When God Takes Your Headache Away… And Not Mine!

Sometimes I really enjoy Facebook. The day before yesterday, I looked at my wall and laughed out loud at two different posts. That is a pretty common experience for me.

The day before that, however, was easily a different story.

I quickly grow weary of all the God posts. God is taking care of this, handling that, working through this, and fixing that.

That and This. This and That. With a snap of the divine fingers… With a wave of the heavenly hand… Headaches went away. Marriages were rebuilt. School grades went up, etc. Everything you can imagine is fixed, cured, and restored.

Who couldn’t love a God like that?

But the biggest irritant was this story of a really bad day… I woke up late, had trouble starting the car, took too long at lunch because my sandwich was made wrong, phone battery dies, and at the end of the day, the foot massager wouldn’t work.

I understand how frustrating those things could be. But worse was the way, God supposedly explained the whys and wherefores of what was really going on…

God let this person oversleep because He was battling the death angel at his bedside.
The car wouldn’t start because God was protecting him from a drunk driver coming down the road.
The lunch time sandwich had to be remade because it was first made by a sick person and God knew he couldn’t afford to miss any work.
The phone battery dying? God was protecting him from having a conversation with someone who would bear false witness about it.
And finally, God made the foot massager fail because it had a short in it. Had it shorted out, he would have spent the night in the dark with no power…

Does God really work that way? This morning I missed having my normal breakfast. I had to run out of the house carrying an apple and a banana. It finally dawned on me… God made one of the boys sick so I would have to pick him up at school. By making this child feel bad, He made it possible for me to eat a breakfast that could not make me gain any more weight!

It was a divinely orchestrated weight loss plan instituted by God Himself all for my benefit!

How does that sound to you?

I am really being serious here.

Why your headache and not mine?

Seriously. Whose fault is it that your phone battery died? Is there a battery angel that normally makes sure your phone gets mystically plugged in?

When you post things like that, when you speak them to others, what is the message we are supposed to get? God is looking out for you even in the minutiae of your life? Your prayers for protection and guidance are answered because you are some how holier or more righteous?

I am not trying to be snarky. It is not my intent to tear your faith down in the process of rebuilding mine. But, attributing everything in your life as the mysterious work of the mysterious hand of God… that makes me feel like crap–like somehow I am less important, less valuable than you.

Believe me please. I’d love for God to deal with some of the crud in my life. I am far beyond just being weary of the ripple effects put into play by the monster who invaded our lives.

You may think we are happy, happy, happy–and we are to a large extent. We are moving forward–but there are times it is painfully slow. I want to trust God, but I am constantly dumbfounded by the fact that there is so much still to work through, so much God could and should do.

So.
When He gets through taking away your headache, would you mind terribly much if He spent some time working on mine?

Where’s the BC Powders when you need them most?

In my next post, I plan to talk about Job a bit and maybe share my biggest anger with God.

Les Ferguson, Jr.

35 thoughts on “When God Takes Your Headache Away… And Not Mine!

  1. This is going to sound weird, but I think God does protect us from so much that we have no clue about. But then other things, we do have to go through. In some sense I think that makes us like martyrs for Him. There is more than one way for us to die for Jesus, I think.

    The hardest trial of all, perhaps, is going through something as bad as what you did and having no answer for it.

    • I do agree that God is there even in the little things, yet I understand the frustration when it seems like’s He walked away on the bigger….

  2. I was repulsed in church on Sunday when a woman testified that her child had been protected by God from a car wreck because she had prayed over their room that morning. I was physically sick. Then a woman who actually lost her son in a car wreck walked in late and I quietly thanked God she missed the testimony. See, even I bought into that crazy thinking! So, did God make the grieving woman late to Church so that she would be spared the nonsense flowing from the rejoicing woman’s mouth? It’s a slippery slope, isn’t it?

    • I believe it’s possible that God spared that woman the heartache and pain that would have come from hearing the testimony!

  3. I have the same views you do on that Les. Many things have happened over the last 5 years, and I do wonder if there is a time for my happiness. When people say they are blessed: For instance one parent may say “I’m so blessed my child survived”, when the other mother may not be so lucky. I believe that word is loosely used. I am really not sure exactly where it belongs.

  4. How would we talk about God’s blessing in one life without emphasizing the loss in another? I don’t know. I think it is always fine (and a good habit) to thank God for every good thing in your life. When I saw a new Waffle House being built just three blocks from my house, I said, “Thank you Jesus”. My arteries did not reply. Does God manipulate the minutiae of life so as to protect/divert danger? It appears that sometimes he does. I wish He had in both of our lives. I believe that God is just and righteous, even when I cannot see it. That is not an easy pill to swallow.

  5. It’s a mystery at best, but I lean very heavily toward what you’ve written here. I wonder why God would grant good grades to some kid in school while allowing another kid to drown in the swimming pool??? Or that God will provide parking spots close to the store for others and never for me. Classic is a friend of mine who would call and tell me his son just took such and such exam (SAT) would I pray that he made a good grade. Really? The exam was history and he expects God to change the answers for a better grade? I, too, really tire of all the God talk … but I do want to have a thankful attitude as I know you do as well.

