Tuesday, February 21, 2012

That Thorn

First, I would have to say that blessed are they that only read me and don't have to listen to me.  I noticed today that I am whining.  To myself in thought.  To God in prayer.  One would think that a whine comes with the shrill crescendo in pitch and emotion.  Nope.  It can even be done silently.

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

5 comments:

Peter P said...

I'm so sorry for your pain, Jaime.

I'm not going to even pretend to know why you have pain, but I will ask you this...

If God was to tell you that your continued pain DID mean a whole tribe would be saved... would it be worth it?

A Joyful Noise said...

I do pray and hope that you can find help for your pain, and please do not give up - even going forward for prayer if you get another opportunity. My husband suffers with pain and a sick feeling and he has gone the route of tests, surgery and medicine with damage and side effects from it -- so in a small way I can understand how disappointing it is to endure. I pray for you RELIEF!

Cris Ferreira said...

There is no problem in admitting you're disappointed or that you whine. God wants honesty. He doesn't want you to pretend that everything is OK if it isn't.
Job complained a lot, and I mean a lot, about his situation, and God kept silent. But then, after much suffering, God showed up.
And the amazing thing is that he didn't criticize Job for complaining. He criticized him for wanting to understand what was going on. That's where trust comes in. We don't have to understand, but God allows us to be honest to Him about what's bothering us.
Actually, when God shows up, we realize we don't need to understand anything, as Job did. We don't even care anymore about what was bothering us, because God showed up.

caryjo said...

I sure understand. I don't usually walk through any serious pain... physically. I do walk through depression, and have since I was about 6, which means been a challenge at times for 60 years. The Lord always pulls me out... and so far I've refused to take meds for it and haven't had to, for which I'm grateful. I rely on the fact that, sooner or later, I will die and go to heaven and the depression will never hit again. HALLELUJAH!!! [Many of my friends and family have the physical pains and struggles, so I certainly understand your descriptions of what you are walking through.] Blessings...

Jaime Plank said...

I found this quote this morning:

My God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorn! I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear, teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow. ~George Matheson