Why Me, God?

Written by Susan Martinuk

spiritualgrowth_susanmrt“Boy, God must really be gunning for you!”

As the tears began to stream down my face, I was grateful we were working in the relative darkness of an ultrasound room. The comment made by a nurse was simply an off-handed remark. The words themselves were harmless, but they gained power and cut deep because they echoed the feelings that were surfacing in my heart.

Why was God allowing illness to destroy my life and career?

For one more day, I had struggled to get to the hospital in time for noon-hour scans of patients suffering infertility. On the way to the hospital, I was rear-ended by a man who, “thought the red light was green.” As a result, I now had a whopper of a headache – which compounded the suffering I was already experiencing from chronic illness.

That day, it was all I could do to sit and make notes in charts, to smile at the patients – to try to pretend I was alive inside – when every part of my body felt like death and wanted death. Sometimes things happen in our lives that change us – and nothing is ever the same again. I often refer to those times as a “day of days,” even though my own “day of days” lasted for three long, dark years.

When pain hits us

It began the morning after I defended my master’s thesis, when I woke up with a pounding migraine, the stomach flu and a cold. Initially, doctors and friends dismissed it as “the stress exorcism.” They were sure that I only needed to relax and get rid of the stress that had built up throughout the past weeks.

But it never went away. And for the next eight months, frustration grew as I battled chronic illness and fatigue. I had some good days, but mostly I was exhausted. I always seemed to have the flu and my weight plunged from 125 to 92 pounds. Not long after, I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), namely permanent fatigue and a depressed immune system..

The irony is that in spite of my sickness, my PhD research was extremely successful. As the first in the world to observe and record the process of human ovulation, we gained national and international attention. Opportunities from all over the world were waiting for me. It seemed as though the success I had always sought was there, but I was too tired and too sick to take hold of it. And so, it was with mounting frustration that I realized I could not grasp the very thing I wanted most.

Being the typical “Type A” personality, I needed the challenge of my work to maintain my identity. When I couldn’t work effectively, my self-esteem plummeted and depression soared. My relationships deteriorated because I was too tired to do anything and too angry to be near anyone – especially people who had the energy to lead a productive life. I could not function at the level I was accustomed to and, in my mind, if I couldn’t do it all, I didn’t want to live.

Living in torment

As a result, my heart became very dark. And my spirit screamed out to God – WHY? Why was I in such torment? If God had abandoned me to death, then let me die. But if I was meant to live, then heal me and let me function like a normal person.

For the first time in my life, I was unable to control my circumstances. And as I reached the end of my own strength, my only hope was to look outside myself for help – or something or someone who was much bigger than me.

Author and scholar C.S. Lewis says that pain is God’s “megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” It’s true. I never looked to God much when I was healthy, successful, busy . . . able. I knew He was there, but it was only as I was stripped of all my resources that I really began to seek God and to cry out to Him from the depths of my heart.

Healing from brokenness

Turning to God was the first step on my journey towards healing. Healing came as I gave up my frustration and anger about being sick and unable to do things that I wanted to do. Healing came when I realized that my self-worth was not dependent on my academic success or on my ability to do things. And as I acknowledged my inability to love myself when I was sick, I experienced God’s love for me during my weakest moments. Healing came when I stopped fighting my circumstances that had been given to me.

Since then, I have had to choose daily to trust that God is still in control and that He will use this illness to accomplish His purposes in my life. For most days, I am able to trust that God’s love and strength will be enough for me that day.

But there are also days when it is a struggle to trust. And those are the times when I am grateful for friends who remind me of the truth that God isn’t any less powerful because of pain and suffering. He is able to heal miraculously and instantaneously. But we live in an imperfect world, and it is only in acknowledging our suffering and our need that we are able to see God’s tremendous power to restore.

Each step that I have taken on my journey of reconciliation with God has brought some degree of physical healing. However, I now consider God’s healing to be a much deeper and more complete process than a restoration of the physical body. Ultimately, emotional and spiritual healing play the most significant role in enabling me to find contentment and peace in my life whether I am sick or well.

