Seeing in the Land of the Living: God is Not a Jerk (Part 1)

Part 1 of a 10-Part Series – One week later, I had several tests that confirmed the doctor’s assumption. My spinal pressure was nearly double what the normal level should be.

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For as long as I remember I have dealt with migraine headaches. There were years that these headaches sidelined me, however the past several years I have found several natural remedies that have helped me manage the rare occasion that a migraine hits.

However, that all changed in the summer of 2018. In mid-May, I was video chatting with a friend and my left eye started watering like crazy. By the end of our conversation, I had what I thought was the start of a migraine.

The next morning, I woke up and realized that this was much different than a typical migraine for me. The pain was not in my “normal” location, instead, it was just behind my left eye and was very intense. Over the course of the next week, the headache never went away. In fact, I started to notice that I was having problems with my vision as well.

At first, I thought the strange new headache was from stress. Maybe I had too much on my plate and I wasn’t managing it all well? However, when deadlines came and went, and the headache stayed around, I decided that maybe something else was going on.

In early June, I went to get my eyes checked. I hadn’t had my eyes checked in several years, and I really expected the eye doctor would simply confirm that I needed a new prescription and all of the headaches and strange vision issues would go away. However, that’s not at all how it went. I will never forget when the eye doctor turned on the light after my exam and said: “Well, I don’t think you have a brain tumor, however, your optic nerves are swollen and that is concerning.” Never in my life did I expect to hear those words.

I left the eye doctor’s office and drove straight to my family doctor’s office. He looked at everything the eye doctor had done and then scheduled me for an MRI the following week. On the day of my MRI, I had complete peace. During the test, I was able to listen to whatever I wanted, so I chose a Bethel Worship CD. As the MRI raged around me (goodness those machines are loud), I felt like I was in a little worship bubble with Jesus.

A few days after my MRI, the test results came back clear. I rejoiced thinking all of the “scary stuff” was behind us. Unfortunately, I was wrong. My doctor explained the MRI did rule out some of the reasons for the swelling in my optic nerves, but not all of the reasons. He felt it was best to send me to a neurologist.

So in July, I walked into the neurologist’s office, still not convinced this was real life. After reviewing my tests, symptoms and medical history the neurologist shared what he believed was going on. Idiopathic intracranial hypertension is a rare condition where a person’s body creates too much spinal cerebral fluid which creates pressure. Increased pressure can cause optic nerves to swell, and when the swelling is left untreated it can cause blindness. All of my symptoms are considered “textbook” for this condition.

One week later, I had several tests that confirmed the doctor’s assumption. My spinal pressure was nearly double what the normal level should be. Once the doctor’s lowered the levels, my headache finally broke. After nearly 10 weeks of having a strange headache, we left the hospital that day with no headache. I cried happy tears, to finally be headache free. We also left that day with a diagnosis. A rare condition that we still don’t fully understand.

A few weeks after diagnosis, I was left trying to figure it all out. We were still in the midst of working to balance new medications to keep the headaches under control. The new medications caused crazy side effects that opened the door to other conversations we never thought we would have. We didn’t know if or when the pressure would come back. We didn’t know what caused it. We also didn’t know what the diagnosis meant for the future. Basically, we were surrounded by lots of unknowns.

Over the course of 10 weeks, our lives had completely changed. The summer had flown by me because my head hurt too badly to function. I had almost completely stopped reading because my head or eye hurt (which anyone who knows me, knows that it is a really hard thing for me!) I felt like I had lost a lot of what made me who I am because of this crazy condition. All of these questions and unknowns just made me angry.

For the past several years, my husband and I have asked God for a “word of the year” each year. That year, we felt like God gave us the word “rooted”. I was so excited to spend the year doing what I thought “rooted” meant. I love studying the Bible, however, for the first time in years, I changed my study methods and tried new ways to study. I read as many books as I could get my hands on. I worked on memorizing scripture. However, when that all stopped abruptly due to a diagnosis I couldn’t control, I realized my actions were “my definitions” of what the word rooted meant. I never once thought that maybe God’s definition was something different.

