EDITOR'S NOTE: I wrote this following post in the days after being discharged from the hospital. Since writing it, I am actually finally starting to experience some healing (praise God!) and we have more answers from doctors (though it has been a fight to get them) and believe the culprit was in fact a kidney stone (though they originally ruled that out). However, I still wanted to share this post as a way to document where I have been and how God has been pulling me through it...
As I’ve been coming to terms with this new lifestyle of mine and its daily dose of persistent pain, I’ve been reconciled with the Scriptural element of suffering that is deeply woven into the story of man.
For much of my life, I’ve known suffering in abstract ways—things like waiting on marriage or pregnancy, making due with a small income, feeling un-cool and left-out in social circles. But I have never really known suffering in a physical, daily and constant-reminder kind of way until now.
Now, when I sit or stand, I am reminded—sometimes sharply and othertimes dully—of my suffering. Sometimes it is so strong I can think of nothing else but this suffering of mine.
And so I decided to start digging through the Bible for verses on suffering, as a way to help myself adjust to this newfound element in my life. I began in the Psalms, a good place to start since I know that suffering is stamped on nearly every page of the book. I started pulling verses that spoke to my suffering, and jotting them down in my prayer notebook as a source of hope and guidance and consolation.
Why am I so discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! (Psalm 42:11)
You keep track of my all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. (Psalm 56:8)
Give your burdens to the LORD and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. (Psalm 55:22)
I started pulling all these verses, and weaving them into my own prayer—a prayer not only to God but to my own heart, directing it how to act and how to hold itself together in spite of the suffering and how to turn to God even when it hurts like nothing else:
Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles. (Psalm 55:1-2)
O God, take up my cause! (Psalm 43:1)
Don’t let the floods overwhelm me or the deep waters swallow me or the pit of death devour me. … Turn and take care of me for your mercy is so plentiful. (Psalm 69:15-16)
Oh, give me back my joy again, you have broken me—now let me rejoice! (Psalm 51:8)
I recall all you have done, O LORD; I remember all your wonderful deeds of long ago. (Psalm 77:11)
You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. (Psalm 65:5)
I wait quietly before God, for my salvation comes from him. (Psalm 62:1)
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear even if earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. (Psalm 46:1)
… I will keep on hoping for you to help me; I will praise you more and more. (Psalm 71:14)
And as I searched and sought those verses and recorded them and threaded them into this little prayer of mine, my heart began to find calm. Not because the suffering is gone—it is not yet. But because I was reminded of the hope I have that all is not lost. This suffering is not all there is; there is so much more. And until then, I will wait. And I trust that I shall not be disappointed!
Carmen writes the blog, Life Blessons, which provides an intimate look into her life as a twentysomething woman as she details her experiences learning how to live out her faith, enjoy the simple things in life and be the woman God created to her to be. Along the way, she shares the blessings and lessons that are a part of this journey, the things she likes to call her "blessons."
Feel free to learn more at her blog, Life Blessons.
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