Friday, January 27, 2017

"HUGE" Revisited


2 Corinthians 12:7-9
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away form me.  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

I write this post you are reading today on January 25th, one month since Christmas.  What strikes me hard is not how fast the days have flown by, but the variety of ailments I've endured during this time.

It starts on Christmas Eve day.  I wake with one ear stuffed up.  No amount of coaxing with wax softeners alleviates my condition.  Being partially deaf at Christmas makes it rough, let me tell you!

As soon as the holiday is over, I head out to our local Urgent Care with high hopes the doctor can clear up the ear.  But he can't!!!  This has never happened before!  He suggests I go home, now that my ear is washed out as well as it can be for now, and use a wax softener overnight to see if it works.

I follow the doctor's orders to the letter.  Next morning?  Clear as a bell!  What a blessed relief!

But not one meant to last . . .

Because within two days, here come the cold, and the cough, and the sneezing, and the ravaging of tissue boxes.  No fever, but I'm miserable, and definitely moving around in a slow-motion fog.

I try a generic allergy reliever, as that has helped my colds in the past, yet it's a weak substitute for the Day-Quil I finally end up taking.  But after three days, I quit, sniffles or no sniffles.  The drug is suppressing my appetite - not a good thing for a person who should be gaining weight, not losing it!

Back to the allergy pills I go.  I continue to suffer like this until the third week of January, when I take granddaughter, Virginia Rose, to my mother's for the weekend.  Thankfully, after these horrendous weeks, the cold has definitely subsided, and is manageable at long last.

Just when I feel I've turned the corner and outrun the creeping crud, I am inexplicably hit with a severe pain in my shoulders and upper back.  These not only make it almost impossible to stand straight, but alarmingly, affect each breath inhaled, infusing it with the harsh reminder of this burden.  Don't ask me how many aspirins I go through, because I don't recall.

What I do recall, though, is praying fervently to God.  Not that I hadn't prayed about the other illnesses I'd been saddled with, but this time, I ask specifically:  It it's Your will, Lord, please ease the pain in my back and chest.  I just don't know how much more of this I can take.

My prayer is answered!  Within twenty-four hours, the aches and tightness are gone!  For the first time in a month, I think, I can finally, finally get back to the gym.

And that's precisely what I do.  Only to wake up the next morning with my right hip joint so stiff and sore, I can hardly walk, let alone going up and down stairs.  Okay, Lord, is this some kind of joke?  You relieve me in one area of my body only to torment me in another?

Then Paul's words from 2 Corinthians hit me as brightly as a lone shaft of sunlight pierces an ominous bank of clouds.  "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

And I see in a flash that during these trying times, I have prayed more to God, talked more with Him, and relied upon His mercy and strength like never before.  God's intention was never to punish me, but to set me straight.

He knows my word for the year is "huge."  And while I morosely think that all these infirmities are a HUGE inconvenience, He sees it as a HUGE opportunity for me to draw closer to Him.

Thank you, Father!  It's worked in a HUGE way!

Amen!

~

Have you ever struggled with a thorn in your flesh?

20 comments:

  1. Now THAT's HUGE!! I am so sorry for your pain and suffering, but glad that you can see God at work in your life in the midst of it all. It truly helps when we can see life through His eyes...and know that He has it all under control as well. Praying for you to regain your strength and move on into Feb. with a clean slate and bright hope!

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    1. Thank you so much, Pamela, for your prayers and kind comment here. The aches and pains are subsiding, for now, but God certainly taught me a HUGE lesson through all of it - that's a take-a-way I'll always remember.
      Love and blessings!

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  2. Yeah, busyness and lingering sickness is still affecting me. Doesn't help that we have 70 degree days followed by days of 40 degrees. I'm congested and tired (why I didn't write anything for today), but even while I feel like I'm just surviving, God shows up. I love how He uses any and everything to help us refocus our attention on Him. Continued healing to you, Martha! Blessings on your weekend too. :)

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    1. Sorry to hear you've been under the weather, too, Jason, and those jumps in temperature certainly don't help matters (it's been like that in Georgia, too). And yes, God can and does use everything possible to get and keep our attention, doesn't He? Just knowing He's available even in the messy times is so comforting.
      You get well soon, too, my friend!
      Love and blessings!

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  3. Martha,
    You've really had a lot to deal with physically in the last few weeks. I'm glad that you drew closer to the Lord during this time. In some way, I've had a "thorn" in my flesh for my entire life. That is a completely different story for another time. On another hand, we really don't know what type of thorn Paul was referring to; we do know the why he had it and why God didn't remove it (this too is a different story for another time). :)

    Love and Blessings!

