Finding Favor

A/N:  This will be more or less a combination of opinion, rant [with decorum], and perhaps a dash of sense…It is not my intent to impugn anyone’s beliefs, character, motives, or anything of the like.  Follow this rule:  if anything hereafter strikes a chord, makes you think, or just appears to be right and true – then give glory to Almighty God.  If, on the other hand it all falls flat, seems bizarre, way out in deep left field – then the blame rests solely on me.  Actually that rule probably applies to anything on my blog.  Thanks as always for reading.

I tend to see a lot of posts on social media with what I might describe as prosperity-leaning Christian messages. With messages indicating that the Lord’s blessings are right around the corner, that today [or very soon] is the day of favor.  Not to mention the ones that tell me I’m only a friend if I share or copy, that I must type Amen or I am a heartless wretch.  That if I share a message and it goes around the world 80 times then I’ll receive a king’s ransom.


Okay, in case you were wondering that was the rant part.  Lord forgive me for exaggerating some of that.  I love all my friends on Social media, and I know they have good hearts.  I just don’t have time to do all that stuff, and whether or not I do those things – doesn’t impact who I am, now or in eternity.


But I want to get back to the “favor” messages.  Most of them don’t explicitly state what kind of “favor” will be involved, but I get a sense that the emphasis is on material or monetary favor.  I could be dead wrong about all of this, and if so forgive me and accept my apology.  Maybe I’m too cynical; hardened by the culture we live in.


But consider this.  I know that the Lord desires to bless His children.  But the Lord’s favor in my case or your case might be struggle, pain, and hardship.  It might be a time of testing or a time of spiritual desolation.  It might be a time of financial difficulty, rather than a time of financial prosperity.  It might be anything that the Lord can use to bring us to where He wants us to be.


Remember – anything beyond the promise and assurance of eternal life when we had earned Hell is “just gravy” to use a term.  And God makes the best gravy.  God bless.

This Pain…

How can I not compare this,

to the thorn embedded underneath

providing a sharp reminder

of that which You ordained

Paul to keep

 

How I long for a dramatic

power of healing

instant pain relief

that incredible feeling

 

And of course

You’d receive all the glory!

Until I resume my routine again

And Your healing becomes

lost in the noise

 

Would I then remember —

When I could not walk

When I could not sleep

When my despair

was dark and deep?

 

I think of the man with leprosy

Who simply asked Jesus

“Lord, if you are willing”

“You can make me clean.”

Jesus was willing.

 

But what is clean?   What is healing?

It is far better, to be cleansed within

To have a spotless soul

Even if the body never fully heals again

 

A/N:  I continue to pray for physical healing, consistent with the will of God.   But the state of my soul is paramount. 

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.