The Purpose of Pain

One could easily say that the past month of my life would fit in the category of “thrown for a loop, and then run over back and forth by said loop.”

For 50+ years, I prided myself on my general good health.  And this from an infancy where I was sickly, had to drink soy milk, and began to see an ophthalmologist at age two.  But for most of my adult life, I had little if any health problems, never saw a family physician [I did ask my father – who was the epitome of the rural general practitioner – general health questions], and praised God for my good health [except when I was running from Him, nee Jonah].  I had a record of never spending the night in a hospital, that I intended to keep.

As I got to age fifty, I celebrated a half a century on earth with continued good health.  I did have one issue that was not bothering me too bad, but finally underwent surgery to correct it last year.  But I convinced the surgeon to send me home same day, thus keeping my record intact!

And then there was the latter half of August, 2016.  The pain in my right leg went from nagging to intolerable.  It would be later diagnosed as a bulging disc in my back doing a number on the sciatic nerve that runs down the leg.  I was unable to walk.  To get to the car, my wife and my brother-in-law had to support me as I took one baby step [or dragging of the leg] at a time.  Then a whirlwind week of ER visits [yes, multiple – a story for another time], painful MRIs, and finally referral to a Neurosurgeon who fixed the disc.  But my record came to an end with an overnight hospital stay.  Oh well – age…

God was working through this entire ordeal and has been exceedingly good to me; I truly am forever grateful.  I can walk!  Hallelujah!

And that would be the end of the story, but for…

Pain.  Despite a successful surgery that has allowed me to walk again, I have a lingering neuropathy on my foot.  The surgeon was hopeful that this would go away on its own, but that has not been the case.  I have asked God to take away this nagging, sometimes burning, sometimes shooting pain.  My foot is ultra-sensitive.  Medication prescribed has little effect.  Sleep is difficult.  Wearing a shoe is extra painful.

I am hopeful that as I return to see the surgeon this week that some other course of therapy – medication or otherwise might be helpful.  And my prayers are still that God would heal as he did for the leprous man in Matthew 8:2-3

Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”

Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared

But God may have a greater purpose for my pain.  I am steadied in my resolve, that if God does not heal me and this pain continues to beset me – He is still holy, glorified, and sovereign.  He is still worthy to be praised!

The Bible tells us that God’s power is made perfect in our weaknesses.  Paul certainly knew this with his “thorn in the flesh.”

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
[2 Cor 12:9-10]

Is this easy?  Not at all.  But I am confident in God’s plan for my pain.  Whether He takes this nagging thing away is irrelevant.  His plan, His purpose, His Word; my obedience, taking up my cross [light as it is], and becoming more Christ-like are the issues.  Thy will be done.

Amen.

 

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