Thursday, April 26, 2018

What a Relief

In early 2016 I saw a specialist for my legs. I had to have a test done to see if I had reflux in my veins. FYI, if a doctor who treats circulatory problems looks at your legs and says your veins are impressive, it is not a compliment. Both of my legs looked like they had snakes coiling up in them. But what is perhaps both a blessing and a curse is that they didn't hurt. Or at least I didn't think they did.

Once I had the first surgery done on the left leg which was worse than the right, I felt a huge difference. That was when I first understood something that had escaped me up until this point: it is possible to get so accustomed to pain that it becomes undetectable. And undetected pain will always remain untreated.

In Psalm 107:6 it says Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He rescued them from their distress. (CSB) The same sentiment is repeated in verses 13, 19, and 28 although the circumstances which caused the cry to go out vary.

And here's what I can't help but wonder: Just like I didn't recognize the pain in my legs, is it possible we are living with distress that we have become so used to that we no longer recognize it and therefore don't cry out in prayer to get relief from it?

If my current situation had happened two years ago, I can promise you that I would not be dealing with it, I would be 'sucking it up' and doing my best to ignore it. Moving beyond without accepting the reality that I wasn't exactly thrilled with the turn of events. Because God doesn't like honest prayers, right? Prayers that sound ungrateful but at their heart are a desperate plea for understanding that which can not be understood.

And here's the thing, if the Israelites who really botched things up by worshipping foreign gods could cry out from the circumstances they put themselves in and deserved, why on earth do we think we can't? Especially in the times when we didn't do anything to cause what we are currently enduring?

Even if we aren't promised a pain-free life, we do have the ability to receive pain-relief. How do I know? Because:

~He rescued them from their distress and led them by the right path to go where they could live
~He brought them out of darkness and gloom and broke their chains apart
~He sent His word and healed them rescuing them from the pit
~He stilled the storms to a whisper and hushed the waves

(v. 6,7; 14; 20; 29)

However, in order to receive the antidote to their pain, they had to acknowledge it first.

If I have learned anything it's that we aren't doing ourselves, or anyone else, any favors by pretending everything is awesome. As a matter of fact, if we aren't being real about what is hard for us (which by the way is unique to each person) then those we are called to bear witness to who see nothing but perfection are likely to think something is wrong with them when all their troubles don't disappear and all their varying emotions aren't uniform once they start following Jesus. And for the record, the last time I checked, Jesus was not emotionless. And He knew everything.

Now, as for my legs, they are better. And the road to recovery was not horrible. (Except those awful support hose which I can assure you will be a part of hell.) But the scars from the little stab wounds still exist. Twenty on each leg to be exact, which if I am not mistaken is the max amount allowed. However, each little wound when added to all the other little wounds, brought me relief I couldn't have imagined.

And that's how I see things now. What is uncomfortable currently, when added to the other things I don't like, is eventually going to create something better I can't even fathom. And the little scars will always serve as reminders of God's faithfulness in all things. It took a doctor looking shocked to realize that I was masking pain in denial. And though I don't have the letters MD after my name (be thankful for that, I failed A & P II in college), let's onsider this our prescription to look at what we might be ignoring. If God has pain relief ready to deliver He's just waiting for us to ask for, the first step will be finding where it is. And once we do that, we have four promises above to claim that He will deliver at just the right time.

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