I am a member of two closed groups on Facebook. One is the scleroderma group. The other group is for lupus patients. They are wonderful resources for updated medical research as well as patient trial availability. Like any good thing too much can be bad.
I try not to spend too much time on the boards. However recently I got on to look up a drug trial that I was interested in. My 15 minutes of perusing turned into an hour of reading people’s stories. Many are heartbreaking. The common theme? “Why me?! My life is ruined and I want it back”. It was incredibly depressing reading story after story of total despair.
Auto-immune diseases, like most diseases, change your life forever. You live with chronic pain the rest of your life. There is no cure. You can expect to die from the disease or complications from it. It is inevitable. The cruel joke is that your death is usually a long and arduous one further complicated by illusive symptoms and side effects. Your body literally attacks itself. Ultimately you run out of drug therapies. Organs shut down. Sounds dreadfully depressing doesn’t it?
Here is the good news: God is good. That is the message I so desperately wanted to share with patients in the closed group. God is good, y’all! Even in the bleakest of situations He is good. And He is there. Here. With us.
All of us can say “why me?” Why did the marriage fall apart after 20 years? Why aren’t my kids getting it? Why am I unhappy? Why does my best friend have a more financially prosperous life than I do? Why do I have to work? Why do I look 60 and my neighbor looks 40? Why is she so gorgeous and I’m not? Why doesn’t my husband look at me like her husband looks at her? Why can’t I loose weight? Why is my child left out? Why weren’t we invited? Isn’t the question really “why not?”
I stopped asking “why me?” ten years ago. And Lord knows I have a lot, do you hear me, a lot to whine to God about. You know what changed my perspective? The book of Job. God referred to Job as “blameless and upright.” God allowed satan to afflict Job, but God was not punishing Job for sin. Job suffers because he is among the best, not because he is the worst.
Job looses his fortune, his wife, his kids, his friends, his health and he just about looses his mind. Through it all? He never stops crying out to God. He never stops believing in His Abba father. He doesn’t understand what is happening to him. Job certainly doesn’t like what has happened to him. He never stops believing that God is there.
At one point Job starts questioning why God is causing all of his trials. God speaks to Job in a tornado. God physically and literally shows up in a storm. I love that! Even in the midst of the storms of our lives He is there.
Instead of asking “why me?” I started to ask “What is God up to?” I mean certainly He has a plan for me. And you. And if every single life is worth saving then what exactly is God up too? What is He trying to produce in me? You? In us? Could it be that God uses our suffering to produce righteous character? Does He want those who suffer to be more dependent upon Him? Could it be He is trying to get our attention?
“Elizabeth, that is sick and cruel. You mean to tell me a ‘loving’ God is going to cause my cancer or my illness or my divorce?” Honestly, I have no idea. I do know that God knows each of us by name. I do know that He wishes none of us to not have eternal life. I do know that He is a gentleman. He sent His only Son to die for our sins. I do know He gives us a choice. He is not going to force us to choose Him.
If our lives are turned upside down? We have the option to call on Him to turn us right side up. I don’t know about you but right side up, to me, sounds really hopeful in a world of upside down.
Who do you choose today?
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”-Isaiah 40:29