My battle with CFS is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to endure. And, although I didn’t recognize it at the time, it was the beginning of a life-changing journey with God. That journey has changed my priorities and taught me to place my hope in God’s power to accomplish things, rather than in my own talents and skills.

What about you? Are you fighting battles on your own? Do you wonder where God is in the midst of your suffering?

God wants to be our leverage in living, empowering us to feel better about ourselves, more excited about our future, more grateful for those we love and more enthusiastic about our faith.

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, God has given you His Holy Spirit to help you live life according to His perfect plan. Why not pray this simple prayer and by faith invite Him to fill you with His Spirit:

“Dear Father, I need you. I acknowledge that I have sinned against you by directing my own life. I thank you that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

5 Responses to “Why Me, God?”

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Lindsey, I would like to pray for you:

    Heavenly Father I pray for this family as they all are feeling the impact of Lindsey’s illness. I pray for healing for Lindsey knowing that You are more than able to take away any physical problems that we face. I ask that in Your mercy you would bring wholeness to Lindsey’s body and mind. But Lord I also know that sometimes You choose not to heal and if that is true for Lindsey I pray that You would help her and the family to look to You for help in how to live well in spite of her illness. May it be something that draws the family together in strength rather than tears them apart. Equip Lindsey with a solid trust in You that communicates well to her daughters and allow them to be a testimony of Your faithfulness to others who are also in dire need. May they know Your presence in their lives and find joy from being Your children. Amen.

    Lindsey, I wish I had some ideas of how to change things for you. I can be of no help for the physical problems but I think the relational challenges you are facing in your family can be addressed like all relational problems through open, honest, vulnerable communication. Give your girls an example of how you talk through the emotions they are feeling inside. Share with them your emotions toward God as you ask the question, “Why Me God?” Give them the words to speak out their own frustrations and disappointments and then model for them how to take those to God and look to Him for help and guidance. If your kids are anything like mine each one of them will need a unique way of working through that and communicating with you. Allow them to have that freedom but don’t let them bottle it up and try to deal with it on their own. There are some valuable lessons for your girls through this and tremendous opportunities to develop a really mature pattern of responding to relational stress in a mature healthy way. Take advantage of this.

  • Lindsey W. says:

    Dear Susan…I like a few others happen to run across your partial story in “21 reasons bad things happen to good people”. I was completely in awe when I read your story. I am now 31yrs. Old with 3 children whom desperately would loke to have their mother back. Exsp. My older girls bc they remember how their real mommy was…funny, loving, nurtureing…all of above. I was like a big kid w ith them but their mother whom they loved
    and respected. Altho they still love and have respect for me I prayy..I know they r growing angrey with me. I’ve been diagnosed with Hypersomnia for atleast 3yrs now. Ill have good days and bad just as u explained also having….I onv slept for 3 days straight….when i woke it was like id only been asleep 9-9hrs. However thats mostly undercontrol now…i suffer with the excessive daytime sleepiness …at times ca. B scary b i have to pull car over with my children and walk pray shake it off. Its become very dibilitating to my life with children, family, friends and j also cannot wake to even make it to church or almost any planned functions. I just want so desperately to vet threw this and live a happy healthy life with my children and feel whole and like a wonderful mother to my angels again. If you have anything anything at all that can help…please email me back and also pray for us as we will pray you have overcome this life altering illness, with Gods help. With continued prayer and not givong up I know he will answer my prayers soon.
    God Bless,
    Lindsey & children(11,8,6).

  • Sharon says:

    i often wonder why me because my father has alzeheimers and is in i think the last stages of his life, i was hoping to have a father at the end who would say i am his princess and then instead he got alzeheimers i really didn’t have a father growing up, he was home but that was it not emotionally, this is tough dealing with this.

  • SB says:

    Please tell Susan Martinuk that she most likely suffers from Lyme disease and other infections (they may be tick borne co-infections). Tests for Lyme and other co-infections can have false negatives. She needs to find a ‘Lyme Literate Medical Doctor’ in the US who will give her a clinical diagnosis.

    Tell her I serendipitously opened a book to the page with her story. I have Lyme disease and I have been questioning why, this page was part of my answer. My intuition tells me that it’s time for her to receive more healing with the aid of good doctors familiar with Lyme.

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