I recently had a migraine-like headache. If you can’t quite place what a migraine feels like, then you’ve likely never had one. It’s memorable in the worst ways. Though they vary in intensity, they typically have similar sensations. Those sensations are not enjoyable in the least.
I came across some tweets of folks who have brought out the humor in their painful circumstances (well after they had improved, one would assume, because staring at a screen with a migraine is not suggested). If you can relate, then you might enjoy their thoughts.
Sarah asked, “Why do windows have to be a thing?”
According to Kimberly, it was her “First Friday in four that I don’t have a migraine! Not sure how to celebrate… maybe I’ll go outside and open my eyes.”
Another stated that she “named [her] migraine ‘People’.”
Ollie had a similar feeling when she offered that “a group of kids should be called a migraine.”
Lastly, Mikayla shared that she “was determined to get back into the gym. But then I got sick and got a migraine and then my back started hurting, if this isn’t a sign…”
Alright – so the laughs behind migraine-humor are not necessarily uplifting. They have a slight hint of darkness due to the annoyance that these folks felt, but strangely enough, I see God behind it all. Many of these jokes speak to a truth in which these people are fleeing from something. Often times, when you have a migraine, you run from loud noises which seem amplified and the light which seeps between your closed eyelids. It’s almost as if your body is telling you to seek a dark hole to climb into and to run from the busyness and pace of the world we live in.
This reminds me of an important spiritual truth that is often times ignored in the life of a Christian. So much of the time, we market ‘community’ in the Church because biblical Christianity can’t be done, as God intends it, alone.
However, it can be easy to forget the importance of solitude in the life of the Christian. This is where so much of a prayer life connects a person to the intimate relationship that God desires with us. It’s where necessary introspection works itself out. It’s where our deep studies of the Scriptures reaches into our lives and displays important lessons that we don’t catch when the world around us is constantly blaring in our ears and fighting for our time.
In a way, migraines do for a person what we need for our spiritual lives – a force that’s independent from our own will to cause us to remove ourselves from the chaos of modern life and seek quiet solitude and dark, focused places of connection with Him.
Jesus sought this kind of rest. Despite the fact that the world around Him was constantly seeking Him out, demanding His attention, begging for His assistance, and looking for answers that only He could give (do you ever feel this pressure?), the Holy Spirit called Him to the desert. He called Him to the mountain-top. He called Him to desperately seek God in a way that I think few of us have ever really understood.
Luke 4:42 – When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place; and the crowds were searching for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them.
Luke 5:15-16 – But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.
Luke 6:12 – It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.
Mark 1:35 – In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.
Mark 6:45-46 – Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.
Don’t ever leave Christian community (Hebrews 10:24-25 – And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.). God has such incredible plans for when the united Bride of Christ connects and enacts the greatest commandments (Matthew 22:38-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).
But maybe we should all settle down once in a while as well. Maybe the Holy Spirit is calling for us not to simply be alone (we all do much of life on our own, and yet that does not mean drawing close to God). Maybe He’s looking for us to more meaningfully connect with Him alone. Spirituality is not just for an hour or two on Sunday mornings. He has so much more nourishment for our lives and so much more of His heart to share with the world that we miss when we’re not taking these times to connect.
I certainly don’t have to tell anyone to be sensitive to a migraine when it’s so impolitely forcing you away from all stimuli in the world. However, maybe it would be a good practice for us to become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prodding to step away from stimuli and spend this time in deep connection with Him.
Begin with prayer. During a long drive or some quiet moment during an evening this week, come quietly to God in prayer. Don’t feel rushed. Don’t feel guilty if your mind wanders. God speaks to us in this space. As He draws you in, begin seeking out ways to use that time in solitude to feel His presence. When we put away the desire to gain as much knowledge or be as efficient as possible, He begins to mold us in ways we can’t yet imagine.
Love you all,
Young Adult Minister – Evan McNeff