Understanding my pain

considering_by_aeraviI have been struggling with physical pain over the past couple of days; probably the worst I have ever experienced in my life.  On Monday, it constrained me to my bed for most of the day.  I couldn’t take care of myself at all; even rising up to go to the bathroom or sitting up to eat was almost unbearably painful.  My wife really came through for me, and I am forever grateful for her.

But I mention all of that not for your pity.  You can give it to others who continually suffer much more than I ever have.  I mention that because through my pain I have learned important lessons.

I have been blessed during most of my life with great health.  Most issues I have are related to food allergies, and if I avoid those things, then I have no problems.  I have come to expect myself to be strong, to be a provider for our family, to do anything I set out to do because it seems I usually have the strength, brains, and will-power to achieve my goals.

But not over these last couple of days. 

I have learned what it means to rely upon another (that was a difficult lesson – I didn’t realize just how independent I am).  And more importantly, I have learned that my strength and any other good thing I have is a gift from God; and NOT something I can rightfully claim as my own.

This is difficult for my ego and my pride to admit.  Any good thing I say, any strength I offer, any health I claim to “possess” is only because of the grace and mercy of our Lord.

Ironically, I began reading the book of Job this week.  I’m not Job, nor do I have a fraction of his character and charisma.  Job spoke some wonderful wisdom though, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away…blessed be the name of the Lord.”  He recognized that he truly does not posses anything.  Every good thing is of God and is from God.

So that is the lesson that I am learning.  I suppose if I were to be honest I would have to admit that I have subconsciously thought, “Even without God, I could probably do ok.  I could be clever enough to work through this situation, or strong enough to finish that task.”

I am not strong, but He awakens me every morning and gives me the strength to conquer the day.  I am not wise, but He grants me wisdom in my work and on occasion, gives me something to write that seems to encourage a few people.  I am not loving, but he is purifying my heart to look upon others with compassion and not with the thought of, “how can I benefit from this friendship/relationship?”

My pride and my ego do not like this lesson.  I ask for your prayers.

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Jeremiah

Growing up in non-denominational churches, I became weary of many practices in the church. I decided it was time to find a church that enabled me to grow in my faith and talents, but that was also theologically deep. I was drawn to the Eastern Orthodox Church for several reasons. Check out my blog which details my journey into this ancient faith.

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