Today has been an awful day. I’m feeling hopeless. My stomach issues have me at the end of my rope. I spent more time today than I care to admit crying in a Panera, and then in the car, and then at home before I pulled myself together, covered my face in foundation in a desperate attempt to hide my blotchy skin, and went to class with a fake smile on my face.
I kept thinking that maybe this is how God will bring me closer to Him like I always pray for. I wanted to obey and cry out to Him, but I felt so tired and alone and hopeless. I made myself ask for help, but He felt so distant. I felt distant from myself. I wanted to escape my body, leave it behind if only I could have a second without the anguish that threatens to smother me.
On the ride home and on the way to school, I cried out to Him a few more times. I just kept saying, “Please, Lord. Please help, Lord, please.”
I decided I wouldn’t retreat into myself like I so often do. It’s hard to trust in the Lord when you’ve been hurting for so long. When you don’t think you can take much more, and then things just keep getting worse. Even when I see how He is acting in my life, it’s hard not to doubt. It’s hard to have hope. I decided, though, that I will trust in Him.
I like to get to my classes early and spend a few minutes on YouVersion before my professor arrives. I did not feel like being in class this afternoon. I felt like sitting in my car and sobbing. I felt like driving around, blasting music, and trying to drown everything out for even a few moments. I made myself sit in my seat, though, and spend some time with God. Right before the screen loaded, I asked for an encouraging verse. Even for something so small, I was scared to ask and not receive, because I’ve been denied so many times. I’ve been on my knees, crying out to God for help. For strength. Maybe, just maybe, for healing. I had a bad experience with this topic in the past that you can read about here, and my heart is still so wounded from it that I never asked for healing for years. A few weeks ago, though, I started praying for healing for my stomach. I was so desperate for healing. I felt such confidence in the Lord’s ability to heal me. And so I’ve been praying. And so here I am, feeling worse.
I still believe that the Lord can heal me. I don’t understand why He doesn’t. I understand why He’s had me go through so much pain, but I don’t understand why it has to be so prolonged. Don’t I understand the lesson? Haven’t I become closer to Him? Haven’t I been given the tools to help others in similar situations, even if I wake up tomorrow and am healed? And why do I have to feel so many different types of pain all at once?
I don’t have the answers. I’m content knowing that I may never have the answers while I’m here on Earth. I’m so thankful that I can trust that He has a purpose, though, even if that knowledge doesn’t make things better. Even as I am crying out to God for the strength to get through each day, I know He has a reason. Even as I desperately beg for hope. Even as I am curled in a ball, asking again and again that I feel His presence and know I am not alone.
So I cried out for help. Like I have a million times before, I cried out for help. For strength. For hope. To be able to cling to Him and his promises when I wanted to give up.
My app finally loaded. My verse was Psalms 145-18.
“The Lord is near all who call out to him, all who call out to him with integrity.”
He hears me.