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    1. Yes, Kim, like many of us, I've often pondered what type of "thorn" Paul is referring to, but maybe it is left uncertain for that very reason. As you mention, you've had a "thorn" for your entire life, and mine were fast and furious, but, I hope, temporary. Maybe that's exactly why we can identify with Paul because we DON'T know what his problem was.
      And if any thorn helps us to grow closer to the Lord, it is well worth it!
      Love and blessings!

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  4. I'm sorry you've had health issues lately, but thrilled how God used them to draw you closer.
    Blessings and good health!

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    1. Yes, Beckie, God can use our bad times and turn them all for His good, and ours, if we let Him.
      I am feeling better today - still an ornery ache in the left shoulder, but I can live with that!
      Love and blessings!

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  5. Sounds like the disease of the aged. Just kidding. You have taught a valuable truth Martha. No request is too small or too big. Hope you are feeling better.

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    1. I am feeling better, Bill, though had the thorn revisit my left shoulder today. God has a great way of reminding us, doesn't He? He certainly wants me to retain this lesson, no matter how inconvenient or painful.
      Disease of the aged, all kidding aside, afflicts us all as we enter our 60s. I'm accepting it, with God's help, but it's not always so easy. Hoping my hope, in the midst of it, will inspire others to keep on keeping on!
      Love and blessings!

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  6. oh my what a awful way to start the year. Every time you seem to get better, something new came along. Praying for huge health now for the rest of the year and you are so right, hard to believe Jan is almost over. wow time seems to go faster each year

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    1. No, Jean, it wasn't the roaring start for the year that I was hoping for, but I have learned some HUGE lessons from it all. God is able to do great things in us even when we don't feel up to the task.
      And yes, time is flying way too fast!
      Love and blessings!

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  7. Oh brother Martha! I can really relate to your woes that started in January. I feel so sorry for your aches and ear pain. And yet, you can turn it all to a learning experience, which means grace is flowing through you like a river.
    Satan might be trying to make you depressed and down, but you aren't going to stand for it! You turned to the Lord, and he heard your cries.
    I don't think anything makes Jesus more happy than surrender. Letting him take over and lead you in the healing. You have done that, so good for you!
    Wishing you an easier road, and continued connection with our Father,
    Ceil

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    1. Ceil, your words here are both comforting and encouraging. Thank you!!!
      It's ironic, isn't it, that being in a painful, vulnerable situation causes us to most quickly turn and surrender ourselves completely to God? I haven't enjoyed the pain, not in the least, but I love the outcome that is sure to benefit me in the long run as I continue to walk with the Lord. Though these sufferings, He has truly shown me that I can't go this life on my own, nor should I ever try.
      Love and blessings!

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  8. Marianne Williamson described a time in her life when she kept getting knocked to her knees. Every time she bravely struggled back up to her feet, only to be knocked down again. She finally understood that maybe she should just stay on her knees! I love that story.

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    1. Oh, Galen, I love that story, too! I will remember that, indeed, as I continue to struggle what has no become severe back/shoulder pain. Hoping to see a massage therapist today, but I will certainly pray about that visit first!
      Love and blessings!

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  9. That does seem like it was a lot to endure during a short time period. And just when it seemed to be gone, another 'thorn' appeared. So often we can wish away our ailments, yet God's taught us through Paul how we can see them differently, hasn't he? And then endure in my a more peaceful mindset. Definitely a strength to develop as I still tend to moan and groan sometimes! Thanks for the reminder that prayer is always the sword with God's word to endure all!

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    1. Thank you, Lynn, for sharing your marvelous thoughts here. Knowing God is in it all with us, no matter how we feel, is such a comfort, and does keep down that moaning and groaning we would like to do, as if that will make anything better. As Galen shared in the comment just above yours, if God keeps knocking us to our knees, maybe that's exactly where we need to be.
      Love and blessings!

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  10. All about perspective. What we focus on.
    We see heartache, pain and inconvenience...God see's an opportunity to get closer to us and meet our needs.
    And we have such HUGE needs that only He is able to fill.
    Thank you for sharing. I pray you're feeling better.
    God bless.

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    1. I am feeling better, TC; thanks for asking!
      Yes, only God sees the big picture. And we have to trust that when we are going through troubles, illness, etc., that He is right there with us, waiting to be perfected in our weakness.
      Love and blessings!

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