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Posts Tagged ‘pain’

The problem with continually trying to numb yourself to pain is that you eventually lose the capacity to feel anything, other than the steadily growing anxiety that your next step might hurt.

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Time has no conscience.  It is indifferent to our lack of preparation, our confusion, our fear, and our pain.  It will not stop for us when we stumble, and it will not slow for us when we fall behind.  It is unrelenting, unforgiving and unrepentant.

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During a time of prayer, I was reminded of a particularly painful moment in my life involving our youngest daughter Rebekah.  As I remember, she was somewhere between her first and second birthday, when our household got hit with a particularly bad bout of the stomach flu.  I’m pretty sure that all of us took a turn with it, and in the midst of that time, Bekah (who weighed less than 20 lbs.) began to turn blue.  Needless to say, we were more than a little concerned, as I rushed her to the emergency room.  Immediately, they determined that she was severely dehydrated, and that they needed to start an IV.  They wanted me to wait outside while they executed that plan, but I calmly (& firmly) assured them that I was quite unwilling to leave her side.  As they went about the task of trying to locate one of her tiny veins, Bekah fought like the warrior God made her to be, which made the already daunting task nearly impossible.  It literally took four adults to hold her down, and it still required eight tries before the nurse was able to connect with a vein.  As Bekah screamed out in pain, her beautiful gray eyes were fixed on me, and as near as I could tell, the question in her tiny heart was, “Why are you letting them do this to me daddy?”  In her short life, no one had ever really hurt her, and in as much as a baby can, she trusted that she was safe with me.  Now, I not only stood by while they pierced her over and over again, I was actually one of the people holding her down while they did it.  It was an excruciating moment, and one that I’d long since pushed out of my mind.  Bekah is now in High School, and she has grown into a strong and beautiful young woman.  So why go back and revisit this awful memory?

 

As I meditated on this scene, I found myself wanting to answer her inferred question.  “I let this happen because it was the only way you were going to get better,” I thought.  And while I know that is the truth, I also realized how little difference that would have made in the midst of her pain.  In her tiny heart it must have seemed that I was allowing them to torment her, and maybe even that I was helping them.  My heart ached at the remembrance of the hurt and confusion in her face; and as I pondered what the Lord was trying to show me, I realized that He was helping me to understand what it can be like for Him, and with His children, as we experience painful and/or difficult situations.  Like baby Bekah, we don’t necessarily see or understand the bigger picture; we simply know that we don’t feel good, that our sense of security is quickly evaporating, and that we are in genuine pain.  Such instances can breed doubts that linger long after the moment has past.  We may feel abandoned in our hour of need, or betrayed by the one who was supposed to protect us, or maybe we conclude that there is something so wrong with us that we are beyond help (or at least unworthy of it).  These kinds of thoughts tear at the fiber of our faith, and distort the nature of who God is, and who we are to Him.

 

The Bible says that God works all things to the good of those who love Him, and who are called to His purpose.  I believe that we often twist those words to imply that we should never suffer, but clearly that’s not what it means.  In fact, the scripture tells us that “Jesus learned obedience from the things He suffered.”  If the Son of God, a man of perfect faith, had to learn that way, how do we think that we can avoid it.  God views us, and our lives, through the lens of eternity; so just as it was with Bekah, a relatively brief period of suffering can produce a harvest of life and wellness.  In His humanness, Jesus spoke directly to this issue in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He essentially said, “Father, if there is some other way to achieve Your eternal purposes for my life, I’d rather not endure what’s about to happen.  But if this is the only way to orchestrate the redemption of mankind, then so be it.”  The scripture tells us that Jesus “endured the cross, despising it’s shame.”  We too will have to endure some things, and we may also despise the process, but instead of being discouraged, and feeling abandoned, we need to remember that we have a Father who is able to work all things to our eternal good.  And just as I was unwilling to leave Bekah’s bedside, we also need to remember that He is a God who never leaves us nor forsakes us.

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