This past summer I entered the hospital for an outpatient surgical procedure. I was to be under anesthesia for an hour, and then take it easy at home for a few days. No big deal. I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice to say that all did not go according to plan. Something went wrong and when I woke up I was in horrific pain. I was in the hospital for eight days. It was a blur of doctors and specialists, morphine and agony, and many, many tears. I was given injections and steroids and a walker. I normally wear a step tracker and average a minimum of 12,000 steps a day. My first trip out of my hospital bed with the physical therapist was three steps. When I finally arrived home the trip from the car to the couch was painful and challenging.
This was physically the hardest thing I have ever done. I couldn’t stand up for more than a few minutes at a time, and had to use a shower chair. I used the walker for even the shortest trips in my house. I knew underneath it all that God was certainly at work, but the pain was so brutal that I couldn’t even try to see Him. I reached a breaking point many times, weeping into the night. God didn’t take away my pain. He didn’t fix it. I knew better than to ask why He was allowing this, as I knew there would be no ready answer.
Instead, He heard when I said, “Lord, I’m in despair and I cannot bear this anymore. Help.” He heard, and He sent: a nurse with a helping hand and kind word; a friend with a text saying she was praying for me and loved me; a husband who gave up much sleep to be by my side every minute that he could; a daughter who stayed all day to keep me company; parents who sat by my bed and prayed for me; in-laws who kept my younger kids and dog at their house, even taking my son to get his braces off; fellow Study With Friends board members who brought meals to feed my family; friends who brought flowers; girlfriends who brought meals and sat with me once I was home, to talk and take my mind off things; another friend who sent me a devotional every morning that she hand-picked to encourage me. The list goes on.
“These have come so that your faith– of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:7
The lesson for me, and I hope for anyone who watched our family go through this, is simple: God doesn’t gasp. He knew what was going to happen, and He already had a plan. He had already blessed me with a support network ready to act. There were moments when my heart was so full of joy and love, seeing how others cared for me, that I found myself thanking God for this trial. What greater gift could He give me than to show me how much He loves me? This is the power of Christ in us, to be able to honestly thank Him for allowing us to suffer. For it is in our suffering that our faith is tested and grown. When I started writing this blog a while back I assumed I would be past this struggle by now. And maybe when it is published I will be, but for now I am still not recovered. I must choose daily to trust God, to trust Him on this unknown path. In the meantime, my community continues to love and bless me and my family in so many ways.
Shay is a blog contributor and a lover of coffee and snow. She is married with three children. You can listen to Shay and other Friends as they explore ways to connect our daily Bible reading with our everyday life on our Old Testament Themes Bible study by tuning in to your favorite radio station, listening to our podcast on iTunes, or listening through TuneIn or Stitcher online radio.