Monday, November 23, 2015

IN PAIN AND AFFLICTION

Isaiah 53:4-9 


Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.


He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.


~*~

When I was 23 years old, I went on a skiing trip with my then-fiancé. To be clear, I was a novice at skiing, but my fiancé was very patient. We were on the "bunny slope", so what was there to fear? When we arrived at the top of the beginners slope, he told me, "just keep your knees flexible and go straight down and stop at the end." What he, nor I, didn't know was that there was a dip that stretched across this slope at the very end. I wasn't prepared for this, and as I skied down the slope, I saw it coming. When I hit the dip, my knees tensed and instead of gliding steadily through, my skis crossed the dip and went straight up into the air. I came down on my tail-bone.

The ride home was me in the back seat full of extreme pain in my lower back. For the next couple of months, I was given muscle relaxers and Xanax. I was off work the entire time. Finally, one night, my dad said to me "you're eyes don't look right and there are bags underneath them." Well, I was full of "the doctor says [this or that]", but I could see that my Dad was worried that I was not getting better and was getting hooked on the medication.

Ever since that fateful day, I have suffered from my lower back pain. I even tried treatment with a chiropractor, and soon as I would walk out of their office, I could feel that something had went array and I would turn on my heels and go back into the chiroprator's office. They could relieve my pain, but only temporarily.

No matter what I have tried over the years, I can safely say that I have suffered with my back pain for 38 years. In January, 2005, I had a double fusion in my lumbar. I could not heal and everyone thought that my continual whining that something wasn't right was just me "wanting attention." I don't fault them because my orthopedist had two MRIs done and he said "I just see a little arthritis" and thus the resulting opinion of my family.

My pain level increased, and I had a "block" which threw me into the most intense pain I have ever had in my life. It felt as though someone had a knife in my back and was torturing me. I couldn't get anyone to listen to me, and my orthopedist's PA was talking of me coming off the pain medications. I would cry and tell him that I desperately needed the pain pills.

During this time, I was faithfully praying to God and Jesus to heal me. I began a couple of months earlier, praying for relief and healing. By the end of April, I was screaming and shaking my fists at God and crying out "why won't you help me?!?"

I checked myself into the hospital the end of April 2005 and told them that I wasn't leaving until they found out what was wrong with me. They put me in a room and put up a morphine drip that kept me comfortable. The following morning, which was a Friday, and I mean the wee hours of the morning, I was taken for an MRI at the hospital. Later that afternoon, my orthopedist came in with another doctor whom he said was an infectious disease doctor. He told me that I had a "pocket" of fluid at the surgical site that was staph, and that I'd had a "change in bone marrow". I was alone without my husband or anyone so I was just scared out of my wits. The doctor said they would perform surgery on Monday to remove the hardware of my fusions because they had healed, and that they would bombard me with heavy antibiotics to cure the staph and bone marrow infection, which was a tremendous pain in my right hip and leg. As they left my room, I opened my mouth and said "Am I going to die?"  The infectious disease doctor said in a very commanding way "you are NOT going to die!" So much for bedside manner.

I won't go through all that happened other than to say that I was in the hospital for 12 days, but I came home with a PICC line, which I had to change my tubing and bag of antibiotics every 24 hours. I had this for another 8 weeks. When I was then released from that, I had to deal with the anxiety of coming off all of the medications that I'd been taking for 6 months. I spun out in a state of detox, and got so depressed for several days, I thought I would go mad!

The point in telling all of this is to emphasize something that I tell people of that time in my life: God brought me Home, but not before He brought me to my knees! This was my wake-up call to change my life and place God and Christ in their proper place. He made a believer out of me in that He is ALWAYS in control and it is not my will, but His. He also made me realize that Jesus is alive and well, and that he had been with me through my entire journey, not just this, but my entire life.
We always refer to our "Living God", and we should know that He lives, Jesus lives, and if you do not believe that he factually lives, then to whom are you praying? 

