When Hope Is Lost

Do you ever find yourself wondering Where is God? Does He hear me? Does He care? Will things ever go the way I want them to?

About 10 years ago, I was there. After suffering from a concussion, I had a headache that wouldn’t go away. My “severe minor head injury” went under-diagnosed for weeks and months, partially because in addition to the constant headache, my mind was cloudy. I didn’t realize that I was slow in responding to easy questions, I was tired all the time, I couldn’t walk a straight line – these were things I started to understand once I started getting better. In the meantime, I prayed.

But my prayer was mostly “God, why me? Will I ever get better? Will this headache go away?” I wanted my circumstances to change and I wanted a reason for why I was suffering. The months dragged on, while I was still in pain and doctors had few answers.

One night I couldn’t sleep because of the pain and finally got up around 5am, drove to the lake, and watched the sunrise. Even though I felt like God had been silent for months of my asking, I still read the Bible everyday. I happened to be in Job. If you’re familiar with Job’s story, you know that he lost everything – his children, his business, his house, his health. But still he praised the Lord. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, naked I will return. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

Throughout the book of Job, his friends come to sit with him but tell him his loss is his fault. Job’s wife tells him to curse God and die. But Job did not sin. At the end of Job, God finally answers… but His answer isn’t what you think. God didn’t tell Job why his children died, or why Job was suffering from an illness.

“Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm: … ‘Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations? … Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb? …Have you ever given orders to the morning or shown the dawn its place?… Do you send the lightening bolts on their way? Do they report to you?'” (Job 38).

The Lord continues speaking for two chapters, asking Job these questions, and showing that God takes care of the whole earth and every person and every animal, even that he knows when mountain goats give birth. Then God tells Job to answer Him. And Job is like “nevermind” (I’m paraphrasing).

When I read this in the midst of my concussion, I felt like Job – suffering, with God silent, and no answers. But I took God’s “answer” to Job as His answer to me – He knows what He’s doing. He is Creator and Sustainer of everything on earth and He loves me. He says I am valuable. Surely He cares for me. He has a plan for my life and if He wants me to go through this suffering then He will help me along the way.

My circumstances didn’t change after that. The severe headaches remained, but my attitude got better. My hope was renewed because my hope is in the Lord.

If you find yourself losing hope, keep hanging on. Keep praying, keep reading the Bible, and trust that God will help you find hope again. If you seek Him, you will find Him. Faith is more than feelings. Keep hanging on.

After about 9 months of a constant migraine, God healed me. The pain went away and the part of my brain that was affected got better. No explanation. But finally relief. Learning to trust God through the concussion laid a foundation for me to know I can trust God – through losing Caleb, through bedrest with Jack, and through whatever else may lie ahead.