About two years ago, I wrote an article that was published on The Rebelution. The article was titled, 4 Lies My Pain Tells Me. Along with being one of my more popular articles on The Rebelution, it was always one of my personal favorites. It was the first time I had really opened up about my struggles with chronic pain and the lies I was struggling with every day. It was a big step for me in battling the lies that were holding me captive.
I wanted to revisit and reevaluate my response to pain and the lies that I am falling prey to. These past two years have changed my perspective and brought different things to light. I was able to identify four more lies that I battle because of my pain. While there are certainly more, these lies specifically address what I believe about God.
1. God is not good.
I have always believed that God is all-powerful. I have known Him as my Jehovah Rapha, my healer. My pain has never led me to question His power, only His heart.
If God can heal me, why would He leave me in agony?
If God is good, why does He allow bad?
I am so often tempted to believe that God must not be truly good. For some reason, my hurting heart found it more appealing to believe that my God is a bad God rather than believe He had my best interest at heart. Believing that God is not good made more sense to me than believing that a good God would withhold good things.
This was honestly a little terrifying for me. After all, some people say that the holiness of God is His quintessential attribute or His defining characteristic. Doubt can be scary.
In my doubt, I must preach the truth to myself.
The truth is that my God is always good, and I will never fully understand His ways. I can’t. If I could comprehend the depth of His goodness and the purpose of His plan, He wouldn’t be God.
When I am tempted to believe the lie that God is not good, I cling to the many verses from Psalms like the one below that proclaim the Lord’s goodness.
“Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!”
Psalm 31:19 ESV
2. God does not love me.
Betrayal from someone you love and trust hurts more than betrayal from an acquaintance who values you very little. Why is that? I think it is because the pain of betrayal makes us question love.
I felt betrayed by God when I got sick. I knew I wasn’t perfect, but I had faithfully followed God surrendered my failures and shortcomings to Him. I could not understand why He would put me through this when I was already following Him.
The temptation to doubt the love of God is strong in my life, but I must fight it.
Even when I do not understand how He is working or what He is teaching me through pain, I can know without a doubt that His love will never fail me.
I came across this verse from Deuteronomy last summer and it has been the source of so much encouragement for me as I fight the lie that God does not love me.
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.”
Deuteronomy 7:9 ESV
3. God is punishing me.
The Bible recounts a few stories where God did indeed use pain as a punishment, but many stories about God allowing pain are for ultimate good and for His glory.
Job was an upright man, but God justly allowed suffering in Job’s life. From what we see in the narrative, Job never even found out why. But it’s clear that Job’s suffering was not meant to be a punishment.
Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery and unjustly imprisoned. But when Joseph rose to be a world leader through his suffering and saved many from starvation, he looked back and said, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” (Genesis 50:20a ESV). Joseph was able to see the hand of God working through his pain.
While it is important to use trials and suffering as a mirror to show us our need for growth, we must not get caught up in the lie that pain is always a punishment. Pain is a result of the sin of the fall, but not necessarily our own personal sin.
It can be easy for me to wallow in self-doubt and guilt that isn’t even mine to carry. This will only cause frustration and drive a wedge of bitterness between me and my heavenly Father.
We should be sensitive to recognizing sin and confessing it, but we should not live in fear that every bad thing that happens out of our control is a punishment. We should trust the heart of God, knowing that any pain that He allows will be for our ultimate good.
4. God cannot use my pain for His glory.
I watch God work through beauty and I rejoice. I experience the peace of forgiveness and praise the Lord. I am a recipient of perfect love and I thank the Lord for it.
But pain… I do not rejoice in pain.
Seeing God work through good things is easy for my finite mind to understand. Understanding the goodness of God as He works through pain is much more difficult.
You’re probably familiar with this verse from Romans that speaks to my doubt so clearly.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
God does not promise to work just the beautiful and comfortable things together for good. He promises to work all things together for good.
My pain will never be more powerful than God. He is able to make all things work for my good and for His glory.
Fight the Lies in Your Life
Being honest about my struggles with chronic pain is not always easy, but I think it is worth it if it helps even one person identify and fight lies in their own life. I want people to know that they are not alone.
What lies are you fighting today, friend?
I want to encourage you to run to your Bible and drown the lies in the truth of the Word of God.
Whatever you do, please don’t stop fighting. The truth is worth it.