Discover more from Chronic Creativity
Coming to Terms with the Unfair
Even the best people get dealt poor hands in life
Every night, my father-in-law sends a goodnight snap (via Snapchat). It’s his way of keeping in touch & knowing those he cares about are safe. Most include a black background and a prayer prompt in overlaid text. Other times, he sends a picture of their new puppy, a wall decoration, or a dorky photo of him with his sleeping mask smiling.
Last night, he sent a long paragraph.
He’s struggled with pain and medical issues on and off for a while now. Things finally came to a head. I won’t share anything in-depth as it’s personal and not my story.
However, to summarize, there’s been no answers, and chronic, rather debilitating pain. I saw myself in the sentences proceeding his pain. Like me, he wasn’t sure why God had allowed this. He knew God would help him, but he was confused. He was tired. And, most of all, very sore.
I received heaps of sympathy after being diagnosed with Crohn’s.
Many pained looks and voices expressed a genuine “I’m sorry.” A few people, including one of my grandmothers, didn’t want to believe I had it. They wanted to believe there was a cure. As a result, they would become angry and frustrated, telling me that the doctors should fix it. How dare they not fix their little angel.
Despite this, the worst was the Christian version of that sympathy. Many of those who profess faith in God believe He will heal you…if you have enough faith. If you’re not healed, you don’t have enough faith, haven’t learned the lesson you’re supposed to, or are living in sin.
Guilt piled on my shoulders when my prayers, my loved one’s prayers, and an entire congregation’s prayers didn’t heal me.
Then, I was diagnosed at 19, the January after my first semester of college. Like many college students, I questioned my faith. I never stopped believing in God, but I did doubt how I viewed God. I wondered who He really was, if He truly loved me, and if I could ever be good enough for Him.
I had trouble getting up in the morning for church, so I’d attend the on-campus Thursday night worship service when able. My bowels didn’t always agree with that time. But, for a stint of time, it did.
I started going to a small group hosted by my crush at that time. It mainly consisted of spiritual discussion time. We’d discuss our beliefs and experiences with God, free from judgment. We were all questioning things. Two were strong in their faith but open to discussion. For one of the first times in my life, I felt welcome at a church-like event.
There’s one moment that felt surreal.
One of the two more grounded in their faith turned to me one night. He had a gentle smile on his face. He told me God told him something he wanted to share with me.
“You’re a lost deer in the woods. You’re looking everywhere for God. But He’s already with you.”
Tears flooded my eyes. I smiled and held back crying. I can’t say how perfectly this man articulated how I’d felt. I’d believed God was far from me. He wasn’t healing me, so He had to be disappointed in me. He must have left me.
But He hadn’t.
With time and a loving church family, I realized the nuances. Sometimes, bad things happen as a consequence to our actions. Deaths, illness, and other such tragedies, on the other hand, are typically a sign of a fallen world.
Rarely does someone deserve to become ill. Most deaths aren’t a sign of sin or wrongdoing. It’s a sign that we’re in a fallen world eagerly waiting to be restored. Even if you don’t share my faith, I ask that you take this one thing away:
It’s not your fault you have a chronic or debilitating illness.
It’s scary. It’s hard to live with. There will be days your head may barely stay above water, days you choke on the salty water that’s yearning for your death. Years may go by without answers. You may yell about the unfairness, the pain, and the suffering.
You may get answers once it’s over as to why it happened. You may not.
With time, I did learn things. I was perfectionistic and entrenched in what people thought of me. With Crohn’s, I realized it’s better to be late than not to show. People don’t view you as bad as you think. I learned to enjoy the present moment, to take rests, and to make mistakes.
Did God send me this burden to learn this?
Maybe or maybe it happened, and He helped me learn along the way. No matter what, you will adapt. You are more than the valleys you go through. Life is unfair, but that doesn’t make you less of a person. You may even find a way to make this challenge, illness or not, a stepping stone to a better place.
Wishing you a week knowing you are more than life’s unfairness, more than any illness, more than the challenges you face,
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