Chronic pain and GodI am really struggling with the fact that I think I have finally given up on believing there is a God.

I just can’t possibly understand the purpose of my housebound life. A life where my spine requires I eat my meals laying down, a life without the ability to have children (whether adopted or my own), unable to drive, go to the movies, grocery shop, and a long list of other “normal” every day activities. Add to that days when I am unable to shower, make a simple meal for myself and walk from my bedroom to the kitchen. Deriving some purpose or point to my disabling chronic pain seems impossible. I ask “why would God allow this”? Why should anyone have to feel like EVERY day is a major struggle? Why should anyone live with this little quality of life?

For the first few years of dealing with chronic pain I held onto my faith despite losing the ability to fly, jog, garden and work full-time. I grieved the losses but pushed forward, striving to be grateful for what I still could do and believing God had a plan for me. Over the past three years as the level of my disability  significantly increased, my faith in God was often the only thing that kept me going. I would pray and tell myself I was not alone; that I always had God. I even had people trained in faith healing come and pray with me as I lay flat in my bed week after week. I longed to believe their words telling me that God is real, God is good and always with me. However, as my physical disabilities continued to decrease so did my level of faith in God. Now today as I lay here living a primarily horizontal life barely managing to do the basics of self-care each day, I realize that I have come to a place where I no longer believe in God.

I am saddened by the fact that I have lost my faith. I stare at my “Believe” sign hanging in the living room and wish I still could.

11 comments on “Disabled from chronic pain, I am questioning my faith.”

  1. I understand your struggle 100%. I’m in the process of redifinng my purpose. I never lost my faith that there is a God or that Jesus died for me. I did wonder what good am I to God? I know for a fact He has a plan for me I just couldn’t see with my human heart what good I could be. Why would he allow this to happen to me?
    I was reminded that God created the universe why would he not be capable of using me. Just because I can’t see what purpose I could serve doesn’t mean that there isn’t a purpose for me.

    I am also working on letting go of what I used to be able to do. The things I used to define me. As long as I hang on to the past I will never be able to go forward. Its tough and a little scary.

    Your sign that says Believe is a big tool for you. Did God change? Did his promises change? Did what made you believe in him in the first place change or did what you had planned for your life change?
    Believe. Trust. Faith, true faith, of believing in what we cannot see.

  2. I have the same sign but for me its not a reference to a belief in God. I understand there are people that need to believe in God or they need to believe there is an afterlife……for them the day to day challenges we face and the few moments of joy thrown in, they all have to mean something or lead to some big thing, People like that don’t live day to day…everything is done with a goal in mind, everything they do has to ultimately lead to some big tah-dah moment and when I think about how many times we hear of a life being unexpectedly cut short due to an accident or illness I wonder if maybe something goes off on those peoples minds that says, maybe I should stop and smell the cappucino…you know, chillax for a moment and toss my security banky, i.e., God. I too live with 24/7 chronic pain and have been fighting for disability for 5 years and been denied twice. Its my age, being educated and white. They said that, and I am all those things. I don’t know if I believe in God…..I prefer to deal with my crap rather than say God will take care of me so I will put myself in his hands. I was not raised to rely on someone else to give me day to day happiness, to save me or support me. I was born into a family that said I need to be responsible and learn how to take care of myself and not to rely on a man or anyone else…I create my own life, my own happiness and my own problems and at the end of the day its only me so when I come up against someone that has real problems, perhaps they are financial and they throw up their hands and say its in gods hands now, I want to smack them!! I do empathize with how you feel and I do know chronic pain. But as far as not believing in God for the reasons you give….I dont think God has anything to do with this nor any power to heal. Not understanding what your health conditions stem from I am hesitant to comment but I will say maybe not having God run your life, putting your belief in God will not leave you disappointed in life. I learned a long time ago not to rely on anyone for happiness or answers to questions I had, most of which started with ‘why….’ Perhaps you have the strength somewhere within and maybe without your safety net of God being there you will learn a lot about yourself and perhaps have a good day or two. And these are just my thoughts…but I felt your pain and the kind we share which is 24/7 is truly exhausting.

