The apostle James was crazy. He wrote “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
That man has not been inside my head during a three-day migraine. Pure joy? Yeah, right.
Lest you think, though, that the last ten years of chronic migraine have been completely useless, I can tell you that I have learned some important things. The main one is my dependence on Jesus. Fifteen years ago, I could have convinced myself that I had my life together. I was a practicing physician with a good marriage and two adorable children. What more could I want? Now, I’m lucky to get through a day without a miserable headache.
But, this is a good place to be. I can’t pretend to be able to get through life on my own. Really, fifteen years ago, I was just as dependent on Jesus; I just had days or weeks that I would forget that and try to make do myself. Nowadays, before I even get out of bed, I’m reminded of how broken I am. It’s the physical brokenness that reminds me, but it’s the spiritual brokenness that’s so debilitating. And it would be there with or without the headaches.
We’re all broken before Jesus. That’s what it means to be human. We’ve all sinned and, even though we’re forgiven, that tendency to sin hasn’t gone away. And the sin from the rest of the world has broken us in other ways: emotionally and spiritually. My physical pain is just a reminder that I need Jesus every day.
Maybe I should “consider it pure joy” . . . .