All of this came to a head one day in late July 2018. The grief of what was surrounding me in the natural hit me at a new level. I was angry. I hate the phrase “When it Rains it Pours”, but that is exactly what the last few months had felt like, and I started to tell God it just wasn’t right. As I sat in my office I heard the Lord say “roots can’t grow without rain”. Friends, this is when I get really real with you. My first thought was NOT “Oh goodness, that’s a powerful message!” My first thought was “God, you are a jerk.”

As quickly as the thought entered my mind, I felt really guilty. For the past several years, I have dug very deep into scripture, and have gotten to know who my God is and He is a lot of things, but He is NOT a jerk.

God is faithful. Lamentations 3:22-23 says this in the NIV Translation:

Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

God is good. Psalm 100:5 says this in the Passion Translation:

For the Lord is always good and ready to receive you. He’s so loving that it will amaze you — so kind that it will astound you! And he is famous for his faithfulness toward all. Everyone knows our God can be trusted, for he keeps his promises to every generation!

God is forgiving. Isaiah 43:25 says this in the NIV Translation:

I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake and remembers your sins no more.

God is strong and all-knowing. Psalm 147:5 says this in the Passion Translation:

How great is our God! There’s absolutely nothing his power cannot accomplish, and he has infinite understanding of everything.

God is a God of healing. Psalm 41:3 says this in the Passion Translation:

When they are sick, God will restore them, lying upon their bed of suffering. He will raise them up again and restore them back to health.

God is a God of restoration. 1 Peter 5:1 this in the Passion Translation:

 And then, after your brief suffering, the God of all loving grace, who has called you to share in his eternal glory in Christ, will personally and powerfully restore you and make you stronger than ever. Yes, he will set you firmly in place and build you up.

God has a good plan for ME! Jeremiah 29:11 promises this in the NIV Translation:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

These are just seven of the characteristics of God, and I promise you, no matter how far you look in the Bible “jerk” is never a characteristic you will see. The past 10 weeks had been hard, however as I thought over the past 10 weeks, I had seen God’s hand in so many ways.

He had been faithful and good to provide just what I needed to get through each day. A call from a friend, an encouraging word, a song or sometimes time for a nap. Each day, He knew what I needed and He provided a way.

He had been forgiving. Friends, I called God a jerk straight to His face, and I am writing an article about it. God wants our hearts. He wants all the ugly and all the emotions. Not just the pretty ones that fit nicely in church pews. He wants all the stuff we hide in the back of the closets of our hearts.

There were days that I had been worried about schedules, timing, and appointments. However, God is all-knowing. He opened doors at the perfect time. I could write post after post about how much His hand was in this situation.

The reality is, when all of this hit me, I had a choice. I could choose to believe that God is a jerk and fall into a deep dark place. Or I could choose to trust that my God had a good plan for me. I could choose to trust that the doctors do not get the final say and that God would bring healing and restoration from my head to my toes in His time. Until that day comes, I can choose joy every day. I can choose to trust Him. I can choose to believe that this pain is only for a season. Most of all, I can choose to believe that God didn’t lead us to the word “rooted” in 2018 for nothing. I can choose to believe roots always lead to beautiful plants. Always.

I went back and forth about sharing this story. Health is a very personal thing, and it’s so much easier to share when the story is over and there is a wonderful testimony.  When I wrote this, I was still very much in the middle of my story. I didn’t know if my story would end in a miracle. However, I choose to share because I feel it’s important to say if you are in a season that feels like “when it rains it pours”, I am sorry. It just stinks. I can’t just stop there. I also want to encourage you that you are not alone. Finally, I want to remind you God is not a jerk. He is a good good father, whose heart is for you!


This is an updated edition of a post originally published on

Featured Image by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

The views and opinions expressed by Kingdom Winds Collective Members, authors, and contributors are their own and do not represent the views of Kingdom Winds LLC.

About the Author

Melissa Forster lives in Missouri with her husband, Dan, and their adorable gray cat named Leo. She loves Jesus with her whole heart and loves following Him to a place where her faith is without borders. She collects llamas, t-rexs and grand adventures. Her favorite place to be is tucked in at home with copious amounts of coffee and a great book. Melissa and Dan have been struggling with delayed fertility for ten years and have two precious babies in heaven. Melissa writes from her heart about her (slightly dramatic) near death experiences, grief, joy and who Jesus is in the midst of all of it.

  1. […] To read Part 1 of this series, God is Not a Jerk, click here! […]