Finding Purpose in Pain

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

(Isaiah 53:6-7)

It’s been a while since I’ve jotted out a migraine post. In fact, I realized my last one was in early September when I wrote about my latest dietary experiment.  In fact, today is  my 49th consecutive day on the ketogenic diet.

So how’s it going? Well… not bad. My first two weeks were like a dream. I had more energy and fewer headaches than normal, and what headaches I did have were extremely minor. In short, I felt well for several days all in a row – something that has not happened since… honestly, I don’t know. Ask my husband. He pays more attention than I do.  For me, it was enough to actually feel like doing things rather than merely muscling through the day until bedtime.

Unfortunately, subsequent weeks were not as remarkable. It is possible I had a touch of the virus that went around our house, but my usual crazy fatigue was an unwelcome visitor during the last weeks of September. October did not begin well, either, and last Saturday saw the blessed end of a 6-day-long, slowly building migraine that left me feeling perfectly wretched.

But that is all over, this week is looking promising, and I am feeling as wonderful as my first days on the diet. Hurrah! I have sworn to give it at least two more weeks before ‘cheating,’ and my cheat will be minor – a signature coffee beverage from a friend’s newly opened coffee shop.  (By the way, this is a shameless plug for the Fainting Goat aimed at my local readers…)

Now on the other side of the month-long energy drain and the resurgence of headache issues, I can honestly say that this whole experience – from the meningitis when my middle child was a few months old all the way through today – the ups and downs and all the in-betweens has been good.

I mean it. Despite the unpleasantness, it is really, truly good.

Not to sound like a nutcase, but I am thankful for the pain. Even today as I sit writing with a clear head and an inexplicably aching hip, I can rejoice in my suffering.  Admittedly, a large part of that rejoicing comes from the fact that some of it is past… but also because in the midst of it all, God reminds me to give thanks in ALL circumstances – including the less enjoyable ones (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

For one thing, as this morning’s reading in Isaiah 53 has reminded me, I do not deserve health, wealth, or prosperity. For countless past acts of rebellion against my Creator as well as for a continuing propensity to wander astray like some doltish sheep drifting mindlessly after what looks like a mouthful of greener grass far away from the Shepherd’s safe pasture, I deserve death.

But my gracious and incredible God gives me Life instead. And just so the spiritual ledger is not out of balance, He paid the penalty of my crimes with His own blood.

What’s more, He continually offers purpose in my pain. Though last week was discouraging and left me feeling physically spent and emotionally defeated, this week starts fresh, beginning with absolutely priceless time spent with a young lady, one of my part-time daughters, who also struggles with chronic migraine.

Because I can relate, she can speak freely and be understood – which I must say, is no small thing for those who struggle with an “invisible” disease. And because I love her, I am delighted to participate in the suffering so that I can encourage her as she fights through it and remind her that God is still good even when life looks bleak.

After all, if He did not spare His own sinless and perfect Son, the Radiance of His glory and the exact Imprint of His nature;  if the King of kings was not spared physical and emotional pain, why should I be? For I have sinned and fallen far short of tGod’s perfetcion, but by His grace I can share in my Lord’s sufferings – because even pain, when surrendered to Him, can be used for something glorious.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
(1 Peter 4:12-13)

 

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10 thoughts on “Finding Purpose in Pain

  1. I am glad to know that you feel better now, compared to the episode of last week. It is also good to know that there is improvement with the introduction of the new diet. Migraine can be crushing sometimes. The sufferer alone has the painful experience and others just cannot comprehend what is going on ‘up there’. As you called it “an invisible ailment”, it really takes someone with similar experience to feel your pain and be an advisor.

    I am even more thankful to the Lord that you are “finding purpose in the pain”…these are no small words to utter when you have been in same shoes. Being in pain is being in weakness. Finding purpose in the pain through Christ is experiencing His strength in your weaknesses. I pray that you never lose this hope in Christ no matter the case. Rather, you will be strengthened in your inner man from day to day.

    I am delighted in the opportunity you have to be of comfort to someone else who is in a similar situation. This reminds me of 2 Corinthians 1:3-6. I hope you spare some time to read it. Going through hard times can even become a privilege when purpose is evoked, and above all, the purpose of God. Please send my regards to the Dear Sister too. Please tell her some brethren send their love to her.

    I kind of have more to write about in response to your post but keeping it moderate should do.

    Remain strong in the Lord Dear Heather. May the Lord achieve His aim in your life and family. I pray the same for all the saints. Amen.

    More of Lord Jesus to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, my friend! Yes, I also love that passage in 2 Corinthians, and it is a solemn reminder that in every way any of us suffer, our God can redeem and turn around for His glory. Other favorites of mine during times of pain are 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 and Psalm 73:25-26.

      I will pass your greetings along to my little sister in Christ. Our families have been friends for ten years now and it is a true blessing to be able to share with her how I’ve found hope in Christ the mist of difficutly. I am thoroughly enjoying the time I have with her this school year and pray that it will all honor God!

      There are some other blogger friends I have who write about pain. You’ll be blessed to read Bill’s blog here on WordPress, called “Unshakable Hope.” He suffers from ALS and is an amazing testimony of God’s goodness in trial. Also, Kim over at You Can Trust Him writes beautifully about the emotional pain of losing her son and the faithfulness of God through it all. If you have some time soon, they are well worth a look. 🙂

      Blessings of the Lord to you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I appreciate the extra scripture portions you shared with me. I went through them and drew from the resource of comfort each possessed.

        I pray that the Lord’s Name be honored Dear Heather.

        Thanks for the additional blogger resource you shared. I think I have come across Bill’s blog before now. I will definitely seek it again. For Kim, she will soon get my hello.

        Lots of Love to you.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pain is so good. It makes you feel alive. Pain brings you closer to GOD and helps you to remeber and be gratefull for all the great things that GOD has done for you. Pain helps you to cae for others and be emphathetic to pain. I am actually greatful when I am going through pain.

    Liked by 2 people

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