  6. Les, I pray for you and your family daily. I read your posts everyday. Thank you for sharing with us. I can’t remember reading if you have ever been mad at the devil. All things evil are from Satan. Satan was behind that monster that tore your sweet family up. Praise God that he will be where he belongs and all the Christians will be praising God. You

    • Yes, I have been mad at Satan. The difference is I don’t ask Satan for protection. I don’t ask Satan to take care for my family. Satan does exactly as I expect. My problem is God did nothing that I thought he would… But that is why I write, to work through it all. Thank you for the prayers and for reading! Please feel free to continue to do both!

  7. This is very hard. There have been times in the past two years when I was in tears as I heard/read of “Great things GOD was doing” for others. The grief and difficulties certainly made me feel that He was not doing (or at least had not done) those great things for us we needed.

    Just three days before the tragedy we faced I posted on Facebook… “If you have a God great and transcendent enough to be mad at because he hasn’t stopped evil and suffering in the world, then you have (at the same moment) a God great and transcendent enough to have good reasons for allowing it to continue that you can’t know.” -Timothy Keller

    Looking at it afterward, it just about made me want to throw up. Reading that doesn’t really fix things. It doesn’t even give peace. But as I see it, I have two options. I can make it my goal to believe it (a goal is something you are working toward, not that you are already a master of) or simply confess my hypocrisy for speaking of things of which I did not know. Perhaps I should do both.

    I want to be able to say like Job,

    “I have declared that which I did not understand,
    Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
    ‘Hear, now, and I will speak;
    I will ask You, and You instruct me.’
    I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
    But now my eye sees You;”

    Love you dad!

    • Kyle, That kind of mirrors my thoughts. At times I read or agree or post or say things that later I think “really?” Yet, I desire to arrive at my end destination, get some answers from God and then say “aahhh, ok….” yet on this earth sometimes it is oh-so-difficult to just acknowledge that.

      I don’t know if anything I said made sense. It did as I wrote it. Anyway, well said, Kyle.

  8. I feel the same Les. I always wondered by people feel that God is protecting their every footstep. He knows every foot step, but I don’t think he is moving stones out of my path. I feel it is arrogant to think that I am worthy of God’s attention for keeping me happy. I have thought that maybe God’s real purpose for me (other than to do his will on this earth) was to open the car door for someone important or something like that. In other words, he is important to me but in his grand plan I must be careful not to think I am overly valuable – only as his child am I valuable.

    • Ron, I think God loves you and cares about you just as much as any other. You are just as important and valuable to Him as anyone else. I don’t believe that God values anyone over and above how much He values you.

      I don’t know you, Ron, but I don’t feel that I need to really know you to say these things.

      Now, there is a difference between importance and arrogance. I don’t believe a spirit of arrogance is congruent with how God would have us behave, but I think God would be glad to have us know that we are important to Him and to His plan.

      I hope you don’t feel that my comments are in any way ‘scolding’ in nature. It just seems to me like you might be having a hard time accepting how much God loves you and how important you are to Him. That makes me sad. But, maybe I infer it all wrong…wouldn’t be the first time. 🙂 Love and Peace to you.

  9. I’ve thought quite a bit about this as I was preparing my seminar material, much of which is on a walk with God. On the one hand, I believe it is ridiculous for us to think that we can only bring up big things to God as we don’t want to bother Him. He is telling every cell in our body where to go and what to do when it gets there every moment of our lives. I too believe we should be thankful for every good thing in our lives.
    But we have enemies constantly working in our lives as well to kill, steal and destroy. Sometimes it is inexplicable that God would allow them to do what they do. I believe my best course is to trust it with God (certainly not easy), look for what He is showing us (what we need to learn) and who we may help along the way. May He direct our steps through it all.

  10. Les, maybe just for a day at a time, an hour at a time, just simply be still with your heart next to God’s and let him be the God who loves you so very much. Just rest in His love. You need peace, true peace. Let Him love you.

    • I’d love that, Graced. And I am trying. But it’s God’s love that causes me such questioning. Why not love me back then? In a form I can readily understand? I suspect my life will always be a series of wrestling matches interspersed with times of peace.

      • It’s easy for me to tell you what might help you. But, with what you have been through, I feel like my words are perhaps useless in light of such monumental evil you experienced. I hope and pray that you find peace.

  11. I was slightly confused by this post. And yet I don’t know what it was that confused me.
    I personally like to see people give credit to God for things… even in the wee things…. yet I understand when one is suffering how irritating that is.
    What I like to see even more is those that are suffering that can give praise to God. Sometimes I struggle with that part in my own life. Actually, truthfully, a lot of time I struggle with that. I have no issue praising and thanking Him for the good but when the bad/difficulties come my way sometimes I struggle.
    I don’t know if a thing I wrote today makes sense. lol
    Thank you for openly sharing your struggles, Les. I thank God for you and your ministry….