  3. Daisy… looks like I’m jumping in to this conversation a bit late… which, if you knew me better, you’d see that’s pretty much my standard modus operandi… once I’m dead I’ll finally be described accurately — The Late Mr. Young… meh…

    Anyway, getting back on-topic… I’ve been/am on both sides of this particular issue… I was raised a good suburban Lutheran… (later in life, a card-carrying member of “Adult Children of God-Fearing Republicans”…) and I was a very active member of the faithful flock… And I truly believed… down to my core…

    When my chronic pain kept me from driving to church every week and my back just couldn’t take the hardwood pews anymore, I was amazed how quickly this church, this self-titled “community of faith”, to which I freely gave so much of my time and energy, just turned its back on me… in my “hour of need” they were nowhere to be found… Now that’s not the only reason I began questioning my faith… there were many other factors… but question I did… and I researched other spiritual options…

    I’m still not quite sure how to classify myself in religious terms… lately I’ve been stuck on agnostic… then again, the last time I saw my therapist I surprised myself by blurting out that the only reason I’m not calling myself an atheist is that my mother’s still alive… huh… I had no advanced knowledge that I felt that until I told him… and myself… guess sometimes you just have to listen to yourself… literally! 🙂 My point is, if you’re having doubts, listen to yourself… research the alternatives…

    It can be daunting to begin to understand that something you’ve believed all your life could all just turn out to be a big bag of crap… I know it was for me… but the truth is the truth and isn’t it better to know what the truth actually is? Well, to use one of my favorite new quotes, go ahead and “Carpe the Fuck right out of this Diem!”

    In my research, I discovered a book by Richard Dawkins, “The God Delusion”. It really opened my eyes to Atheism and brought into focus that questions and uneasiness I had about my faith in recent years were really the beginnings of realizations that I was on the wrong track all along… I also recently found another two books… definitely less “cerebral” than Dawkins, BUT more fun to read… written by Penn Jillette… “Every Day is an Atheist Holiday!” and “God, No!”

    You might want to give those books a read through… and Google “atheist quotes”… there’s good points and clever quips a-plenty in those results, but they do also contain more wisdom in a line or two than in many books… some of my favorite quotes I’ve found follow below…

    Sorry for being so long-winded… some subjects just get me going…

    Peace,

    Dave

    ==========

    “You’re basically killing each other to see who’s got the better imaginary friend.”
    – Richard Jeni

    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
    – Epicurus

    “Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man — living in the sky — who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do.. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! …But He loves you.”
    – George Carlin

    “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.”
    – George Bernard Shaw

    “I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence.”
    – Doug McLeod

    “Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions.”
    – Blaise Pascal

    “You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep-seated need to believe.”
    – Carl Sagan

    “The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church.”
    – Ferdinand Magellan

    “A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”
    – Albert Einstein

    “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”
    – Susan B. Anthony

    “Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.”
    – Napoleon Bonaparte

    “Those who believe absurdities will commit atrocities.”
    – Voltaire

    “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”
    – Benjamin Franklin

    “I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded on fables and mythology.”
    – Thomas Jefferson

    “The essence of Christianity is told us in the Garden of Eden history. The fruit that was forbidden was on the tree of knowledge. The subtext is, All the suffering you have is because you wanted to find out what was going on.”
    – Frank Zappa

    “Prayer has no place in the public schools, just like facts have no place in organized religion.”
    – School Superintendent on “The Simpsons” episode #1

    “There’s nothing an agnostic can’t do if he really doesn’t know whether he believes in anything or not.”
    – Monty Python

    “A man without religion is like a fish without a bicycle.”
    – One of Murphy’s Laws

    “We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.”
    – H. L. Mencken

    “The difference between faith and insanity is that faith is the ability to hold firmly to a conclusion that is incompatible with the evidence, whereas insanity is the ability to hold firmly to a conclusion that is incompatible with the evidence.”
    – William Harwood

