My thanks to everyone who’s praying for Lisa. It’s a frustrating, odd place for her to be as a wife and a mom–where she has to rely on others to get quotidian activities accomplished. And as much as this alone frustrates her, I’m certain that the pain all but pushes it from her mind.
(I would share more, but we are generally, as introverts, “private” people; suffice it say that part of the last twenty-four hours was like living inside an imprecatory Psalm).
We still don’t know what happened to her shoulder–for that, we’re waiting on an MRI. We’re praying, of course, for relief–and for a clear diagnosis. In the meantime, we know that physical therapy is on the horizon. Beyond that, God knows.
I mean that most sincerely: He Alone knows what the next course of action will be. We have to trust that Father knows best.
In the meantime, the in-between time, somewhere in the midst of the now and the not-yet, here are my musings on pain:
Philip Yancey called pain “the gift nobody wants.” What I want to know is, if it’s indeed a “gift,” did it come with a receipt? And what’s the return policy?
C.S. Lewis said that “pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” If so, is it possible to refuse this collect call? To hang up? “Sorry, Operator, you said Pain is calling? I can’t take that call. Goodbye.”
Yes, I jest–because pain is, well, pain. And pain is hard. It’s hard to suffer. It’s pain of another sort to see one’s beloved suffer. If I could take on my wife’s suffering, I would–in a heartbeat. Alas, I cannot. The same all-sufficient grace that He promises her has to be enough for me, too. It’s the same grace God the Father gave our Lord Jesus in His passion: “He endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2b, ESV).
This is where rubber meets road in our theology: that place where, like Jesus before us, we learn obedience through our suffering.
What? you may ask. Jesus learned obedience? Indeed He did:
“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.
Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:7-8, ESV).
Did you see that last part? “Although he was a son,” which implies a relationship–meaning he was someone’s son. “He learned obedience through what he suffered.” This despite being a son, or the Son.
We as Christians speak of being in a relationship with God through Christ–of God being our Father. And yet, we seem to expect that being in this relationship will somehow protect us from the pains garnered from living in a fallen world, of inhabiting broken bodies. If “He spared not His Own Son,” how reasonable an expectation is this?
What did Jesus say? “My kingdom is not of this world.” “In this world, you shall have tribulation.” “My grace is sufficient for you.” “I have overcome the world.”
Is any of this easy? No–it’s hard beyond imaging. Even Christ Himself was distressed to the point of bleeding from His sweat glands in contemplating His impending death.
In the meantime…
The in-between time…
Somewhere between the now and the not-yet:
We wait, watch, and pray.
Sometimes we’re the rubber, and other times the road. And it’s okay to tell Him how much we hate being the latter.
“If this cup could pass…”