It’s hard to not want to rush through pain and suffering, isn’t it? Whether that be physical pain or emotional pain, we all want it to go away as quickly as possible. The saying, “Time heals all wounds,” doesn’t really comfort us much when we are in the midst of immense pain. We just want the time to pass.
I have definitely been wrestling with that this week…this past month even. I’ve been struggling with physical illnesses and emotional distress for a few weeks now, and as I thought my struggles might be ending, I came home from Phoenix with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease…which is the absolute WORST!! If anyone has ever experienced this before…omg I’m so sorry and I feel your pain.
I was diagnosed with strep throat about a month ago, but I didn’t allow my immune system to heal. I put myself under too much stress moving out of it, wanting to perform perfectly in all aspects of my life. Putting pressure on myself not to make a wrong move. To not be imperfect. That unhealthy stress led me to be susceptible to viruses like the one I have now while I was out of town, leaving me unable to do anything really this past week.
In situations like these, it is tempting to sulk. Tempting to complain and be impatient and want to rush through the pain, but God’s Word says something else.
Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. ~James 1:2-4
A great joy…how difficult it is to consider sweltering, burning bumps on your hands and feet a great joy…but I am challenged by this truth to do so. I am inspired by my friends who have endured illnesses much more serious than this who have chosen joy day in and day out in the midst of their pain. I am encouraged to see this continued trial as a blessing.
This trial doesn’t mean that God has forgotten about me or that He doesn’t love me…no, quite the opposite actually. In His love, His perfect love that will never ever fade, God remembers me in my trials and is changing me by his grace. I can have joy in the middle of that which is uncomfortable when I remember that He loves me and this trial is ordained for my good.
This trial will produce endurance in me. Endurance in me to hold fast to my faith when I become scared or uncertain. It’s funny how God knows the reminders that we need, because my June monthly calendar reads Hebrews 12:1-2, encouraging me to run the race set out for me with endurance. Endurance can only be developed through trying times. It’s in these times that we hold fast to what we know to be true, which for me, is God’s love and mighty power.
In the Bible, we read stories about lepers and paralyzed men, and how Jesus heals them instantly. His power knows no bounds. Why would I not believe that God could also heal me instantly, too? He could…but there is purpose in this pain. There is purpose in the time it takes to heal, and part of that purpose is to build endurance, patience, and grace. I fully believe that and am becoming thankful for that.
Finally, God places trials in our lives so we may become mature and complete, lacking in nothing. Wow. To think that this unfortunate circumstance will make me one step more complete and more mature so I can then, hopefully, share what God is teaching me with others – that makes me smile. That leads to joy. To know that everything God does in my life He does with purpose and for my good.
So I will lift up my hands, my nasty, blistery-filled hands, and praise God for what He is doing in my life. I will lift them up and thank Him. I will open them up and surrender my life to Him, repeatedly, every day, until I am home. I will be open to what He wants to use my hands to accomplish. I will live my life in great expectancy of what He will accomplish and in full belief that the challenges and pain and sorrow that comes my way, will be used for good.
It’s hard not to want to rush through it and feel better right away, but I am urging you like I am urging myself in these moments, don’t. Don’t rush through the pain. God is using it to mold you and mature you because of how deeply He loves you. The pain isn’t a sign that He has walked away. Instead, it is a sign that He is drawing near, and in His grace and mercy, is purposing this pain in your life for good.