IT’S THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK.
It’s wrenching enough. But it’s made even more so for me because it comes from a friend.
Here’s the question I got on Friday from Nancy L.
“Why does God seem to allow His people to suffer? Even when He sees they are really struggling and at the end of their rope? There are so many times I am so discouraged, I wish I could just die and be done with it!”
I’ve known Nancy since the 1970’s, when I was still living with my parents back in Akron, Ohio—some 800 miles from my Kansas City-area home today.
Nancy is in her mid-50s.
I got an earlier note from her a few weeks ago. It was her response to another person’s comment about some health struggles.
“I, too, am struggling. I have chronic pancreatitis. I am in pain daily. It took 5 years and 24 doctors to give my pain a name. I was out of pain for several years, and then I moved to a new city. The only pain management doctors in the area do not like pain pumps (a pump implanted into the abdomen to administer pain medication in small doses 24/7). So he removed it. The pain is back. I just had my oral pain meds increased. I have other health issues. I just don’t understand why. Wish it would end.”
I’ve been getting a lot of comments and questions lately about suffering. Most folks want to know why God is a do-nothing who lets us suffer on and on.
Others, like my Ohio friend, say they’ve had it. They can’t take it anymore. They want to die.
My wife’s a nurse. So I paused in writing this long enough to go downstairs and talk with her.
I told her that Nancy has pancreatitis.
My wife’s face scrunched as she said, “Oh. Pancreatitis is very painful.”
I said, “The doc took her pain pump away. What should she do?”
“Find a doctor who will give her the pain pump.”
Nancy, park the spiritual part of your question on the Back Forty. Forget it for now.
Deal with the physical part of your question.
I speak to you as a friend, in a tone I wouldn’t use for other people who ask Bible Questions of the Week: Nancy, get your butt to another doctor.
You shouldn’t have to suffer through a pain marathon that goes on and on—long enough that you want to quit the race and kick your own bucket.
Kick your doctor’s bucket instead. Fire his fanny.
If his receptionist calls for a follow up and asks for Nancy L., just say, “Oh, she’s dead. She died putting a curse on some doctor who refused to give her a pain pump. Have a nice day.”
Nancy, I know where you live. There might not be any pain management centers in your neighborhood. But there are good ones within an hour’s drive. Cleveland Clinic is the most famous. It’s a solid hospital in a part of the country with great Polish sausage.
There are ones even closer. I’ve Googled some in Akron and Barberton.
Let me know if you need help finding someone. If you’ve got transportation problems, heck Nancy, we can work through that.
Don’t be messing with theological questions about why God does want he does and why he doesn’t what he doesn’t.
Not when you’re drowning in pain.
Instead of asking God what in the dickens is going on and why he’s sitting on his thumbs, thank him.
Thank him for docs who specialize in pain management and for Google to help you find a good one.
To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to laugh,
And a time to do drugs.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 3 NKJV, STEVE
Just say yes.
This post really touched me, Steve, because, as you know, someone very near to me suffers similar pain issues. It’s all complicated by ER doctors and nurses who assume, when the pain drives her to the ER, that she’s just a drug addict.
And it’s definitely been a challenge to my faith and times, as well as hers.
Stephen M. Miller
I know a little about the medical field. I’ve helped the Mayo Clinic write 10 medical books, my wife is an RN and my daughter is a Nurse Practioner. Some docs don’t get it. They don’t relate to patients in pain.
Rise St Arno
God works in mysterious ways. I read your blogs faithfully, but this one was what I needed. I have fibromyalgia a very mysterious and painful condition. Today when I woke up it was unusually painful. It hurt to walk, sit or lie down, and today both of my hands feel like the bones are broken. I wanted to post my pain on Facebook, kind of a little pity party in the ether, then I read your advice to Nancy. THANK YOU.
The Bible verse at the end of my favorite and I needed to be reminded.
It took about 15 minutes to type this, but I thought it was important to know that I read your writings even when they don’t have your wonderful dog’s photo.
Stephen M. Miller
Thank you, Rise. I know that docs for many years didn’t believe fibromyalgia was legit, and that it really caused pain. My mom suffers from this, too. Take it slow today, if you can. I’ll pray that the day ahead is easier for you, with diminished pain.
Stephen M. Miller
I got a private message from another friend who wanted me to pass her notes on to Nancy L.
I asked my friend if I could post it here, without her name, so others could read it, too. She graciously agreed. Here are her words:
“Nancy – you don’t know me but Steve does. I want to tell you that while our diagnoses are different, we have traveled down the same path in so many ways. Pain is pain is PAIN. And there are good doctors – and there are bad ones. I spent 17 years being bumped between 2 diagnoses – one is treated one way, one is treated another. When the final diagnoses came – I have Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy and let me assure you – it’s painful. If it’s too hot the muscles cramp and won’t work – if it’s too cold, they cramp and don’t want to work. It feels like needles running up and down my legs and now my right arm on a daily basis. I’m on oral pain meds as well but to get to that point – I have “Fired” 7 different doctors. Why? Because they did not respect ME as their patient and did not listen to what I had to say. PLEASE dear one – do NOT be afraid to fire this doctor and take your health issues elsewhere – even to another city close by if needs be.
“I understand your frustration with our God and the healing but I PROMISE you – if you get your pain under control again …. the picture won’t be so bleak and God’s answers will seem a lot simpler.
“Sometimes people need the reminder that even though they act like it – doctors are not “gods”
You are a very wise man — I need to kick my butt a few times to the Doctor myself!
God did put these doctors here on earth to help us deal
with certain situations.
I am so sorry the agony day in and day out. Sometimes we. as humans do not understand God’s purpose
Although his purpose is love always. Then why the suffering and so much pain. My prayers go out to all the sick people in this world. And just like Nancy L. there are a lot of sick people that just would love for that day to come and be done with it.
Unfortunately it’s up to the man upstairs. May God be your shield and lead you to the right doctors Nancy L
Great question and great response, Steve! Get to another doctor, sister, and BE YOUR OWN BEST ADVOCATE! You know what you need.