Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.
(2 Corinthians 12:8)
FEELING BETRAYED BY GOD
Have any of these thoughts ever gone through your mind? I know they have gone through my mind more than I care to count. As I prepared to leave my teen years, the world told me the best years of my life were ahead of me. Then suddenly, I was struck with chronic pain, countless doctor visits, and the “best years of my life” vanished before my eyes.
Outwardly, I accepted my chronic illness. It was, in fact, God’s plan for my life. He would use this for his glory. Inwardly, I thought I did the same. It took me a long time to realize that I felt betrayed by the One who loved me the most out of anyone I would ever meet in my entire life. My prayers fell on deaf ears (or so it felt).
As I think about my life, it is difficult to imagine how Paul could only pray about removing his thorn three times. I feel like I pray my “thorn prayer” more often than that in a single day and sometimes in an hour. Then the questions of self-doubt come:
- “Why would I pray for this? It’s God’s plan.”
- “Who am I to doubt His plan? He chose this path for me so that I could become more like Him.”
FEELING BETRAYED: TURN TO GOD
Looking back, I now realize that amid my chronic pain, feeling betrayed led me to pull back from the Lord. I thought I had to be strong, but instead, I needed to fall into His loving embrace.
What about you? Do you fight an inward battle between feeling betrayed by the Lord and feeling guilty about asking him to take the thorn away? He is big enough to meet you in the middle of your pain. It might not feel like He responds right away, but I promise you, He is listening.
Lord, I know You are here, but I often struggle to feel Your presence. Help me to see Your responses to my prayers. I know You have called me to this life and are using it for my good. I do know that, but some days, I still feel betrayed. Show me the blessings of this thorn. In Your name, amen.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER:
- As you walk through your journey with chronic illness, are you more likely to feel betrayed by God or guilty that you want it to end? These questions are natural and are part of processing your grief.
- Do you feel betrayed by God in your chronic illness, chronic pain, mental illness, or disability? How so? I encourage you to pray to Him about the betrayal you feel this week—He is big enough to take it all.
- One way I have found helpful to process any thorns I encounter is to journal my thoughts and emotions. If I try to process internally, I get lost in my emotions. By journaling, I can think through my feelings and take a small step forward. Will you take 10 minutes today to journal about your feelings?
Chronic Joy® Contributing Writer
Elyse is a recent graduate with a fondness for the outdoors. After a simple slip on the ice left her with chronic pain syndrome, she began to see how God does work all things for good. Armed with Biblical truth and her TENS unit, Elyse uses her experiences to encourage young adults with the message that they can thrive in the face of difficult circumstances.
God created us with a whole range of emotions, some of which can be difficult to feel and even riskier to talk about. Learning to identify our emotions helps us grow in our understanding of God and of others. The Emotions Wheel is a great place to begin!