I’m not having a good night. I’m sitting in my rocking chair with an ice pack on my head, having maxed out on all my meds. Unlike many of my migraines, I actually have an idea of the cluster of things that triggered this one. First of all, I’m in a headache-prone time in my cycle. Second, this is happening in Western Sahara right now. (It’s too long to explain, but our church has been involved along with a church in a larger city in outreach and humanitarian work with the Saharawi people who live in refugee camps in Algeria. The violence is heart-wrenching.) Third, I had my CT scan of the neck today and it was normal.
Why would having a normal neck CT be a headache trigger? Good question. My doctor and I agreed that my symptoms are not at all typical of disc problems in my neck. Nonetheless, since my migraines have been so resistant to treatment, we decided that we should at least take a look at my neck and verify that I don’t have any herniating discs causing my headache issues. The scan itself was short and sweet – well, the position I was in was starting to worsen my usual headache a little bit, but since the scan takes so little time, it wasn’t a big deal. I got my results by computer a couple of hours after I got home. And I can’t say I was surprised that it was normal.
But I’m almost disappointed. I think that, deep down, I was starting to have hope that we might find something treatable. Not that I was all that thrilled with the idea of someone carving on my neck. Yet, if there was a decent chance it would help with the headaches, I would have done it.
Another great idea goes by the wayside.
As I ponder this situation, though, I am reminded that my hope for a joyful and contented life is not found in headache relief. Yes, I really, really want the headaches to go away. But, I can have a good life despite them.
No, my hope is in Jesus who gives me abundant life through my headaches. Romans 5:3-5 says “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Pretty much the whole book of Philippians is Paul reminding the church of God’s sovereignty and the joy we have in Jesus.
I know that God is using my pain somehow for His glory, even if I can’t see how. And so, by His grace (for I can do nothing by myself), I keep moving forward. The headaches might go away or they might not. But, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is the Solid Rock on which I can build my life. And He is himself eternal and provides me with the hope of eternal life.
I’ll get up tomorrow and keep moving forward, obeying Jesus, and living life with the joy that He gives – even if I have a headache.