Friday, February 7, 2014

Refusing The Remedy

Motherhood is rewarding.

Having children can bring great joy to your life.

But do you know what I used to hate when my kids were little?


If you've ever had a baby with a fever, or a child with a relentless cough, you may be able to relate to this. Remember the dread that filled you at the thought of having to coerce your sick little one into swallowing just a little bit of medicine? Maybe your kids were kinder to you than mine, but none of my four children took medicine well. They dribbled it down their chin, spit it back in my face, and sometimes gagged to the point of vomiting. It was dreadful. Nothing filled me with more dread than having to give my children medicine.

Even though I knew it was good for them, and that they needed it, I hated that aspect of motherhood.

When I was pregnant, I needed blood thinners so that I did not develop a blood clot. And there wasn't a pill that I could take that wouldn't be harmful to the babies growing inside of me. So the only option was an injection. Twice a day, I had to give myself a shot in my stomach. More accurately, because I was too scared, my husband had to administer the blood thinner. We both hated it. Him because he knew it hurt me. Me because, well, it hurt me! The shot itself wasn't painful, but the medication would spread through my stomach and burn. It was awful. And if you add up my pregnancies, I had to do this daily for 36 long months.

My husband hates medicine. He has this odd attitude towards pills. He'll take Nyquil without hesitation (as long as it's the liquid), but when it comes to medicine for headaches or upset stomach, or heaven forbid I suggest he mix cold medicine with a pain reliever/fever reducer, I've gone mad!

While celebrating my birthday last weekend, Kris and I got to talking about medicine. And this thought came to me.

We so often refuse the remedy for our pain.

Think about it. In all of the situations I wrote about above, there was a dread or dislike. While we understood the good that the medicine would bring, we still resisted. It was easier to hope the babies just got better after barely ingesting any of the medicine they repeatedly spit out. It was less painful in the moment to hope I didn't get a blood clot than to be consistent with the Lovenox injections. For Kris, sometimes it's more convenient to avoid getting up to get the Ibuprofen and suffer through a headache, when there is absolutely no reason that he should have to.

And it occurred to me that this is the very thing I have been doing. Spiritually.

I live with chronic pain as I've mentioned many times before. And at the age of 35, I feel as if I am 85. I'm never not in some degree of pain. I've mostly come to terms with it. I want relief, of course I do. But when I question why I must endure it, and I think of all the other people who are worse off than I am, it doesn't seem right to complain. And when I get real with God about it, I don't doubt that he can heal me. I believe that he can take my pain away. And yet, I won't surrender the pain fully to him.

Because I believe that he WON'T.

Not that he can't.

That he will choose not to.

In a way, I am refusing the remedy for my pain. I realized last week, as Kris and I talked, that surrendering this particular situation to God completely is a form of pain relief. It is the medication that will help me long term. Will it reduce the actual physical pain? Perhaps not. But I understand now that it would give me peace in my soul, should I still have to endure it. What I finally identified is that I do not surrender this fully to God because I want complete relief from the pain. And I am afraid that God will tell me no. There it is. Stripped down to the basic truth, I'm afraid God will not give me what I want, when I want it.

In a way, I'm throwing a very calm temper tantrum in the midst of my pain.

Have you ever done that?

We want the answer or the remedy to come as soon as we ask for it. We want relief and we want it now. Sometimes we can become so focused on feeling better physically that we completely miss out on the better solution - a peace in the midst of the pain. As bad as my pain is on a day to day basis, I think it would be better to be healed emotionally than physically. I think that if I could let go of my fear that God will tell me no and ask me to endure this pain for the rest of my life, I would find true healing. I would be able to endure the pain far better with a different attitude than I am currently able to.

I have finally come to understand that I have a severe lack of faith in this area. I don't trust God with this particular pain.

Give him the pain of a marriage broken by pornography and adultery?

No problem.

But trust him with my neck and back pain?

Easier said than done.

I hold so tightly to it. I know that God doesn't always take away the things in our lives that hurt us. So, I have grown to accept that this pain is just part of my life. But really, that has been the cop out. You see, if I just deal with it on my own, then I don't have any motivation to rely on God.

Where is my faith?

Where is my trust?

Where is my hope?

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 25:4-5

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