Written By Charlotte Diana, Indonesia
Have you ever been angry with God because of an illness, a physical disability, poverty, or family problems? I have.
Several years ago, I felt some pain in my back, but didn’t think of going to see a doctor. But it got increasingly worse, and one day, I decided to have it checked by a specialist. He did an X-ray, then told me the bad news: I had scoliosis, a curvature of the spine.
Living with this medical condition is tough. I have to change my living practices, such as sleeping on a hard mattress and sitting upright at all times, as well as undergo physiotherapy to straighten my backbone. Sometimes, however, I forget to sit up straight, and the pain is so bad that I can hardly bear it. Perhaps I was born with it, or had made it worse by having a bad posture when I was young.
The condition didn’t just affect me physically, but psychologically as well. I started to grow bitter over it, and became a quiet, withdrawn girl. At times, I felt haunted by guilt over making it worse when I was young. At other times, I felt ashamed of my condition.
I was also worried about my future. Would I be able to find a job? Would the scoliosis interfere with my normal activities? What if no one wants to love and marry me because of my condition? How miserable I would be!
I also started to feel jealous of other people’s physical condition. Everyone seemed to be able to do everything without back pain. They could do a lot of things and walk upright.
That’s when I started to ask—and blame—God. Why did He allow me to have scoliosis? I wondered. If He cares for me, why did He let me suffer? For a long time, I tried to pray to Him, but I just couldn’t.
The frustration I felt about my condition also affected my confidence. For a long period, I was very conscious about what I wore and did not want to cut my hair so that others would not be able to notice my curved back.
But God had not abandoned me. Along the way, I met others with the same illness who were still able to live life to the fullest and enjoy the relationships God had given them. Through their lives, I learned to stop asking “why” and start having faith. Even though I cannot see what my future is like, I have faith that God will provide all my needs, including a job and a future spouse.
The Holy Spirit also enabled me to start praying again. Reading God’s word also taught me how to live my life. I remember God’s promise from Philippians 4:13: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” He reminded me that I could bear every problem, because He would not leave me alone.
Over the past year, I have been learning to put my trust entirely in God. And graciously, He has showed me that all the things I feared would not come true. I found a job, and someone who loved me. The condition is also a constant reminder that I cannot do anything without God’s grace.
When we have God, we can stand firm in our weakness, even though we may never know the reason for our trials and suffering. We can lean on His power and surrender all our weaknesses to Him. Above all, we can hold on to the knowledge that our lives are worth living even though we are not perfect physically, because each of us is valued by God.