Are You Leaning When it Hurts?

Hot, excruciating pain ripped and pulsated through the young man’s weak body . . . the aftermath of an operation meant for his good. Now, the physical therapist asked the man to stand up and walk. How could he walk when he could barely breathe from the pain?

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However, pain had been a constant companion for much of the young man’s life, and he wanted more than anything to convalesce at home. So he squared his shoulders and gripped the parallel bars on either side of him. Sweat oozed from his furrowed brow and rolled down his flushed cheeks as he leaned on those bars for support, and walked. One step, then another. Over and over . . . until he reached home.

My friend told me that watching her son-in-law grip the parallel bars became a visual of how she had to hold onto the Lord during that desperate week when all she could do was “cry for God’s help.”

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Like my friend, I’ve had to helplessly watch loved ones suffer. I’ve begged God, “Remove this cup. Spare them!” However, even in this . . . the Lord responds, “Rest in Me.”

At first, I balked at that term because rest means to cease from activity, and I didn’t want to sit back and be idle. I wanted to do something constructive to alleviate their pain. However, I discovered the word rest also means to be supported and remain confident. And a synonym for rest is LEAN. 

Perhaps you’ve heard the hymn Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.

To Rest—or lean—on the everlasting arms of God means we’re “supported” by Him, as we struggle to walk through each day . . . down every haphazard path. The same way someone leans on a cane, and relies on it to support their weight while they’re walking,  we’re urged to cast all our cares on the Lord and lean on Him.

To rest and lean on the Lord also means we can “remain confident” He’s present and bringing about good from every trial, including praise and glory. (1Peter 1:7) For even my friend praised the Lord for His faithfulness, and bringing so many people to pray for her family.

Sadly, her son-in-law still needs prayer as he recovers at home because the debilitating pain remains, and the physical therapy continues. There’s no way to rest (cease from activity) if he wants to improve his mobility. He has to rise, do the hard thing, and lean on his crutches and walk even when everything in him might shout, “I can’t!”

Likewise, God calls His beloved children to stand up and walk by faith . . . one day at a time . . . leaning on the Lord for strength as well as understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

Photos: Pixabay

How To Cope with Pain & Adversity

Today, I saw my neighbor at the grocery store. “How’s your wife?” I asked, standing in the canned vegetable aisle.

“Hanging in there. She still has another month of recuperation.”

I wish I could say his wife is the only one who entered the new year with a major injury. But I know multiple people who are recovering from broken bones and surgery.

Other friends live with chronic pain, depression, and debilitating diseases like Parkinsons, and in one woman’s case—terminal cancer.

C.S. Lewis said, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Have you—or someone you love—been roused by pain? Patience worn thin?

When Job was tormented by grief and agonizing pain, he implored God, “Why am I suffering?” However, he refused to follow his wife’s advice and curse God.

Instead, he said, “‘Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?’ In this, he did not sin with his lips.” (Job 2:10)

My mentor, Loretta, calls this …

Job’s Intolerable Compliment—God trusted Job to honor Him in his circumstances.

Even Jesus prayed on the night of his arrest, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow….Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet, not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:34-36)

Honoring God in our adversity begins with the heart. Accepting and trusting God’s sovereignty.

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Several of my friends deal with chronic pain and health issues. They pray for the absence of pain. They believe God has the power to restore their health, but they agree—for whatever reason—God’s allowed poor health in their lives.

They’ve come to a place of submission.

  • Accepting what they cannot change.
  • Acknowledging God’s eternal purpose—to use everything—to teach and mold us into Christ’s image.

One friend said, “When I’m in pain, I cling to God. Sometime I wonder if my faith would be as rich if I’d been a healthy woman.”

She admitted, “Some days, all I can do is pick up my son from school and put dinner on the table. On these days, it’s my choice to…

  • Get angry and kick myself; feel like a failure.
  • Compare myself to healthy friends; feel resentful.
  • Have a pity party; feel sorry for myself
  • Give myself grace; accept this is all I can do.

Her attitude echoes another friend’s words. “When I’m in pain, I try to pray like Jesus, ‘Father, Thy will be done.’”

Perhaps like me, you don’t deal with chronic pain. Maybe your adverse situation is unemployment or dealing with a loved one’s drug addiction. If so, there’s a lesson to be gleaned from Job’s Intolerable Compliment.

Honoring God even in this…..

 

Photo: JennyWredePhotography