I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For as long as I can remember, I was taught that I was a Child of God, that the Heavenly Father loved me, that life had a purpose and a plan, and that my worth was divine. But that knowledge and those answers weren’t truly mine until I became sick.
When I got sick, for the first time in my life, I questioned my faith.
I questioned if there was a point to this life, if my pain could have a purpose, and why bad things happened to good people. I questioned if God truly loved me, (because if he loved me why would he let me be so sick?) if my illness was some sort of wrath filled punishment, because I wasn’t “good enough,” or if He just didn't care that I suffer. I honestly got to the point where I questioned if there was even a God at all.
As I began this eight year long quest to find a diagnosis, I went on a simultaneous one to find/ get to know God. And even though I am still in the thick of trying to find a diagnosis, I have most definitely found God along with the answers to those spiritual questions I had been yearning for .
The thing is. when it comes to Faith, the evidence will never be “concrete.” There is no blood test, imaging, or EKG that will tell you God is real, life has a purpose, and that your faith is worthwhile. Because that “evidence“ and that faith, comes through experiences and feelings. And once I experienced them, there was no way I could ever deny them.
For example, the day I truly learned that there is a God, and that he loves me limitlessly, was the exact same day I convinced myself he truly must not exist: the day before I was given my first NJ tube.
I remember lying on that hospital bed, feeling like I could honestly die in that ER bay.
I remember over and over telling myself, that God must not exist, because someone all powerful who supposedly loved me would never let me feel like this! My hope was gone, my faith was demolished, my body was just barley hanging on, and my world had never felt so dark. But a still small voice kept gnawing inside of me, begging, and pleading me to pray. So, with nothing to loose, I bowed my head and absolutely poured my whole soul out in prayer. I felt this warmth, and this love that I had never felt anything like before. It was like all those parts of my soul, that were so black, were all the sudden bursting with light. And even though I had never been so physically weak, that week and a half in the hospital, I was able to move forward with a strength that most definitely wasn't my own.
Funnily enough, it seems like all of my major “ faith affirming moments” have happened in a similar way. My most fervent prayers have been said and answered while lying in an MRI bed and I discovered the purpose to this earthy life, right before I was wheeled into a surgery that could have ended my life. Another time at the Mayo clinic, when I honestly didn't have the physical, emotional, or mental strength to move forward, and wanted to return to my heavenly home I was given, strength, hope, and quite honestly angels, while sitting in a tiny little hospital chapel.
I believe that whether your world is full of darkness, or bursting with light, that God is there, cheering you on, mourning when you mourn, and standing there with arms wide open, just waiting for you to come to Him and ask for His help.
Some people have told me that their trials, and especially their illness, has destroyed their faith. However for me it is through the experiences I’ve had because of my chronic illness that I have found the answer to every single one of the questions I had when my health “journey” began regarding faith. And I can honestly say without my faith, I wouldn’t be who I am today, and I honestly don’t believe I would even be here today .
I will never be grateful for my illness, but I will always be grateful for the hope, strength, and most importantly the faith it led me to finding.
Megan is a 22 year old professional patient from, as she says, a small town you have never heard of. She loves animals, service projects, singing, writing, food, and is obsessed with unicorns. She has found my passion in writing and sharing my journey with chronic illness. Follow her at @thelifeofmesmilemagee on Facebook, Instagram, blogger, and YouTube.