If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit: LIFE can hurt. It can deeply disappoint us as well as profoundly frustrate us. And when it does, we have a choice: Will we go the way of bitter resentment? Or will we choose a path of hope?
Feeling frustrated or disappointed is not wrong in and of itself. In fact, Ecclesiastes observed that this is the common experience of humankind: we often “live under a cloud—frustrated, discouraged, and angry” (Ecclesiastes 5:17)
That got me thinking about another Bible passage : “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior” (Ephesians 4:31).
I read somewhere that--"Like a pungent flavor permeating food, just a tiny bit of bitterness can permeate our beings, influencing our outlook, our relationships, and our spiritual vitality, resentment and pessimism can sneak up on us, infiltrating our lives in ways we may not even recognize."
Why? Let’s be honest: Because LIFE CAN HURT! It can deeply disappoint us. It can profoundly frustrate us. And when it does, we have a choice: Will we go the way of bitter resentment? Or will we choose a path of hope?
Back in the 1990s, I was diagnosed with MS-Multiple Sclerosis. That season of my life was a hard lesson on how life can hurt. MS can make a person feel like a broken Humpty Dumpty. It makes you feel like nothing is connecting in your body and control of your movements is a thing of the past.
I had a choice to make. I could allow bitter resentment to consume me, give in and just waste away, or I could grab on to hope and hold on until God sent the cure. I made the second choice.
For three years, I was in and out of the hospital with bouts of MS( exacerbations) that caused me to feel as if I was living in the body of someone else, and my limbs were being controlled like a puppet on strings. Was I hurting? Was I ever bitter? Yes and Yes. I finally said, God I accept Your will Your Way, and if it is Your will, please stop the pain. God healed me that morning in my hospital room, after three years of feeling out of control of my body.
It's true-LIFE CAN HURT-and we can decide to fight and wait on God's timing for our healing or we can take flight, sit, be bitter and parish prematurely. I learned many things from one of the most prolific preachers I have ever heard. He was Dr. Frederick G. Sampson. A man of God who was productive, creative, inventive in his preaching.
Dr. Sampson was a man whose sermons and choice of stories, made you WANT to love God. But these two quotes from him have gotten me through some of the most difficult seasons of my life. He said: "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer."
He spoke an encouraging word to me, during the time I was in the midst of an MS exacerbation (relapse), having dinner at a dear friend's home...
"After you pray, you must have HOPE BEFORE THE HEALING, CONFIDENCE BEFORE THE CURE, AND SOUL MANAGEMENT WHILE YOU WAIT ON THE MIRACLE. "
Yes, life can hurt. So, when life hurts us, we can look and see our Lord carrying us through the people he brings us like: Dr. Simpson, a reliable church family, and dedicated friends. Armed with those key forces and the most important one, a strong belief that God will never let you down, you will survive the hurts of life.
My husband has Chronic kidney failure. He has endured dialysis three times a week for the past eight years, numerous stays in hospitals and survived after flat-lining three times during an Aorta valve replacement operation. He was in the hospital and rehabilitation for a total of 59 days on that particular occasion. He has been hospitalize at least 10 times over the past eight years. At the age of 82, he fights on and fight and pray with him.
Last year, I was diagnosed with Padgett's disease. A type of cancer of the breast. By God's mercy and grace, the cancer is nowhere else in my body, just on one nipple. MRI'S, blood tests, ultra sounds, and more mammograms, attests to that fact that cancer is limited to that nipple.
Believing that God healed the cancer gave me SOUL MANAGEMENT WHILE WAITING ON THE MIRACLE. However, after a year the nipple had not healed, though there was no sign of cancer anywhere else in my body. My Oncologist, primary care doctor, my cardiologist, my children, and the radiologist who read the results of my mammograms, ultrasounds, and scans, ALL recommended removal of the areola to avoid the spread of cancer.
I felt I wasn't trusting God, if I had the surgery. I was convinced to have the surgery, after a conversation with my pastor about my reservations. He simply said, "If you believe God is the healer, why can't you believe that He can use the surgeons hands to complete the healing?" (Needless to said. I have had the surgery.)
My husband recently had a GI bleed that landed him back in the hospital for another 21 days. During this same time, I had an upper respiratory and ears infections that has left me with a debilitating case of Vertigo. (Note: My surgery on the Padgett's nipple and areola was scheduled during the same time.)
Yes, life does hurt and sometimes it takes those hurts to help us trust God completely. Trusting God is more of resting in Him through the times you don't see signs of healing, than when you can see evidence of healing. I think Hebrews 11:I in the Passion Translation makes this point clear:
"Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen."
So, does life hurt? Absolutely!!
The point I'm trying to made to those of you out there in your LIFE HURTING season is simply this: As believers or unbelievers, we should have the confidence that our suffering is under the control of our all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving God. He knows just how much we can bear and He allows ONLY those things that are for HIS GLORY and for our GOOD.
Much too often we HURT those that LOVE us and LOVE those that HURT us. Jesus can attest to that one. Ours is to do what Jesus did: practice HOPE BEFORE THE HEALING, CONFIDENCE BEFORE THE CURE, AND SOUL MANAGEMENT WHILE YOU WAIT ON THE MIRACLE. BECAUSE GOD IS BIGGER THAN ANY ADVERSITY WE CAN EVER ENCOUNTER. ( Including those exasperating, non-compassionate bosses that treat you badly... I hear you, Dr. Sampson! RIP.)