What My Chronic Illness Taught Me about the Grace of God

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“You have a headache again? It’s like you always have them.”

I blinked at the person who said this to me, even though I really wanted to break down crying. Yes, I wanted to say. I ask that question of myself all the time.

Ever since I can remember I have grown up with chronic migraines. My migraines range in intensity from being pain levels of 12 (on a scale of 1-10 that is), to being just painful enough to cause brain fog that keeps me from interacting normally.

At the beginning of 2018, I was in pain constantly. Looking back on my January, February, and March, I spent most of my time after coming home from work laying down in a dark room trying to block out the intense pain.

If you don’t know me, you don’t know how difficult this was to accept with my lifestyle.

You see, I’m a writer.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember and in the last several years of my life, God has used my writing as my greatest form of ministry. I have been humbled to see how He has used my words through my books, blogs, and magazine articles for His glory.

But as a busy writer, my life was almost always on the computer. I was always sitting down behind a computer screen and typing out my heart. However, the computer screen was triggering much of my headaches.

And this hurt even more than the migraines.

I would cry out to God. Why are You letting this happen to me? Why am I in so much pain?

I wanted to honor Him. I wanted to glorify Him with my words and I desired to share my words in a way that would impact the world for Him. And I could not understand why He was letting the migraines stop me.

Instead of answering my “why,” He simply opened my heart to a passage of Scripture that changed my life.

“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NKJV)

You see, Paul was in a similar situation.

I don’t know what his thorn in the flesh was. Maybe it was a physical disability. Maybe it was something spiritual or emotional. But I do know that he wanted God to get rid of it and he begged God to remove it three times.

Yet God replies in a way that often puzzles me…

My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.

Not healing. Not an immediate removal of what Paul so desperately wanted taken away. Just grace. His perfect grace.

Maybe…maybe I don’t need this healing as much as I need to know more of His grace. Maybe in leaning on His strength when I have none left, that’s when I discover that He’s had it under control all along. And maybe in the middle of all His boundless, perfect grace, He’s healing me after all.

What I learned is that I don’t need to have perfect health to follow His calling on my life. Because when I’m weak, He is strong enough. And in all the places I fall short, He fills it with more of Himself.

Maybe I’ll battle these migraines for the rest of my life. Maybe He’ll take them away in a year, ten years, or twenty.

But I know either way, He’s got me covered in grace.

He’s got you covered too, friend. Whatever your thorn in the flesh may be. He’s got it all under control and all He asks is that you’ll come to Him and let His strength be perfect in your weakness. He wants you to trust it all with Him.

His grace is sufficient for you right here, right now.

Keep pressing on.

Isabella Morganthal

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Isabella Morganthal (21) is a writer, dreamer, and most importantly a child of God. She founded her own magazine ministry six years ago and is also a writing coach. You can connect with her at her blog, Worth it All, where she posts weekly.

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