Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Mid-Week Message - Pain

"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 Corinthians 12:9-10  (NIV)

One day in 2012, as I was stepping out of the car, I noticed my left leg was shaking as I straightened it.  There was no pain so I continued doing everything I needed to do. I didn't experience the same thing again so I forgot about it.  Then, a couple of days later, my lower leg began hurting when I was on it.  The pain came and went so, again, I really didn't worry about it.  As the days went by, the pain worsened until finally it was taking me over an hour to make it from my sofa to my bathroom and I was having to lean on a bar stool most of the way.  Finally, I called my doctor who recommended that I go to an urgent care clinic and have it x-rayed.  The x-ray was aimed at my knee and the physician concluded that my pain was from complications of my arthritis.  He gave me a prescription for pain medication and told me to go home and use a walker.  

Two days later, when I attempted to stand, the pain was so severe that I couldn't bear to put my foot on the floor.  Because there was no way for me to get in my car, we called an ambulance.  That day I spent twelve hours in the emergency room.  My husband had brought with us the copies of the x-rays from two days before so the presiding doctor did not do any tests of his own and after twelve hours sent me home with another prescription for pain medication and told me to use a walker.  

It was a struggle to get into the house but my husband finally got me situated for the night.  The next morning, he left to conduct worship services for the retirement community where we were ministering.  When I stood, the pain was indescribable and I couldn't take a step at all.  I called for my daughter for quite some time but she couldn't hear me.  Eventually, I passed out and woke up on my bathroom floor.  After some time, my daughter came to check on me and my husband came home, at which time I called for an ambulance again.  This time, a different physician ordered x-rays of my entire leg and found that my tibia was completely severed.  They figured that it had been broken for one and a half to two weeks.

I apologize for the long story, but we all have them, don't we?  We all have times in our lives where the pain we experience is beyond what we think we can bear.  Whether it be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual, pain is a warning signal that something is wrong and needs to be tended to.  It serves another purpose as well, it drives us to the Great Physician and we cry out to Him for help.  

I chose today's verse because Paul went through more in his lifetime that I can even imagine withstanding.  He was ship-wrecked, beaten and imprisoned.  His very life hung in the balance as there were many who wanted to see him dead.  Yet, in all of his suffering, he continued to serve the Lord.  He never let his pain get in the way of his purpose, rather, he used his pain to teach those around him, and ultimately everyone who would ever pick up a Bible, that the grace of God is greater than anything this world might dish out and that when we rely on Christ during our times of weakness, His strength will carry us through.  

I have no way of knowing what you are going through at this moment.  Perhaps this is a painful time and you are wondering how you are going to make it through.  I know two things.  One is that everything passes in time.  But the other is that your Father in Heaven loves you beyond measure. He will supply you with the strength you need and by relying on Him and continuing to praise Him no matter what, He will be glorified and your joy will increase.  We were never meant to carry our burdens alone.  Look up and reach out.  He has a plan and you will be able to look back on this time and see how He was with you.  In all things, His grace is sufficient.  God bless.  

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