It didn't really hurt, but was oddly uncomfortable. We were getting our family pictures done that afternoon and we went home and got all prettied up to go. By the time we got in the car to drive across town uncomfortable had reached painful, at the end of our portrait session painful had reached very painful, by the next morning I was in such pain I could hardly move. Every time I see that family picture I think "That was the day everything changed". Strange to have it frozen in time.
Sticking with family tradition, the kids wanted to decorate the tree that weekend. Not wanting to miss out I on all the fun I crawled, quite literally, on my hands and knees up the stairs to try to help out. Not realizing that once I got up there that sitting up to hand out ornaments would be equally agonizing as negotiating the stairs. It was one of the worst weekends of my life. Fortunately, it has never been as bad as that first four days, but I have never gotten back to where I was before.
Over the last two years I have had countless chiropractic appointments, massages (which are not a hardship!), acupuncture, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone shots. None of these methods have gotten me to a pain-free state. It is always there, like an unwelcome guest. Lurking around, lying in wait to pounce on me, to move another notch up the scale from a bearable level to a place that takes much more mental energy to handle. It can be quite wearying.
Why am I sharing all this? Well, I guess because it is a big part of my day to day life, and I know that there are millions of people who suffer from chronic pain. It can be a very dark and hopeless feeling to be in pain - it isolates you from other people because pain often limits what you can and cannot do. My suffering is minor in comparison to others, my heart breaks for those who can't even find a way to keep their pain levels manageable.
Where is God in all this? He is ever present - he has not forsaken me! He may not choose to have this pain removed from me. That doesn't mean I am going to quit praying for it! My choice is to feel sorry for myself or trust God knows the purpose behind the pain. Remember Paul and his thorn of the flesh?
I suppose I should feel honored I have been given a thorn to bear. Frankly, most days it doesn't feel like an honor, but a burden! "My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life." (Psalm 119:50)
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)
God is still God, on my good days and my bad days. My discomfort does not indicate a lack of love or caring on his part. Sometimes I have no where else to go but to Him. I pray that others who suffer can find strength in our Savior.
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1Peter 4:12-13)
In His Peace -