    Eskimo: “If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?”
    Priest: “No, not if you did not know.”
    Eskimo: “Then why did you tell me?”
    – Annie Dillard, “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek”

    “The easy confidence with which I know another man’s religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.”
    – Mark Twain

    “The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.”
    – Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890)

    “It is an open question whether any behavior based on fear of eternal punishment can be regarded as ethical or should be regarded as merely cowardly.”
    – Margaret Mead

    “Be thankful that you have a life, and forsake your vain and presumptuous desire for a second one.”
    – Richard Dawkins

    “Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-o, and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have.”
    – Penn Jillette

    “Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature.”
    – Carl Sagan

    “‘There are no atheists in foxholes’ isn’t an argument against atheism, it’s an argument against foxholes.”
    – James Morrow

    “Why should I allow that same God to tell me how to raise my kids, who had to drown His own?”
    – Robert G. Ingersoll

    “So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.”
    – Bertrand Russell

    “‘Faith’ means not wanting to know what is true.”
    – Friedrich Nietzsche

    “I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.”
    – Richard Dawkins

    “Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense.”
    – Chapman Cohen

    “Everything is more or less organized matter. To think so is against religion, but I think so just the same. When did I realize I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself.”
    – Peter O’Toole, The Ruling Class

    “I don’t believe in an afterlife, so I don’t have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.”
    – Isaac Asimov

    “It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”
    – Carl Sagan

    “I don’t want students who could make the next major breakthrough in renewable energy sources or space travel to have been taught that anything they don’t understand, and that nobody yet understands, is divinely constructed and therefore beyond their intellectual capacity. The day that happens, Americans will just sit in awe of what we don’t understand, while we watch the rest of the world boldly go where no mortal has gone before.”
    – Neil deGrasse Tyson

    “The World is divided into armed camps ready to commit genocide just because we can’t agree on whose fairy tales to believe.”
    – Ed Krebs

    “I’m a polyatheist – there are many gods I don’t believe in.”
    – Dan Fouts

    “Praying is like a rocking chair — it’ll give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.”
    – Gypsy Rose Lee

    “Christians worship a dead Jew on a stick.”
    – George Carlin

    “To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy.”
    – David Brooks (The Necessity of Atheism)

    “But I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell, possibly. It doesn’t frighten me.”
    – Richard Feynman

    “Who needs Satan when you have a God like this?”
    – Robert M. Price

    “Stop lying to children – Break the cycle of religion.”
    – Bumper Sticker

    “Thank god I’m an atheist…”
    – Salvador Dali

    “Religion. It’s given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.”
    – Jon Stewart

    Peace,

    Dave

    • Thank you for your thoughts, quotes and other information. Glad to know I am not alone in the path of figuring out my spirituality. It is a different walk for each one of us but similar in many ways. All the best to you as you move forward.

  4. When I seek to reconcile my faith with my suffering, I always come back to first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

    Q. What is man’s chief end [purpose] in life?
    A. To glorify God and enjoy him forever.

    Even when I am bedridden, I can still glorify God. When I am lying in bed I can still praise, adore, pray, turn my thoughts towards him, and worship him. I can still fulfill his purpose for me when my physical abilities have been taken away.

    This is such an important post. Thanks for your honesty and everything you have written. Email me if you want to talk through it more 🙂 I also have some really great books that have helped me enormously.

  5. Hi,
    I saw your post. I am saddened to what had happened and happening to you and your faith.
    I saw people with disabilities that I think in a worse situation also, just my opinion that can still laugh, believe, love and live their life in accordance to the faith that they hold on to. It’s not my intention to promote or encourage you to change your views, I respect and understand you. I just want to share something that I think worth your time to read. I hope the best for you 🙂
    http://www.elisoriano.com/latest-news/bro-eli-on-loving-the-worthless/
    http://www.elisoriano.com/blog/the-biblical-science-impossibilities-in-the-bible/
    http://www.elisoriano.com/blog/god-is-in-control/

    Shanen 🙂

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