Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.
(2 Corinthians 12:8)
FEELING BETRAYED BY GOD
Why do bad things happen to good people? How can this be God’s plan for me? When will He hear my prayers?
Have any of these thoughts ever gone through your mind? I know they have all gone through my mind more times 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. What took me a long time to realize is 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 own life, it is difficult to imagine how Paul could only pray about the removal of 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 in the midst of my chronic pain, feeling betrayed led me to pull back from the Lord. I thought I had to be strong, but in reality, 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 that you 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 come to an end? These questions are natural and are part of processing through 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 that I have found helpful to process any thorns I encounter is to journal out my thoughts and emotions. If I try to process internally, I tend to get lost in my emotions. By journaling, I am able to 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!