For over ten weeks now, I’ve been in pain. I know I’m complaining, but it has been awful. I know it’s not on par for what people with chronic illnesses face, but it’s been enough for me to have a royal pity party. I’ve been to so many doctors already trying to find a cure for my headaches, and nothing has worked yet.
It’s cluster headaches. It’s muscle tension with migraines. It’s a pinched nerve. It’s your wisdom teeth. I don’t know what to believe anymore. I got my wisdom teeth pulled. If you haven’t seen the video, you should watch it. It’s a doozy.
After I get four wisdom teeth pulled, three of them get dry sockets. So painful! I’d rather go through epidural-free labor again than dry sockets.
Since I have a 40 minute commute to work, I get the opportunity to pray (or vent) to God. The other morning this was my prayer:
God, I need a win. I’m tired and worn out. I just need something to go right.
No, I don’t have long-winded, beautifully-worded prayers. Just honesty. I turned on the CD that was in my car, and immediately God gave me this reminder:
It came so quickly that it was like God was saying, “Bless your heart. You know this already.” God never promised that we would have sunshine and rainbows if we just believed in Him. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
Matthew 16:24 – 27 states, “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”
It’s like Christ gives steps to follow after becoming a believer. So, you’ve become a Christian . . . Now what?
1. Deny yourself.
2. Take up your cross.
It sounds like two steps, but it’s really one smooth (or not so smooth) motion. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When you deny yourself (put fleshly desires aside) you exchange that for a cross (decidedly joining in the process of sanctification). It’s like a series of gives and takes.
It’s like the story of the man with two dogs – one black, one white. I bet you can’t guess which is supposed to stand for good/bad. Right, black = bad; white = good. The two dogs are in constant battle – they hate each other. Whichever one gets fed by the man is always the one that wins the battle. Therefore, we can feed our flesh, and it will defeat the growth towards Christlikeness. OR, we can feel the spirit, and the flesh will be defeated. Either way, one dog is always being fed.
What in the world does that rabbit trail have to do with feeling bad? Not a whole lot, to be honest. It’s just how my brain worked that particular morning. In my grumbling and complaining, God reminded me that he never promised perfect health, happy days, or even a shower every day. What He did promise me was eternal life complete with a glorified body.
Phil. 3:21 – Who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
I guess the answer my prayer was “yes.” God promised I wouldn’t feel this way forever. He promised that I will be free from pain . . . it may just not be as soon as I like.
Then there’s that whole argument about suffering as a sign of doing things right. If you’re suffering, the devil’s fighting you, and he only fights those who are a threat to him. Eh, I don’t know that I’m that great of a Christian to be seen as a giant threat as much as I’d like to tell myself that.
The point of all of this is encouragement, not just getting the chance to vent to anyone who has a moment to read. If you too just “need a win,” take heart! For those who believe in Christ, we’ve already won! We’ve been promised an eternity with the God who made us, with glorified bodies, and without pain! May you too be encouraged that, as Psalm 30:5 says, “Weeping may endure for the night, but JOY comes in the morning.”