“And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)
Mary Scott, a godly woman, died in the care center where she spent her final days. Shortly before her death a friend, Helen Temple, came to visit. Helen stopped short of entering the room when she heard Mary praying -she was offering a prayer of surrender to God,
"Lord, if this degree of health is all you want for me, I accept it and will be content."
Chronic pain. Yuck. It’s like having your worst nightmare show up, suitcase in hand, for an extended visit.
It was Saturday night and I had an epiphany of sorts. The pain in my arms was so bad that I gave in to tears. “Why,” I asked my husband Rob, “Why won’t God heal me?” Of course, he doesn’t know any better than I do. He pulled me into his arms, reminding me as he prayed of an old hymn we both love, “He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater…”
I knew that to be true, still, at that moment my pain was speaking so loud I couldn’t hear the grace. I could, however, hear God’s whisper to my heart, “I know that you are hurting.”
He knows, therefore He cares.
“He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater…”Sometimes I forget that. I know He cares even though thus far He has said, “No” (an answer I don’t like) to my prayer for healing. He must have a bigger plan in mind for me that I do not know about or understand. At the same time I am questioning, “Why?” I am reminding myself that He is God and He doesn’t have to give me a reason. Maybe one day - maybe not. He’s been nudging my heart a lot lately about surrender and finding rest in Him. If this is the degree of health God deems best for me, then – if I am to have any measure of peace - I must surrender to His will, accept the pain, and find sanctuary in Him.
Life is not about us, though it’s hard to remember that when we're hurting.
We are here to prepare for eternity. We’re also here to help others prepare for eternity. If they can be brought closer to God through the testimony of our pain, then that is a good thing. I know that God needs people who are willing to go through the fire, and come out strong on the other side. I just can’t remember volunteering for this particular assignment. Sigh.
There is always good and not-so-good in our lives. I find it hard to focus on the good when the not-so- good is deafening. Still…I know that in this pain, God is preparing me, working out my character flaws, making me more like Jesus.
Are you hurting today?
For this moment focus more on being than doing. Accept your limited energy span. Focus on what you can do more, than on what you cannot, “more on the privilege of being alive than on the deprivation of energy."
Hold steady my friend. One day these days and this pain will be but a memory. God is teaching you so much, and He will use what you are learning to help others if you let Him. I know that He will.
He won’t waste the pain.
“God, help me to keep my eyes and ears open. Help me to see beyond myself to another who needs a listening ear, a hand up, a second chance. Redeem my pain. Grant me the wisdom to know how to help, what to say, and when to step in or out of the needs of others.”