Monday, November 24, 2014
“Let God's promises shine on your problems.” – Corrie Ten Boom
I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems I can handle a whole lot more of pain and sorrow if I know it is temporary. My grandmother always used to say, “No storm lasts forever.” She was right, of course. When I discovered the cancer on my jaw, I just ignored it and assumed it would just go away. It got worse and more and more painful until I had trouble sleeping because of the pain. At the time, I didn’t know if it would continue to get worse, more painful, or become a very serious problem. I didn’t share any of my concerns with Karen or John and kept them to myself. Finally, I was at the Coptic Hospital to refill my diabetes medication, and the doctor saw it and insisted on doing a biopsy. At that point, the decisions were taken out of my hands. I knew the operation was going to be expensive and very painful, so I downplayed the doctor’s concerns. Shaban, who heard everything, took it upon himself to have a doctor come to my house on Saturday to look at it. Dr. Chris insisted on immediate surgery and said not to worry about the cost. Less than twelve hours later, he removed it. I lost a lot of blood (had to throw away the shirt I had worn) and with no anesthesia, it was very, very painful and still is. The difference is that I know the bad stuff is gone and the pain will slowly get less and less until it disappears completely. It is much easier to cope with pain that you know has a finite time span and is a reminder that life is still precious. This is a great analogy about all of our own lives. No one has a life free from pain, worries, heartbreak, and struggles that seem to be unbearable at times. That is what life is and our job is to keep remembering that it is all temporary. Our lives here, even with us living into our eighties and nineties is still fleeting in the end. There are trees here that have lived longer than I have. We are here but briefly and while Christ told us as much, it seems we think we can just go on living forever. I don’t want to live forever because I know what is waiting for me. Once we get a handle on the fact that death is just a doorway to a new and eternal existence, everything that bothers us here pales a little and some problems just go away all together. We are all resident aliens on this earth for our real home is eternal in the heavens. There are times (usually when I have malaria) that I want to be in that eternal home, but it seems God still needs me to serve Him here. Something about the harvest being plentiful but the laborers few. I don’t mind and can deal with whatever gets thrown my way as long as I hold fast to the promises of God. I am not standing on my own two feet, I am standing on the promises. It’s where I want to be and it frees me to accept all sorts of pain and obstacles because God is faithful, true, and worthy of all our praise. I can see the end of my suffering and the suffering of others if I am standing on His promises. I am in His hands and there is no better place to be. It’s not about geography, it’s about the location of your heart. Amen.