Saturday, January 31, 2015

When Pain Keeps Me Awake

In peace I will both lie down and sleep for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. ~ Psalm 4:8

This would be my comfort; I would even exult in pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One. ~ Job 6:10

That first verse from Psalm 4 is one that I learned many months ago from my friend Phil, one that he told me he'd prayed for me when I was in a period of being unable to sleep much at night. I don't remember if it was anxiety or physical pain, but that doesn't matter. That verse is one I have often recalled since he first texted it to me.

The second one, well, that's just one I looked up today, with a little help from Google. And wow. God knew I needed that verse today because my attitude has been so far from "exulting". According to, exult means to "show or feel a lively or triumphant joy, rejoice exceedingly, or be highly elated or jubilant." Yeah...I haven't been that. I've been closer to its antonym.

The past couple of days have been very rough physically. When I got home Thursday evening, my legs and feet were in really bad shape, but I figured that it was just because I had to walk farther to my evening class than I had for any of last semester's classes. So when I got home, I sat down for the rest of the night and moved as little as possible, thinking that I just needed to rest and the pain would alleviate.

Except then I woke up yesterday morning and walking was even more painful than it was the night before. I made it through what I had to do yesterday, and then I had to wait 45 minutes for a subway on the way home in a station that didn't offer a bench. Again, I thought if I just sat down and rested for a while, things would ease up.

Except then I went to bed last night and was completely unable to sleep. It started while I was on FaceTime with Clayton, the muscles in my chest cramping up despite the fact that I wasn't moving and hadn't had any problem with them in the previous 24 hours. I think I managed to hide it pretty well, though, since Clayton didn't say anything. If I laid on either side, I got stabbing pains in my hips and the chest spasms would start back up, but if I laid on my back, my legs cramped and twitched uncontrollably.

So I just laid in bed. I stared at my phone for a while, trying to distract myself from the spasms and pain and just general discomfort that spread throughout my whole body as the night went on, but then I just laid there, begging and pleading for sleep to come. I got a few hours spastic, completely unrestful sleep this morning, waking up just before the Wolfpack game started, but then I fell asleep in the second half and slept again until 7 pm.

I don't think I was angry last night, I was just sad and miserable. But either way, I was far from being exultant. I was far from resting in the promises of the Lord that are the same truth when I'm feeling good as they are when I've got tears rolling down my eyes in pain. So I hope that I can use last night as a lesson and a reminder to hold tight to the promises of God and who He is even when I'm caught up in what I'm physically facing at that moment.

Because God is the ultimate comforter.

Because God doesn't change, but my pain levels will.

Because it seems so very bipolar to go from praying with Clayton with a heart of gratitude to sad and exhausted in just a matter of hours.

Because God is Emmanuel, here with me always. He was there in the bed with me last night.

Because God is good. Always. And He doesn't ask me to praise Him for the pain (or whatever hard thing it is I'm facing), He just asks me to praise Him through it.

Because by choosing not to praise Him even when it's hard, I'm choosing to deny the holiness of my Father.

Because I am seen and known and loved and cared for by the King of the universe.

Because He gives me enough to get through, moment my moment. I made it through today.

But mostly just because He is GOOD.

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