  12. I just found your Blog today. My 27 yr. old son died on Oct.9,2011….1 day after your own unspeakable tragedy! I truly understand your grief & pain…..my heart goes out to you! I just read your post” I smelled Cole Today” & it ripped my guts out!! I know the grip of that emotion….I’ve saved Corys’ laundry to this day so that I can smell “THAT CORY SMELL”! My feelings & emotions are very aptly explained in your Blogs. Thank You so much for putting into words what I seem to think & feel constantly. I am not as far along in my grieving process as you seem to be:we each grieve in our own time & way(especially parents who have lost children). I will certainly be keeping up with your Blog from now on.

  13. I think that you have described what I call Religious Narcissism – the idea that God is all about “me” even if I am not really all about Him.

    You still confuse me Les when you speak of being angry at God. But I have given up trying to understand that so I will try to just read and hear what you are saying between the lines.

  14. I don’t comment alot because like most (ex)preachers I can find myself getting too long winded. I relate to the situation posed here on both sides of the issue. When Josh was going through his chronic illness and we didn’t know there might be a light at the end of the tunnel we had to wrestle with where God was in all of it. Since he has been all but cured, we praise God and are sure of the healing from God. There are two things I want to touch on here.

    One is what you are really talking about to me is the will of God. We pray and some are healed and others are not. There is the whole conversation about praying for the will of God etc. I just wanted to point that out but am not going to hijack the post. Second, Just because we are praising Him doesn’t exclude other elements of thought in our mind and heart. I wrote an elaborate explanation but cut and pasted it to avoid the verbose and maybe to post in a blog some day. I can give you an example if I am not clear because of brevity.

  15. I brought up this question with my pastor after Max was killed, and he referred me to a book called “Why” by Adam Hamilton. It helped marginally. I just picked up a different book called “Disappointment with God” by Phillip Yancey that more directly speaks to this … I’m about 1/4 of the way through it and hoping to have some better theology to understand.

    • Adam Hamilton is my pastor Pam. I have been thinking about using the “Why” book in a small group setting but have not read it. Do you think that it would be a good book to use in a small group? -Thanks, Bob

  16. Thanks for this post. I have come across your site via the Drew Marshall show. The older I get and the more knowledge I have of life ‘stuff’ the greater the grief I feel over the sort of easy platitudes that are spoken by so many. How hard they are to understand and accept by those who don’t feel so blessed at the time. I would love to hear your thoughts on the use of the word ‘blessed’ (can I say overuse). Thanks for sharing your story. I am so sorry for the horrible events surrounding your son and wife. I look forward to following your writing in the future.

  17. I heard of your horror story and blog a few weeks ago while I was at the Tulsa Worshop. Since then I have done catching up on your post and blog site. If I am honset, the loss in my life does not even come close to what you are going through and I have not experienced pain like I imagine you are experiencing. I say all of this because despite this my heart breaks every time I think of what happened and I read your posts. I know that I am “fixer” and this is something completely out of my realm and that all I can do is say, “I am sorry that this happened to you” and “I love you and will be praying for you.”

    It is a mystery why your kids have experienced the life they have and I have experienced what most would consider a “sheltered” life from God. Why should you be dealing with this and not everyone else?

    Your story has given me a new set of lense to look through in my own ministry and studies. Stories from the Bible that I have heard many times before are now read in different lights. The story of Isaac has always been one that seems out of place to me and has now finally seemed to make sense to me. When looking at the four Patriarchs we see that Isaac, comparatively, doesn’t do much. We can easily think of what Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph did but there is a reason Isaac is a little more difficult. There isn’t much to his story as the Bible unfolds to us.

    I think part of the reason why God never had Isaac go off and do something great to prove his faith is becasue Isaac at a very early age went through so much emotionally that God (for a lack of better terms) lightened his load in life. Isaac, by all means, was dead. Abraham was going to kill him. He was going to be slaughtered by his father because God told Abraham to do so. It seems like Abraham had faith that God would do something, but I dont think Isaac did. The mere fact that Isaac could even believe in God and accept him as his Lord sounds like a much greater test of faith than anything the other 3 did.

    I think Isaac was deeply wounded emotionally and probably spiritually. I think we dont see as much of Isaac as we do the other three because God was mending and healing Isaac of his hurts. I am not saying this is what God is doing with you but I can see Isaac in your story. And I am truly inspired by your resolve to not give up on your faith and not give up on God. I dont know why God does what he does and any possible answer I can come up with is far from comforting. But it is my hope that just as God was with Isaac and considered him to be of great worth that you and your family can come to this understanding in your struggles. My heart and love goes out to your and your family!

  18. I have the same wrestles in my faith though not from the same tragedies. Where was God and how can you see He destined this when it was choices and wrongdoings of the ones made in His image not God himself.
    If God does work good for those who love him did he once not love me for the things that occurred? Now he does he will turn it around?
    No, I think man likes to spout off scriptures and beliefs and cute phrases in a weak effort to comfort another and perhaps tell themselves not to wrestle God with their own faith because they’ve already got it their knowledge covered in that area.
    I find its always the believers who add insult to injury when tragedy occurs rather than comfort but I guess in saying that we need to seek and find comfort in the one who comforts us.
    When you go on a world tour I’d love to hear you speak. Place Australian on your itinery!!

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