Why Did God Give Me Diabetes?

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On December 19, 2014, I woke up to a phone call from a diabetic educator. This struck me as a little odd because I hadn’t been officially diagnosed with diabetes yet (the nurse who called me the day before said I had blood sugar levels they saw in Type 1 Diabetics). I scheduled my appointment with her after meeting with the doctor who would tell me that I do in fact have Type 1 Diabetes.

That day was filled with several activities to keep me busy: a doctor appointment, trying (and failing) to get my insulin, meeting with a diabetic educator, picking up blood sugar testing supplies, successfully picking up insulin, packing my car, and driving six hours home from my university for winter break. I had been so busy doing things, and it had come on so quickly (I hadn’t even realized how sick I was), that I didn’t really have time to emotionally process my diagnosis.

When I finally paused and reflected on my situation, I felt incredibly frustrated at the utter lack of fairness. I was convinced I had done nothing to deserve this horrible disease. I angrily questioned God about why, after the worst couple months of my life, He decided to give me diabetes. I suppose if I had actually listened to Him, I would’ve gotten through the bitterness a little easier, but instead it’s taken me time, mistakes, and growing in faith to get a better understanding of my situation. Demanding an answer from God for why He would put something so horrible in my life only showed how little I understood Him.

God isn’t Punishing Me

At the time of my diagnosis, I argued at God (I say “at” and not “with” because my prayer was not conversational at all) as though He in His infinite wisdom looked down at me and decided that He wanted me to suffer horribly and zapped me with a cursed pancreas. The problem is that this isn’t how God works. He doesn’t want us to suffer. His intent for us is to achieve eternal happiness and perfect union with Him. Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world. Bad things sometimes just happen. This is not what God desires for us, but He allows it to happen. I know the thought that bad things happen just because we live in an imperfect world isn’t an uplifting one, but it is the reality we face. The bright spot in this suffering, however, is that God can use this suffering to sanctify us.

God uses my Diabetes to Sanctify Me

Again, my thought was that God had given me diabetes for no good reason, but as I have lived with these challenges I’ve been able to see how God has been able to make my life better despite living with diabetes. I am much more attentive to my health and have been able to catch other illnesses earlier than I normally would have. I naturally make better food choices. I am much more aware of the struggles people with chronic illnesses, especially invisible illnesses, face on a daily basis after being shamefully unaware of how hard life can be for others. I am more sympathetic to people with chronic illnesses and am able to relate to other people I care very much about who also suffer from different chronic illnesses. I have learned how important it is to say “no.” I’ve had to stop basing my value as a person based on what I accomplish.

The biggest, most important change, however, is that I have grown much, much closer to God. In the face of suffering, we have two options: we can either abandon God because we can’t understand why a loving god would cause us so much suffering, or we can rely on Him fully, and He will help us carry the burden. Obviously, there are various shades in between that, but I don’t think anyone who goes through a huge life change leaves with the exact same level of faith that they had coming in. Though my life absolutely has gotten harder the last few years, I find myself facing the challenges better and leaving them with a better perspective. I can find the value in my suffering because I believe it is preparing me for Heaven.

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Gratitude

Don’t get me wrong, I am not grateful for this disease itself. It hurts to check my blood sugar, change my sensor, or inject my infusion site. I am self-conscious about the bruises, scars, and marks that cover my body. I miss the ability to be spontaneous. I get tired of counting carbs. I get frustrated with people making stupid jokes about a serious illness. I get hurt by the judgment that I brought this disease on myself and somehow deserve it*. I get upset when I feel sick or feel like I have no control over my own body. And I still get angry at God sometimes.

However, I am grateful for what this disease did to my spiritual life. It took me awhile to get where I am, and I still have a long way to go along my faith journey, but I am confident that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for something happening to me that made me realize how desperately I needed God.

A little over two years later, I realize that there isn’t an answer to my question “why did God give me diabetes” because it is the wrong question. I know now that my questions should be “how can God guide me through this,” “how can I stay connected to God,” and “how can this suffering sanctify me?”

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*Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease. Nothing I did caused it, and there is nothing I could have done to prevent it. For a reason doctors cannot figure out, my body decided to attack itself. That being said, judging Type 2 Diabetics is also wrong. There are a lot of other factors that go into it developing beyond lifestyle.

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Comments 3

  • This entire article is bullshit. God may not hate us, but he sure is indifferent to us. Which to me is worse than hate. I have had a pretty crappy run of luck lately, for the past 7 years, and a loving God would not make his servant to suffer. He to me is the angry vengeful god of the old testament and I paying for the sins of my fathers even unto the 3rd and 4th generation.

    • Hi Rob,

      I’m sorry you are experiencing so much hurt and feel that God is indifferent to your suffering.

      I wanted to walk through your comment.

      You said that my entire post was BS. I’m curious why you think the description of my personal experiences of suffering is deserving of that word. While you may have had different experiences than me, I’m trying to understand why you feel that invalidates my testimony.

      I know it can seem like God has forgotten us when we’re dealing with struggles. When we are overwhelmed with pain and we cry out and still experience pain, it can seem like God is ignoring our pleas. What we need to remember is that God answers our prayers in different ways. For example, my prayers for healing were actually met with healing of my soul rather than my body. Sometimes, God has us wait for reasons we may not understand. Even more difficult are the “no”s we get from God. I wish I had an answer to how to trust God during this time, but there is no easy answer. The reality is that we face a paradox: we need God to help us stop being angry with God.

      God does love us, and I promise he uses our suffering for good. He doesn’t desire us to suffer, but he allows it to be so. He then uses that for His plan. I know how hard it can be. When I’m really sick, I do get angry. I demand an answer from God. I beg for relief. Sometimes it comes, and sometimes the answer is wait. When I look at the good in my life like I described in this post, I realize that is only a glimpse into His bigger plan.

      You say God is angry and vengeful, but I encourage you to read Scripture as a whole. The God we see in the Old Testament is the same loving God in the New Testament and today. God himself suffered on the cross for us.

      I do not know enough about generational curses, but there are some resources at the end of this forum (https://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=59836). The best route would be to talk to a priest who can help you navigate the spiritual battle.

      Before I conclude, I do want to say that I had mixed feelings about posting your comment because it is pushing the limits on my commenting guidelines.

      All that being said, though this is a negative comment, I do appreciate you taking the time to read this post and comment on it. I pray that you will be able to find the love God is trying to give you. If you have any specific prayer intentions, please feel free to send them my way, and I will pray for you.

      May God bless you abundantly.

  • […] Why did he allow me to get so sick? What path is He asking me to take? How can I find real love here on earth when I feel irredeemable, unlovable? […]

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