This morning I woke up with – or rather, was woken up by – an intense pain across every inch of my stomach.
I have felt this before. But it has never been quite so bad. Quite so bad that I almost couldn’t breathe. With each inhale the pain became increasingly excruciating.
Before I even arose from my bed, I broke down in sobs. And I cried out to God.
I don’t understand. Why? What good is this doing for your Kingdom that I have unexplainable stomach problems? Who is this helping to see You?
See, I want to live my life for Christ and bring Him glory in all that I do. However, in a moment of dire pain such as this morning, I struggle to see any glory to God.
All I could think is… I literally have nothing left to give.
I have tried everything – or so it seems. I have changed my diet to a strict gluten/dairy/soy/corn/nut-free diet in an effort to reduce stomach pain. Yet I am continually plagued by unknown irritants. And the pain only seems to worsen.
I even had an allergic reaction the other day to something I ate. My throat began to close up and I struggled to breathe. Turns out there was sesame oil in the dressing I had at a restaurant. I took a Benadryl, did my inhaler, and prayed it would get better and not worse.
I truly don’t know exactly what is going on with my digestive system. I guess you could say I’m “in the thick of it.”
This morning I reached my breaking point.
I feel I have nothing left to give, nothing left to try. I feel hopeless, confused, angry even. One of my thoughts this morning was that I didn’t even want to wake up and see another sunrise. I literally didn’t want to see the Lord’s beauty today. I had had it.
When I cried so much my head began to throb, I opened my curtains. It’s an overcast day. Turns out the Lord wasn’t going to show me His sunrise anyway.
I defiantly made a cup of coffee – which I have been trying to give up. (If I am going to be woken up before daylight in pain, then screw it – I’m drinking some caffeine.) I literally needed some form of stimulation to get me through this day.
As I waited for that coffee maker to heat up, I began to wonder, to ponder, to talk to God.
Just last night in Bible study we talked about the benefit of being in the Word and how that can help us in our prayers. I have been reading about Abraham and Sarah in their long wait to have children – even after God had promised it to them.
I thought it related to my acting career – and maybe it still does – but today all I can think of is my health. My pain. This deep longing for physical healing.
I am trying to discover God’s perspective in this journey. I am trying to learn what He wants to teach me. I am trying to see what He wants to show me. But “in the thick of it” that can be hard to do.
I was thinking how it’s easy for me to see God’s beauty, to delight in His creation, when I am happy and healthy, when big opportunities are on the horizon, when all seems right in my world.
But what about when all seems wrong in my world? What about when I have reached the end of my rope? What about when I have nothing left to give.
I think of that song, All the Poor and Powerless…
“All the poor and powerless, all the lost and lonely, all who hurt with nothing left…” – All Sons and Daughters
Yep. That’s how I feel. I hurt with nothing left.
So what? What’s next? What do I do with that?
Well, the next part of the song is this:
“All who hurt with nothing left… will know that you are Holy. And we will sing out Hallelujah, and we will cry out Hallelujah…”
So, we are called to worship and praise God – to sing to Him even – when we hurt with nothing left. When it seems we can’t go on. When we literally – physically and emotionally – don’t have the strength to face another day.
We will cry out.
We are called to say to God “Hallelujah. You are God. You are good. I praise who You are, what You have done in my life, and I will proclaim it to the world”... even through our tears. Even through our doubts, our longings, our questioning, our devastation.
Even when we hurt with nothing left to give… We bring Him praise.
For we always have that one thing we can give.
I took my coffee back upstairs to my bed and opened up my Bible. “Lord, I need some answers today. I need to know you are with me in this. I need You to talk to me this morning.” And the chapter I on today in Genesis is titled “Abraham Tested.”
So maybe God is testing me. To see how I respond to adversity. Like I said, it’s easy to praise Him, to see His glory when all is going right in my life. But what will I do when all isn’t going right? When the ease of seeing God’s glory is veiled by the clouds in my life?
I think of these song lyrics:
“I tell you one thing, it ain’t gonna change much. The sun still rises even through the pain. I tell you one thing, it ain’t gonna change much. The sun still rises even through the rain.” – The Head and the Heart, Another Story
When we are in pain, when it is raining in our lives, the sun still rises. We may not be able to see it’s beauty through the clouds. But that doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Behind those cloud is the fullness of the glory of God shining brightly through that sun, illuminating all the earth in it’s perfect, faithful way. Each day.
The sun never fails to rise. And the Lord never fails to show up for us. After all, He sent his one and only Son – the brightest “sun” to this darkest of worlds – because of His great love for us.
So when I hurt with nothing left?
I will worship. I will sing. I will cry out. Hallelujah.