Tunnel Vision (An Open Letter to God)

Dear God,

Remember me? We met a long time ago. We got really close a few years ago. I haven’t heard from You in a while, so I thought I’d check in.

I’ve been doing okay, sometimes. Less-than-okay at other times. Actually quite often. I’m usually kept busy with that thing I’ve had going on for a while now. You know, chronic pain. I’ve been in pain since before You and I had the DTR, when I decided to trust You completely. So really You should know by now how much it’s affected my life. You should know about the daily struggle to simply function, the setbacks in my goals, and the complete career change that resulted from the pain.

Not that I’m trying to only complain. It’s true that You’ve gotten me through many hard times. And I’d like to think that I’ve given You the credit.

But there’s something that’s been bothering me, and I think You ought to know. I often feel pain more than I feel Your presence. God. where are You on the hardest days? The I-can’t-get-out-of-bed days, the every-body-part-hurts days, especially the how-long-Oh-Lord days?

My own body taunts me, saying, “Where is your God?” (Psalm 42:10).

You say that when two or more or gathered in Your name, there You are (Matt. 18:20). But what about the times when I’m all alone? Where are you then?

Where are you when I am either yelling from pain or silenced by pain, having to remind myself to breathe?

I feel like no one understands, or is attempting to understand, what I’m going through.  My life feels surrounded by darkness, like I’m traveling down a never-ending tunnel.

I’m trying to go back to the times when I felt You near me, when I felt that You knew how much pain I was in. I guess You did leave me Your Word to remember You by. Maybe I can remember what You would say if You were with me and could feel my pain. I turn to Your Word and see that You, God, are not exempt from suffering.

I see You, Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane. The sweat from Your brow reveals that even Your body–fully man and fully God–was wondering where Your Father was.

I see You with me in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4). I’m never alone.

Not only that–I see that You’re with me in the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37). When I have to remind myself to breathe, You breathe life back into me. I could have a perfectly functioning body but would be nothing without Your breath of life.

The person I read about in Your Word is not who I’ve recently imagined You to be. Each  time I assign to You a label of unfaithfulness, apathy, or malevolence, I commit the greatest act of misunderstanding. I’m sorry, Lord.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

Psalm 139:7-12

You must have seen the tears rolling down my face as I walked down the halls of the hospital. You must have heard my gasping for air when the pain was overwhelming. You must have. Because You were there.

You see. You hear. You’re here.

God, remind me that You are beside me, holding my right hand as You offer Your help and tell me not to fear (Isaiah 41:13).

Remind me that You are behind me, telling me which way to go (Isaiah 30:21).

Remind me that You are beneath me, as my foundation more solid than a rock, helping me withstand the storm (Matthew 7:24-25).

Remind me that You are above me, residing over both the powerful and the humble, as You observe everything I’m going through (Isaiah 40:22-23).

Remind me that You are in front of me, as the end goal for the race set before me (Hebrews 12:1-2). You’re the light at the end of this tunnel. Although I may still feel the darkness around me, You, the lamp to my feet, provide enough light for me to take one step at a time (Psalm 119:105).

Remind me that You are in me, giving my weak and dysfunctional body intrinsic worth (1 Corinthians 6:19).