When I was fifteen, my life as I knew it took a very sharp turn. I began to have pain in my chest, which, over the course of two years, spread to every part of my body, a surge of burning, throbbing, numbing, overwhelming pain that would not relent. My parents took me to every doctor imaginable searching for answers, but there were none to be found. Many times, they, the doctors, made the problem even worse with their poking and prodding. It was in 2017 (four years after the pain began) that I finally got diagnosed with CRPS (Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome), a nervous system disorder that causes the nerves in my body to flare, triggering intense pain.
Yes, I knew what this invisible enemy was now, but I had nothing to kill it. There was and still is no cure.
In the Winter of 2018, after fighting the battle for so long, and experiencing setback after setback, I found myself in a pit, a few months of depression, despair, and anger. I was angry at my family, my friends, the world, and ultimately God. I thought, “How can a God who claims to love me allow me to endure this overwhelming pain?”
It was at this time that I was reminded of the book of Job, a biblical tale of a man who had everything stripped away from him, possessions, family, and health. His friends condemned him, claiming he had sinned in some way and God was punishing him for it. This was not the case. In fact, Job was striving to live a righteous life.
So, why did God allow Him to endure this suffering?
In truth, there is no answer to that question in the book, which frustrated me at first. However, there was one verse in the entire book that hit me between the eyes.
“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
– Job 1:21b (ESV)
Despite everything that happened to him, Job still trusted God through it all. Did he have moments of frustration, depression, and despair? Absolutely! He was human. And yet, when it came down to it, he fell back on his faith in the Creator of the universe and trusted in His mysterious ways.
It was as though God was pointing to me from His Word and saying, “That’s you, Gabe!” As I began to process it, I began to feel my despair slip away, replaced by a joy I had never experienced before.
In Spring of 2019, as I was slowly ascending from the pit, I picked up my guitar one day and found several sheets of paper in the bottom of my guitar case. On these papers were written three songs, “Out of the Ashes”, “Treasure on the Sand”, and “Where are You, God”. As I looked at them, the tunes came to my mind and I began to play and sing them. My mom called out from another room, “Those are really nice songs, who wrote them?”
I replied, “I think I did?”
I have been songwriting ever since.
Now, by God’s grace, I have found a chiropractic doctor who successfully treats my CRPS, giving me extended times of relief from the pain. Yet, even on my bad days, I still walk in the light and trust in my Heavenly Father to strengthen me. Is the road easy? No, but it is the one I’m on and will continue to walk until the day my Father takes me home.
To all my fellow chronic illness warriors, I have attached my song, “Out of the Ashes (Hope Edition)”.
My prayer is that through it you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, you can find hope in the midst of the darkness. The road we walk is not easy in the slightest, but we are all the stronger for it.
God bless you all,
Gabriel C. King