Purpose For The Pain

I met someone over the weekend; not the kind of someone you think 🙂

The kind of person who puts plenty into perspective. Meaning is found for queries long unanswered. This particular one was a girl in high school. We were at their school all weekend and I had missed students’ ministry. We had just finished facilitating a session for all the girls who wanted to become lawyers. She followed me as we walked out. I didn’t mind; as a matter of fact, I absolutely love those one-on-one conversations.

I initially assumed it was a career related issue since that’s what we were discussing. Wrong. Turns out, while we were winding up, I mentioned how my coming this far sincerely took God and hinted at the crazy health drama I’ve had. That’s the part that got her attention.

She begins to speak and I it feels like she stole the script from the story of my life. She sounds kinda like me and our personalities are too similar; but this wasn’t it yet. She starts to explain all the health issues she’s had. No way! She’s literally stating all the areas of my body that I’ve had trouble with. I listen to her almost speechless. This is more than unbelievable! She’s in tears and I’m almost following suit but I hold them back.

I can’t recall most of what I told her afterwards but I narrated my issues as well and we exchanged experiences that had left us emotionally drained, mentally overwhelmed and on the verge of despair. Things that people around us probably never get. The relief! Seeing that in this world, it’s possible to have someone who truly understands the very lengths, breadths and heights of your pain. Needless to say, we hit it off and became friends.

As I was reflecting on this later, I got thinking that if this was all the purpose to my pain, then it was worth it. Sharing my story with someone who was living it as well and encouraging her to not give up because I too was making it through. Being there to remind each other that all the dark days and all the tears, were not for nothing.

We might never fully see the purpose our tears, break downs, valleys and unbearable moments accomplished; but rest in this darling: it wasn’t pointless. God never wastes our pain. Someone somewhere will survive what you’re going through just because of your story. Hold on, fight through; it sure is worth it.


Strange(r) Tales

​Today I’ve had the most incredible experiences with people I haven’t personally met or hadn’t known at all. Each of them dented my life significantly.
I was enjoying a nice lazy Saturday when the first encounter happened. I received news of her death and it completely broke me! I couldn’t stop crying. I had too many questions for God. This lady was an icon of hope for thousands if not millions of people. Her battle with stage 4 cancer and her faith in God through it all had spread unimaginable hope. I couldn’t get why. My own health battles had been enough and I had been encouraged by her recovery. I had never met her personally but her death wrecked me.
In the midst of my tears and heartache, the second person reached out. I can’t even remember when we became ‘friends’ on Facebook but I’ve known him there for quite long. I’m still in awe of how God worked. I had a very fruitful conversation with him and God used him both to teach and remind me of several lessons. By the time we were done, I was in complete peace; not just comforted but led right back to where God had wanted me. 
Immediately after that conversation, I had to leave for a sleepover. I decided to take a long walk instead of using a more direct public transport option. Armed with my earphones, I started out really well. By the time I was getting to the second song, I met this kinda old lady. I said hi to her as I was passing her, just out of politeness and because I love saying hi to strangers. 
Little did I know that it was the genesis of a conversation that would take me through my entire walk. She began by talking to me in a dialect I love but know little of. Eventually I had to admit that I wasn’t getting everything. Lady told me tales of God’s faithfulness the entire way! Two random people and somehow we found so many things in common. I was greatly encouraged and my faith challenged. 
Let’s just say I’m in awe of God and how He works. It’s unbelievable how He used 3 completely unexpected people who I barely knew, to break me then build me and leave me better than I was. Evidently there’s nothing He can’t do and no one He can’t use. That He’d do all this leaves me overwhelmed by His goodness and love.

This exact Latitude and Longitude

I came across this statement while listening to Margaret Feinberg  a lady who God has used to encourage me severally. The question she asked God was this: “has anyone praised you at this very latitude and longitude?”. At that moment she was under an MRI machine getting a scan. This was right in the middle of her battle with cancer.

How do you even get to thanking or praising God in the midst of your darkest moments? I’ve always been amazed by Job when I read about his reaction immediately after he lost everything. I imagined I’d also be inspired to do the same. Well, let’s just say that when you’re the one on the spot, that’s easier said than done.

This past week wasn’t easy at all. I had been busy trying to come to terms with a diagnosis the doctor gave me. There were numerous changes to be made and that alone was overwhelming me. Then the drugs came with their own side effects until I got to a point where taking them would almost depress me.

Speaking of which, as the week started, anxiety and depression kept threatening. Spent almost two days locked up in the house and mostly in bed. I cried enough during that time. The symptoms of whatever I was diagnosed with were taking a toll on me. It was all too much to bear. Now to add salt to the injury, I had exams to prepare for! How on earth would I even study in the midst of all this?

Well, one day at a time, that’s what I decided to do. Then I made it for midweek bible study and I came back all fired up and having my faith revived. I was determined to trust God no matter how things looked. I had just learnt how faith is a journey to God not a journey to results. I was going to believe in God whether I saw results or not.

That was until I got back only to discover some other health complication had arisen. The next morning I woke up feeling like I couldn’t take it anymore. How is one person supposed to handle all that? After plenty of conversations with God, I somehow got the strength to even go for a meeting across town. Things were finally looking up and I had such a great time.

The next day, I was back to square one. Feeling quite dejected, I figured I might as well defer my exams and do them next year. I didn’t have the energy or grace to handle health issues and their drama as well as manage to study for the Bar exams. Thankfully, by the end of that day, I’d gotten enough encouragement to change my mind.

So today, my main question to God as the day started was, how does faith look like in this current situation? How would He want my faith to look like? Secondly, how do I genuinely praise you when no part of me feels like it? I wanted to know how I could practically do that.

I realised that sometimes, all it takes is getting out of bed. Other times, it’s that feeble ‘thank you’ to God because you are down but not out. Sometimes it’s a tearful prayer accompanied by sobs or even flowing tears when words won’t come. It could be listening to that playlist that explains best how you feel or the one that God uses to get you out of despair. Maybe even dragging yourself around and doing what needs to be done in spite of everything. Most of all, it means taking your eyes off the circumstances threatening you and fixing your gaze on He who has power over everything.

Therefore, in this latitude where I can’t even eat onions or garlic (goodness, how’s food to taste without those!), I’m grateful I can still use tomatoes and carrots. In this longitude where the future seems bleak, I’m glad I still have this present moment and an assurance that He’ll never leave me nor forsake me. In this exact place, I thank God that inasmuch as I don’t comprehend (or like) any of this; He promises that it will work out for my good. 

A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor. So when storms rise up, be happy. This pain, loss, sickness, heartache or whatever hurt; not only will it pass eventually, but you’ll be stronger because of it.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

(2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT)