God drew near me in my need

This Advent season, we have the opportunity to reflect on this deep and incredible commitment God has made – becoming human. We’ll consider four areas where Christ’s coming creates a new paradigm for the way we live.

Our theme in week one is Vulnerability. Although all power and authority was his, Jesus came to earth as a helpless and dependent baby. The incarnation leads us to be vulnerable, willing to open up our lives, to be honest about our questions, fears, and hopes, and depend on others in our need. We also seek to care for those who are vulnerable. 

God drew near me in my need

In 2012 I suffered a severe concussion, leaving me out of work and in a dark room for 2 months. In the years since, even the slightest bump to the head can mean another concussion for me. This past summer, I suffered my fifth and sixth concussions within a month of each other. To say I felt vulnerable is an understatement. I was unable to open my eyes in light without searing pain and dizziness, I could not answer simple questions without becoming overwhelmed and crying. My brain felt like sludge with slow thinking and the headaches and vertigo were my constant companions. I got frustrated needing to depend on others for everything. Unable to drive, work, cook, or even be in a lit room, I would just cry. I felt so useless. So worthless. Just sitting in a dark room with nothing to offer. 

I started to experience anxiety and fear. For the first time ever, I found myself avoiding prayer. I was having a hard time trusting God to protect me. I felt abandoned. I felt like I was in my own personal prison cell. 

One day during the slow recovery process, I went into my yard and prayed an honest and bold prayer. I told God I was struggling to trust Him, and I proceeded to list all of the reasons why. In the middle of my list, I was suddenly overcome with a flood of joyful memories, pictures of past answered prayer, reminders of God’s fulfilled promises, faces of people with whom my pain had created bridges. In that moment of utter despair, I felt peace. I felt comfort. 

I have learned so much through this time of suffering. I still have residual nerve pain, light sensitivity and anxiety. Some days I struggle with the fear of being in that dark place again. But I’m learning to trust God and not to lean on my own understanding. Jesus doesn’t avoid pain. He comes into our world and makes our pain His pain. In my vulnerability, God drew near to me. And that compels me to draw near to others. 

Are you trusting God with your pain today? Offer it to Him in prayer. Who do you know who is in a vulnerable state that you could draw near to in this season? 

Story by Sarah Gaston

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