Bringing Purpose to Your Pain
FINDING PURPOSE IN PAIN
Chad and Julia grew up in Seattle. Both of their dads went to college together, came to the Lord together, became pastors together and raised their children together. Chad is quick to mention that he and Julia were not childhood sweethearts. Chad went off to college, moved to LA, worked as a youth pastor and missed over seven years of holidays. When he finally managed to get back, he noticed Julia had grown up! They were married in 2008.
On April 10, 2012, Chad and Julia’s daughter Georgia (GiGi) was four months old and was diagnosed with lissencephaly (pronounced liss-sen-seph-ahlee), which is often referred to as smooth brain. ‘It’s a day we will never forget,” says Chad. Doctors said she would never develop past three months, nor would she walk, crawl or talk. “The reality was that the doctors had put a life sentence on my daughter,” Chad says. “They told us that children with the disorder have a life expectancy of about ten years.” Since the diagnosis, GiGi has experienced seizures and spasms. “We’ve trusted God,” says Chad. “I had enough understanding that God didn’t do this. We live in a fallen planet.” Their faith has been tested. Chad says they choose to hold on to hope. “God can heal her. If He doesn’t do it now, she will be healed on the other side,” he says. There’s no doubt, the Veaches have been on a several-year journey. Through the pain, Chad says he’s found God everywhere and discovered something completely unreasonable. “Despite how things may seem, hope is possible even in the most impossible situations.”
Chad reminds us that the enemy uses offense and bitterness to move us away from our destiny. “Let’s steer clear of offense. I am not offended. I am not mad at God. We’ve never seen Jesus more clearly. Paul said God comforts us so we can comfort others. Our story gets people to relate to us,” says Chad. Though strong in their faith, it was difficult for Chad and Julia not to compare their daughter and her progress to other people’s children. “We had to learn to work against resentment, to not let it grow into something that would ruin our lives,” he says. In 2015, they left the comfort of Seattle to plant a church in West Hollywood. (Their pastor is Judah Smith.)
“For us, the struggle is real,” says Chad. “Some days are harder than others.” A good day in the Veach household is one where GiGi doesn’t have a seizure or throw up. Chad reminds us that pain is real but so is God’s ability to pull us out of it. “Imagine God as a bottle of medicine,” he explains. “This medicine is always available when you need it; it will never run out. This medicine will not only make you feel better, but it will also leave you with more than what you started with: more life, more health, and more vitality.” This is how we need to view God. He doesn’t have the answers. Chad says He IS the answer! “It’s so vital that we understand who God is, because in times of trouble, He’s the great provider and comforter and should be the first one we turn to,” he says. It’s easy to think, There’s no way out. Chad says for every problem, a solution exists. God is the remedy. “It means you don’t have to be stuck in pain and sorrow for the rest of your life.”
Even if your circumstances are dire, Chad says to always be thankful. “I could think about all that I don’t have and all the things that my daughter can’t do, but doing so will get me nowhere,” he says. Since the day GiGi was diagnosed, believers around the world have been praying. The first #prayforgeorgia came after a service on April 1, 2012. People all over the world deployed that hashtag. Social media celebrities and people they’d never met were praying for a healing miracle. “Perhaps she symbolizes faith, hope and love to people. Georgia’s life continues to reveal the nature of God to me.” Since then, more than 50 people (and counting) who have been moved by GiGi’s story have gotten a “G” tattoo. “The remedy comes when we have an attitude of gratitude. When I start thanking God for all He’s given me, I start to realize that this remedy, this God of mine, is already working in my life.”