherd of my life
You’ll carry me on Your mighty wings of grace
Keeping me until the day
I look into Your eyes
O wondrous love that sings of Calvary
The sweetest sound this sinner’s ever known
The song of Your redeeming Son
Whose wondrous love will never let me go
O wondrous love that rushes over me
I can’t escape this river’s glorious flow
You overwhelm my days with good
Your wondrous love will never let me go
Words and music by Steve and Vikki Cook. © 2001 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved.