Learning to live this latest lesson: pain is never pointless. Thanks to our redeeming God, there’s purpose in our pain. Revelation reminds us that one day every tear will be wiped away and there will be no more sorrow, pain or death. Until then, it’s appointed unto man once to die. Until then, we cry, mourn and sorrow, though not as those who have no hope. And, until then we live through seasons of pain, some long, some short, some emotional and some physical.
In the last chapter of Joni Eareckson Tada’s book, A Place of Healing, she relates the story of Shantamma. Born with a disability that prevented her from using her legs, this Hindu child from India drug herself across the floor of her home, rarely ever leaving her house. But God . . . so loved the world, including Shantamma, that He sent an ambassador, an evangelical pastor, to visit Shantamma’s family. That pastor also owned a copy of one of Joni’s books relating her testimony of her own disability and her faith in Jesus. Shantamma read this book many times and God used Joni’s story to birth faith in this Hindu girl. Joni says this is just one of the one million ways the Father has used the pain of her paralysis to accomplish His purpose.
Many years ago, I endured a season of emotional pain. The hurt cut so deep that there were days I wasn’t sure I’d make it through. I questioned God’s goodness and considered abandoning my faith. But God . . . wouldn’t let me go. Gently, patiently, relentlessly, He pursued me in His great love. In so many personal ways He wooed me to His side. Close to Him again, my pain found purpose, driving me to desire and pursue an intimacy with Him that today I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Now, for the first time in my life, I find myself learning (things many of you have known for a long time) through physical pain. I never realized how distracting intense pain can be. I want to read, to pray, to kneel, to sing, to dance and to commune with my Jesus, but it takes so much effort just to stay focussed. So much work to concentrate. Many recent days have been spent just resting, just being still, letting Him fight for me. Time in my Tent of Meeting (Ex. 33) looks different right now. Lots of silent seeking, even some snoozing, waiting, trusting the intercession of the Savior, the groaning of the Spirit and the beseeching requests of the Bride.
Stories like Joni’s keep me encouraged as I trust God’s plan, knowing that God is not random. I’m convinced that out of my life, He will accomplish His purpose. Out of your pain, He will accomplish His plan. I look for His work and expect fruit for the Kingdom and glory for the King!
Health Update: Some of you have heard rumors that we’ve called in Hosparice. Yes, it’s true that about six weeks ago we brought Hosparice in but not for the traditional reasons you may be thinking. Hosparice is the best in pain management and so while I continue to use alternative treatments and therapies, we’re employing some pain meds that keep me persevering. These medicines are designed to help me heal, not for end of life comfort. We’ve already been able to come off of several of the drugs that we began weeks ago. My traditional Doctors continue to give less than favorable reports from their perspective (that’s all they’ve ever given), however they’ve also acknowledged prayers at work and even used the word miracle to describe my unexpected progress at different times. Thank You, Jesus!
Now some days are definitely harder than others. My job is to keep my eyes on my Savior trusting His will and His perfect plan. He knows what He’s doing and all that He does is right and best always. Ultimately, we take one day at a time. It’s up to Him. MY life is in His hands. I am His, and for that matter, so are you. This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. He is worthy to be praised so we choose to praise Him. It’s a choice. In the middle of our painful circumstances, let keep praising Him and praying for His favor.