We know that Jesus left the tomb in which he was placed after his death. We know that he appeared to Mary Magdalene, and to his Disciples. He was seen then being lifted on the clouds, body and soul, to his rightful place, at the right hand of his Father, God.

The prayer on my sidebar specifically states that through our suffering, we are joined more closely with Christ. Our suffering, no matter how difficult WE may think it is, it will never be as much as the pain that Christ endured for all of our sins, past, present and future. If you think about God's plan and what this means, it can become mind-boggling. It is such a tremendous gift and Grace that it is impossible to not know how much Christ endured, and to know that no matter how much we may suffer on this earth, it will never come close to what Christ endured for ALL of us, for sin for all time.

The scourging at the pillar was brutal, and most men would die right there, but not Jesus. His back was torn to shreds by the weaponry lashed upon him. And to add to it, that he managed to carry this enormous, heavy cross to Calvary where he would be crucified.


Imagine having those large nails going through your palms and then your feet. Afterward, being hoisted up on the cross to die. But that was not enough, one man had to stab his long sword into Jesus' side. In his thirst, he was given gall. There was no compassion by the emperor, nor his soldiers who carried out his orders. In fact, they scoff at him and made fun! Even gambling for the clothes that he had on when he was taken into custody.

Me, I cannot fathom the pain that Jesus endured for me, for all of us, for all time. Back in those days, being hung from a cross was how they dealt with thieves and killers. But oh my Jesus, how he suffered.

It is not my intent to lessen the pain that you are in. There are so many who have chronic maladies that will never be cured and they will live with them until the day they are called Home. I feel the pain of many of my friends, and my heart breaks for them, but the only thing I can do is right and just - pray for them.  Do your best, that's all you can do. In your infirmities, remember what Christ endured for you, for your salvation, for all time. I still have problems with my spine. I have scoliosis where my spine is twisting, and I have degenerative disc disease, along with osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. It's in the gene pool, a fact of which I was not aware until the last few years. There is nothing that I can do except take the advice of my physicians and take the medications which do ease my pain. I'm not that old and I'm a strong-willed woman. I will accept my infirmities with Grace and Dignity. I try to not complain and my husband understands when I go to my bed early, watch a little television while my nighttime meds take effect and I go into slumber. He's very good to me and does all he can to keep me from doing things that might have a negative effect on my maladies.


Instead of complaining in my prayers, I thank God and Jesus for what I am experiencing because I know that no matter what befalls me, it will never be as great as what Jesus endured for me. With that in mind, it certainly humbles me and I thank God for my maladies because of the fact that He does not put anything on me that is as great as He put on to His own Son. Oh how He must have felt, having to put Jesus through that. I am securing my place in Heaven!

But, Jesus was taken body and soul to heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. From there he will reign forever and will welcome each soul that enters into His Father's Kingdom.

It overwhelms me, actually. I'm just one [what I think is] insignificant human being. But believing, trusting, loving and being patient with God never fails to sooth my pain. I feel pretty good right now, and thanks be to God, technology provides good things to treat the maladies that I have.

When you get depressed about your own maladies, just think of the Passion of Jesus Christ. It will always humble you, if your heart is in the right place. And it will then give you a different outlook on your own maladies, for some it will mean Sainthood one day.

Jesus was born to suffer and die so that all sin for all time can be forgiven. Stay with your faith and love of Jesus and God. Life is but a blip on the radar screen, it is so short compared to eternity. Ready yourself to make claim to the place that Jesus hath prepared just for you!

I will never know anyone on this earth that I will revere and love as much as I love Jesus Christ. He earned his reverence, and I will adhere to it until the day that I die, and then afterward if I am so blessed to make it to heaven.

Lovingly in Jesus Christ,
ABBEY  

3 comments:

  1. In pain, we suffer with God and are able to offer and join our affliction with God. Very humbling, I know. Great read and continue with your writing! God speed my friend

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    1. That's it and you het it which pleases me. Thank you for the comment. Happy Thanksgivimg dear friend.

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