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A Migraine and a Psalm

I woke up this past Tuesday morning at 2:00 am with a migraine. This isn’t uncommon. I’ve been having migraine headaches for close to thirty years. Sometimes the pain is mild, sometimes severe. Tuesday’s was the latter.

By God’s grace I was able to sleep most of the morning and get out of bed without the nausea that so often accompanies the headaches. I figured I’d head (no pun intended) to the Psalms to read through my 'five psalms a day’ and spend some time in prayer, specifically asking—once again—for complete healing from these headaches.

The first psalm for the day’s reading was Psalm 56. Here is David’s poem song asking God for deliverance from his enemies and his declaration of confidence that God will act to bring that deliverance. 

This psalm floored me. I didn’t get past this psalm to the next four because of the gravity of this verse:

"You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.” (Psalm 56:8 MSG)

I wasn’t running from enemies seeking to take my life as was David. I wasn’t lying awake crying out to God for deliverance from oppression or violence. But I was lying awake, as I have many nights before, asking God to bring deliverance from these headaches and sickness.

Have you ever read a verse for the eight hundred and fifth time and it seemed to connect with you on a much deeper level than it had before? Verse 8 is the verse that did it for me on Tuesday morning. I’ve read this verse so many times without giving it a thought longer than a minute or two. But this time it hooked my heart.

Every toss and turn I’ve made all these years; every sleepless night; every tear I’ve shed; every agonizing plea for God to heal and deliver; every headache, stomach ache, nerve ache and body ache—God knows and God cares.

Think about this: God keeps track of our sufferings because it matters to him. He knows everything we’re going through and how it specifically and intimately effects us. Every physical, emotional and spiritual misery we feel is laid out before him. He knows and he cares.

David knows this to be true. That’s why he can declare in verse 9 that “this I know, that God is for me.” Later he sings, “in God I trust; I shall not be afraid” (v.11). 

The pain and misery I feel in the middle of the night (or early morning or late afternoon) may try to convince me that God is not for me. The pain and misery you feel may try to deceive you into thinking that God cannot be trusted. Don’t give in to those lies. God is always present, always aware, and always cares for what his people are going through. 

Because this is true of God, I can trust him as I continue to pray for healing. I can hold firm to his promise that he is for me and will bring me deliverance. He will answer my plea. It may be today or next Tuesday or the day I stand before his glory. But deliverance is coming—physical, emotional and spiritual.

So when you find yourself tossing and turning in the night, turn to him. When your tears flow, let him collect them in his bottle. When your aches become more than you can bear, cry out to the God who listens, cares and answers.