“I praise you because I am fearfully and
your works are wonderful,
I know full well.”
Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
I had a recent hospitalization. Recent in fact: it was just last week.
If CS Lewis is right, that “pain is God’s megaphone.” then what is he trying to say to me?
I woke up as normal, petted the cats, and wandered off to breakfast. Hmm big choice: eggs and 1/2 bagel, oatmeal, polenta, or cheerios? Yeah not a huge selection, but when you’re on a budget, predictability in cost becomes a factor.
So, I decided on Cheerios and Milk. A good way to start the day. Or so I thought. About 15 minutes after eating them, my stomach became nauseous.
Things never settled. I got sicker as time progressed. Then the vomiting started. I couldn’t keep any water down. Uh oh, this is serious!
I called my doctor, who by now only knows that I call if something is seriously wrong said: “Get your butt on over to the Hospital.”
I timed things and drove the 2 miles. Despite my condition, I sat in the waiting room for 4 hours with a bucket. I’ll bet that had to be a site to see.
By then I was in so much pain from vomiting about 20 times, you can only imagine. “Okay God, you have my attention! What’s up?”
I wasn’t understanding what was happening to me or why. They ordered a Cat Scan. “Oh God, this is serious!”
What I didn’t realise, was HOW serious. I had a blockage in the small intestine from scar tissue from a previous stomach surgery. “Great! What do I do now?”
It turns out the Doctor said: “We are going to continue IV fluids, and you are NPO!” (nothing by mouth.) How is that going to fix anything?
As I lay there, and pondered all of this: fearing, wondering, hoping, crying, praying, alone. A lot of scripture came to mind. But Psalm 139:14 was the strongest. “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” If I am so wonderfully made then you screwed up God! Why am I lying in a hospital bed, wincing in tremendous pain?
Then as I meditated on the scripture, it became clear. It wasn’t about being “wonderfully made at all.” It’s a control issue.
Even in times like this, God is still in control. You mean God knew about this? Why would He let me suffer so? Ahh the refining fire, is no place for fun.
I began to experience peace, even though I was in great pain, simply because I knew I wasn’t responsible for the outcome of this. God was. Nothing ever escapes God’s omniscience or omnipresence.
I had to realise, that despite all this: God was still in control. I am not! I AM wonderfully made, even though it hurts.
As Larry O. Richard said: This may be one of the most important values of suffering. If life on earth were a constant joy, why would we fix our hope fully on the grace to be brought to us at Jesus’ return? If life on earth were without difficulty, how would we remain sensitive to our need for God? If life on earth were without trials or persecution how would we be forced to choose between commitment to Christ, and comfort or ease?
As Peter said, suffering does have value. It reveals the genuineness of our faith, and brings praise to the Lord.” (“The 365 Day Devotional Commentary”, Larry O. Richards, Victor Publications, 1992, pg 1109)
And that’s what I learned. Good lesson, God!