I hurt my back on Sunday. I've done it several times in the past 4 years or so. Each time similar in some ways, and different in other ways. It does seem as though this time the pain is less intense and easier to deal with. But it's still hard and I don't like it.
Once again begins the process of icing, resting, stretching, resting, icing. Walking carefully, not making sudden weird movements, feeling incapable of standing up straight, hurting no matter what position I'm in. Seeing the chiropractor more often, not being able to work a full day, not being able to sleep soundly all night. Being dependent on my husband, my family, my friends, my coworkers to help out when I can't do what I should be able to do.
“We’d all like to feel self-reliant and capable of coping with whatever adversity comes our way, but that’s not how most human beings are made. It’s my belief that the capacity to accept help is inseparable from the capacity to give help when our turn comes to be strong. It can sometimes be difficult to ask for support when we need it, but having someone we can count on to stick with us through the tough times can make those times much more bearable.” ~ Mister Rogers
Needing help. Crying in pain and wondering why. Realizing that some people deal with this all the time, not just for a few days or weeks once in awhile. Like my mom who has lupus and fibromyalgia and is in constant pain yet rarely complains about it and always has a smile on her face and praises to God on her lips. Like several of my friends who also struggle with fibromyalgia or other "quiet" diseases like that - things that aren't apparent on the surface.
It seems so unfair all the things we have to deal with - all of us has something. Some times it's easier to see or put into words - like back injuries, or cancer, or a broken leg. Sometimes it's more hidden - like depression or anxiety, or emotional pain. But we all have struggles and we all make choices about how we deal with those struggles. Choosing to believe that God is still in control when we struggle is difficult...and sometimes it feels impossible.
“Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.” ~ 1 Peter 4:12-13
I find myself all too often settling into the "Why" zone - why am I hurting? why do I have to go through this? why didn't I move more carefully and avoid hurting myself? It's usually later, after throwing myself a pity party that I get reminded (often by my mom) that we can still choose joy. No it isn't easy, but choosing to find the joy, choosing to depend on God, choosing to have faith is always the better choice.
“There is absolutely no experience, however terrible, or heartbreaking, or unjust, or cruel, or evil, which you can meet in the course of your earthly life, that can harm you if you but let Me teach you how to accept it with joy; and to react to it triumphantly as I did myself, with love and forgiveness and with willingness to bear the results of wrong done by others. Every trial, every test, every difficulty and seemingly wrong experience through which you may have to pass, is only another opportunity granted to you of conquering an evil thing and bringing out of it something to the lasting praise and glory of God.”
~ Hannah Hurnard
“You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry” ~ Psalm 10:17
It's not that we can't cry out to God when we are hurting - we can! He is always there and He will never leave us. The trouble comes when we settle into the pain and let the hurt and the bitterness and the distress take us away from trusting Him. When we choose to place our trust in Him, when we choose to place our hurting and our pain in His hands, when we choose to let go of the right to feel bad - then we can have peace, we can have joy and we can have hope. It doesn't mean that our pain will disappear or that we won't struggle. But we won't be alone. We can rest in His arms, feeling His love surrounding us and reminding us that He is faithful and merciful and He will never leave us.
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in Him.’” ~ Lamentations 3:22-24
“Take courage; offer Him your pains incessantly; pray to Him for strength to endure them. Above all, get a habit of entertaining yourself often with God, and forget Him the least you can. Adore Him in your infirmities, offer yourself to Him from time to time, and in the height of your sufferings beseech Him humbly and affectionately (as a child his father) to make you conformable to His holy will.” ~ Brother Lawrence
I'm definitely not perfected. I try to remember to focus on the good and not the bad. To see my pain as a reminder to turn to God. As a reminder that I am not alone, and that I can't do it all on my own. That it's okay to depend on others for some things. That it's okay to take time to rest. That my hurt and pain is often the best way God has of getting my attention and putting my focus back on Him. It's a process and it's one I'll be on my whole life. But it's worth it to be closer to God. And He is faithful. He has healed my back before and I have faith that He can do it again. Yes, it's harder to believe that He may not heal my back...but I'll try to trust that He knows what is best and to try to praise Him through the pain.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
~ Psalm 46:1
Thank You, God, for the miraculous ways You have worked in the past. Help me to remember Your power and faithfulness when I can see only trouble and difficulty. ~ Our Daily Bread devotional 8/9/14
Dear heavenly Father, thank You for always being there. Thank You for providing me with a loving family and friends and coworkers that are so supportive of me and helpful during this time of pain in my back. I ask that if it's in Your will, that You provide a full and complete healing for my back. I thank You for the times You have healed me in the past. I pray that You grant me peace and comfort and patience if it is not in Your will to provide healing. I pray for those people in my life who are also hurting in any way. Give them healing, give them patience and joy, comfort and peace. Help myself and others to come alongside them with support and encouragement and whatever else is needed. Thank You for being in control and never being surprised. I am so thankful for Your love and sacrifice. Thank You for loving us. I love you. Amen.