This post is part of the blog carnival which is hosted by Peter. A bunch of us strange, wordy folk like to post our different perspectives on a word or a topic. (You can check out more posts, better than mine, here.) This is how I came to realize today that I was whining: I was debating what I have to be disappointed about. While I admit I don't think about this topic often, I did today. And that is where I found the quiet voice that became louder the more I prodded: I am disappointed that I struggle with pain. And this is why those who read me are more blessed than those who have to listen to me (because friends do need to listen to each other, right?). I have talked about this pain in person, on the phone, in a text, in my Facebook status.
And pain sucks.
When I was earlier in the struggle, I read about some saintly nun that offered up her suffering (she probably had some horrible chest cold from sleeping in a dank moldy cell in the Middle Ages tho I no longer remember) for the souls of the lost. Isn't that noble? That, somehow, my tolerating my pain cheerfully might bring a tribe of natives in some unknown jungle to an understanding of the grace found in Jesus? Yeah, I think that is where it fell through for me. Well, there is the fact that I am not that noble but the truth is that I couldn't handle it. I wussed out and a whole tribe of people could be on my conscious, if I believed that I was that powerful. Thank God (and I totally mean it!) that Jesus did all the work necessary for salvation!
Since those noble aspirations, I have done the medical route with the diagnostic tests and pharmaceuticals and steroid injections. I have tried chiropractic medicine and adrenal diets and vitamins. I have tried massage and meditation. Currently I am working on a new round of homeopathy to try to manage the pain.
I wish it would go away. I have prayed for it to go away. Lots. I almost went forward at a church who offered to pray for healing of spinal conditions. I blamed it on the skeptical nurse within me, but really, I was afraid God wouldn't do it. That would cause me to question whether God could heal me or whether he would want to heal me. And that made my brain hurt. So I didn't give him the chance.
It is hard to reconcile all the reasons that God should consider healing me, all the things I could, would, be willing to do for him, if only. I don't want to bargain with him, tho. That cheapens our relationship. It isn't about "What have you done for me lately." God isn't some crazy machine, press the right buttons, insert your ticket for validation. He is way more annoying and mysterious. He wants to walk with me through it, not carry me over it.
And in that way, while it can be disappointing to still be in pain, it can also be an adventure in learning to rely on Him who never disappoints. I have watched my spirit grow when my body is broken. It is a strange thing, but I will receive the gift despite those moments of doubt and disappointment. While I may not save a tribe, my pain can serve a purpose....
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 12:7-10