Agonizing in the dimness of my bedroom, propped up into four or five pillows, waiting for the clumsy buzz of my second round of migraine medication to kick in, I heard the doorknob turn.
As the door opened, my eyes found the slender silhouette of my little princess, my daughter Glory, tiptoeing toward the bed. She cautiously joined me on top of the covers, careful not to shift the precarious angle I’d found for my head, the coveted position where the least amount of pain shoots from the base of my skull through my brain to blow a hole in my melon. She’d come to comfort her daddy. I welcomed her, grateful for her concern. She rested her head gently against my chest, wrapping me in a tender hug.
I’d been praying, asking God for strength, inviting the Holy Spirit to fill me with what I needed to handle the pain and remain faithful. And there, in the dark, came the question:
“Daddy, why does God give you migraines?”
Breathing rhythmically, I answered in mellow tones—normal speech invokes throbbing, but whispers cut like daggers too. Warm softness is the best approach. Besides, this was a holy moment, one where I could help shape the vision of her soul.
I explained that God loved me, that he doesn’t give me migraines. That he hurts when I hurt.
“Then why does he allow you to have migraines?”
I’m in pain, but she is too—pierced by haunting questions and the unfairness of suffering. I talk to her about Adam and Eve and a fallen world, about the privilege of letting Christ in me shine through the brokenness of my body. I dream with her about a day when this body will be no more, when I will enjoy the regal bliss of my eternity in heaven. A day when I’ll look back at all this and realize it has all been worth it, when this life is done and my real one will begin.
“Daddy, don’t talk like that.”
Which gives me the opportunity to talk about death, or rather the fact that Christ lovers never really die. Our bodies don’t last, but that’s all right, because our bodies aren’t designed to hold up to the intensity of our joy in heaven. We’ll need new ones for that. And because she and I share a faith in Christ, we’ll spend eternity together.
As we speak, I hold her firmly and marvel as the peace of Christ gradually rises like a sunrise over the hills and valleys of her heart, chasing away the shadows… at least for today. I thank you, Father God, for this migraine—it created a special chance for you to shine, for me to show my faith in a context that can’t be manufactured.
I’m able to type this because, mercifully, the medication has shoved the pain aside for now, leaving me numb and a little dimwitted. That’s okay. It was all worth it.
Even before heaven.