Monday, 13 August 2012
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
I haven't been on here in a couple of days because I've been in the hospital, and their wireless has Xanga blocked, so my iPhone was my only way of getting on here. Not so fun if you're trying to write a post.
Anyway, I got home last night at about 1am after a really horrendous discharge ordeal. The hospital changed its entire computer system this week, and no one seems to know how to use it. Because of a series of people and technical issues, it was nearly five hours from when the doctor told me I could go home to when I actually got to leave. Not the most delightful day.
I went into the ER on Tuesday morning with intense abdominal pain and fever. I have a lot of pain on a regular basis because of Crohn's Disease, but this was a lot more intense than usual. Turns out I have a serious infection I've had twice before, but the great news is that I can take antibiotics at home and (with God's help and grace) get better quickly.
Here's what this post is really about. When the GI (digestive) doctor came to see me, it wasn't my normal doctor because he wasn't on call. The one who did come is one I haven't seen in several years, so he was asking about the history of my disease. I explained that I haven't been in remission for seven years and that I'm allergic or unresponsive to almost every viable treatment. (The disease is usually treatable, though incurable.)
After this story, the doctor came close to my hospital bed to check my physical symptoms, and he leaned over to my face and whispered, "Why you?"
What an interesting question. A question with so many implications. It was a compliment, I guess, a statement of the fact that he thinks I'm too nice a person to be in this situation.
But am I? Like everyone else on earth, I sin, I have negative thoughts, I have (many) selfish moments. I don't deserve a perfect life. But that's not the point I want to make.
Last night wasn't the time for me to tell the doctor, who (I am fairly sure) is not a believer, my real story. I couldn't, in that moment, explain to him that I wouldn't trade my physical suffering for anything in the entire world. Absolutely, I desire healing and wholeness, but I want to be like Jesus far more than I want to be well.
I've blogged about different phases of my journey, but at this point, I can look back and see God's blessing through every step of my sickness. He has held my hand through unspeakable pain. He has given me the time to know Him in ways I never would have discovered if I'd been well enough to fill my life with the busyness I thought I needed. He's shown me the unimportance of outward things I used to think meant the world. He's given me a desire to experience Him more than anything else, and I long to share that with others, but not in the ambitious, acclaim-seeking way I used to. I'm content to be quiet, to be used by Him whenever He needs me. Perhaps more than anything, He's taught me to trust Him without any reservations.
The question is definitely, "Why me?"
Why did God choose me to receive the gift of suffering? Why did He ever love me enough to allow me to know Him in such an intimate way through my illness? Who was I to ever deserve to know what it's like to be wrapped in His arms and carried to peace when I am at the literal end of what I can bear? Who am I to know so much of His sufficiency? Not in a million years could I ever deserve the beautiful gift that my suffering has been.
I don't wish for you to be sick. I'm not going to start praying that everyone I care about contracts an incurable illness. What I do pray is that some day, you have a chance to know what it's like when suffering is no longer your enemy and instead becomes the most beautiful gift you've ever received.
When have you experienced suffering? Why did you suffer? Why do people suffer? What did you learn from suffering?