Below is a guest post from my wife. She is also my best friend, my partner, my joint heir of grace and my crown so it is difficult for me to read.
As my family, church family, friends and many readers know my wife suffered back injuries from a car accident in August 2008. It’s been a long two years; two years of needles, meds and prayer. The Lord has guided us to a procedure that may finally give my wife some pain relief.
The first half of the procedure will be done this Tuesday to one side of her back. The other side of her back will be done the following Tuesday. In the letter below my wife reflects on her suffering and sanctification in the last two years.
Please pray for her upcoming procedures. Also, I encourage you to pray and reach out to any who are suffering.
Help me to submit to the pain. So many times have I asked for healing, and so many times have I asked for prayers for healing. For two years I have cried out that the pain be taken away. Even so, I have known that I have it all wrong. I have not wanted to be chosen to endure suffering, I have wanted a comfortable existence. I have not wanted to help others through my suffering, I have wanted only for them to help me. I have not wanted to become a wiser Godly woman by persevering; I have wanted that to be given to me without more trials.
For so long have I cried “Why me, oh Lord? Why have you given me this pain? Why have you taken away my health, my abilities, my comfort, my ability to sleep through the night, my job, my clients, my co-workers, my income, my job status, my self-respect, and most painfully my ability to have a child right now?” Lord, you know already that I thought I had been through enough major trials, and that the rest of my life should be ok. I thought I had earned that much. Yes, I know that Job suffered greatly, but in the end he was rewarded for that, and had his own book in the Bible! Christ suffered the greatest of them all, but hey-he knew how it was going to end!
Lord, in my sin I just don’t want to suffer without knowing that I am going to get something out of it. Yet there it is all over Scripture. I will indeed get something out of it. Lord, You have made it so clear that to take up your cross comes with suffering, but also that we are to take up that cross with JOY. We are to celebrate the suffering as we know they do not compare to what is to come. We are to rejoice as we are conformed to Your likeness. What better thing could there be?
Yet in these things—embracing, rejoicing, even celebrating the trials—I am failing miserably. I am tired as I fight to hold on to what was. I hold the desert in my mouth and dust in my hands so tightly. I do this instead of opening them all for your free-flowing living water. I am parched, and yet I resist the water and your hands and your potter’s wheel. I am dry, and cracked, and cakey, and broken, and discarded—-and ready to yield. I can take no more of holding onto me. I know that I need only to hold onto You.
Lord help me to let go. Catch me as I lie back in your still waters, soaking you in as you prepare me and mold me for new uses. Fill me up as I open my mouth once again to sing your praises—even through the pain. Oh the pain. Very soon I will feel a great deal of it. Hold me still as I lay on the hospital table in fear—worried that the doctor will get too close to my spinal cord. Lord calm me as she places needles into the most painful area of my body. Reveal your presence as they go deeper still.
Lord as they burn my nerves, searing me in my weakest most dreadful areas, sear my heart with your loving, shaping hands. As they burn and work to kill my nerves please kill my selfish desires not to suffer for You. Hold me still as my body shakes in fear, my mouth wanting to cry out from the pain. As You and the doctor both burn away what is inflamed, revive in me the need to open my mouth—not to cry out in pain but to rejoice in the pain. Open my mouth to rejoice in the work You are doing in my heart as the doctor works on my back. Lord sear me and shape me on Your wheel as they sear me and puncture me on the table.
Make me more like You, Lord.
Help me, Lord, to submit to this pain.