I’ve had insomnia for about three years now. I had it in high school and it eventually went away, so for a long time I assumed this would too. But as it’s dragged on I’ve become less and less sure of that, and on top of that I’ve recently begun to realize just how much it’s affecting me. It’s not just that I lie awake at night and am tired the next day. I am constantly an emotional wreck, I have no energy, and I’ve been getting sick more and more often as my immune system takes its toll. And there is no end in sight.
I’ve pondered much about suffering. Silvio has depression, and I’ve been learning how much I struggle with anxiety. Over the last few years, God has taught me so much about suffering. How it makes so obvious the truth that I can rely only on Him. How He is my strength. How suffering valiantly can purify me into a person worthier of Heaven. That suffering is in many ways a gift.
I clung to that. But I clung too hard.
I began to unconsciously assume that all God wanted of me or for me was suffering. He even started teaching me about joy, but even that I thought could only be found in the midst of suffering.
As for insomnia, depression, and anxiety, I hardly dared to ask for healing. It’s not that I thought it was wrong to ask–it’s just that I’ve seen God turn my suffering into something so much greater than what I could’ve had without the suffering that I didn’t want to presume to beg away God’s process when God saw the whole picture and I didn’t–and though painful, things always did end well. What if I need these disorders in order to become wiser, holier, whatever I’m supposed to be?
Dad challenged that this week.
He recounted the manner of Jesus’ ministry, that He healed people–that’s what He did. Dad insisted on his belief that God wants us to be whole and well–that sometimes He doesn’t heal us right away for whatever reason, but He does want to heal us–and we must not get tired of or give up on asking. Like the parable of the woman who got what she wanted because she kept pleading to the point of even being an annoyance. I must not give up on asking or believing that God wants to heal me. Yes, I must believe that–I have believed that He wants to heal people; but not that He wants to heal me. I must believe that He wants to heal me and beg for healing, knowing that He’ll give it to me.
But I just don’t believe that. To which Dad reminded me to pray, like that father in the gospels, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!”
Jesus heals people and God wants me whole. God wants to use me, and I suspect healing will be part of who I am and my story in a way that shapes me–but also, I have to believe in healing because I cannot live up to my potential if I am always an invalid. And in my heart of hearts, though that may be some people’s way of salvation and evangelization, I do not believe that it is mine.
How do I accept my current level of healing and have hope for a full healing all at once? I think God gave me this insight:
Accept where I am, but only in this moment.
Hope is for the next moments.
The above painting is by Yongsung Kim.