Tears ran down my cheeks as I started the slow slide into the MRI machine. I’ve never thought of myself as claustrophobic but the image of the pain that was sure to tear through my shoulder and down my arm like a freight train with no way to sit up or change position had set me on edge.
Or maybe I was already dangling precariously from said edge. The frozen shoulder that is attempting to preside over my world has worn out its welcome. Relentless, mind numbing pain doesn’t make for a kind bedmate and the fatigue has begun to wear me down. Our home is my refuge and even though this condition lurks around every corner there, I have freedom to cry , rest or change position as needed. However, responsibilities abound and work has become increasingly taxing as the days have turned into months.
My friends tell me I’m stubborn but it’s survival really as I grit my teeth and carry on. My resolve is weakening and every day I contemplate if this is the day I make the decision that I just can’t work through it anymore. That morning it felt like a true blessing when they text me, telling me they loved and supported me and thought I should go home and rest after my MRI. The pride that would usually cause me to tell them “Thank you, but I’ll be to work as soon as I’m done”, was replaced with tears of gratitude as I had just been wondering if I could make it through the day.
Just the first of the Lord’s kindness to me on this fall morning, there was more to follow. I had asked God to allow the MRI tech to be kind and compassionate. The smiling young man who came to get me seemed as if he would fit that bill. He worked efficiently while simultaneously addressing my concerns. His cheerful attitude encouraged me and I assured him I would do my best not to squeeze the emergency ball that would send them running to fetch me from the tube. I second guessed him a little when he asked me to remove my glasses. Blind AND anxious didn’t seem like a good mix to me but I complied and before I knew it I was in the machine.
Fear turned out to be nothing more than a lie from the enemy as peace fell on me like a blanket as I began the test. The half hour that I thought would feel like an eternity passed quickly as I talked to Jesus about His promises to me. It made me smile to think that Jesus promises to never leave me or forsake me and that the restricted space was no barrier to the God of the universe. Pain seemed distant as I lay there and I even managed to lay perfectly still. My MRI helper and I were both surprised when I emerged and he joked that I did better than we both thought I would.
“Her father said, ‘Corrie, when you go by train from Haarlem to Amsterdam, when do I give you the train ticket? Several days before?
“No, Daddy, the day I go to travel.”
“And so it is with God. Now you do not need the grace to suffer, but if the moment comes when you need it, He will give you the grace. He will give you the train ticket right on time..”
-Corrie ten Boom ~ Her Life Her Faith A biography by Carole C. Carlson
Oh dear reader. So it is with God.
He gave me the peace and the grace at the very time that I needed it.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.
Yet you are Holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our Fathers trusted; they trusted and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued ; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
Every moment recently is struggle. In the dark when agony leaves me feeling scorched and the enemy whispers, “Why do you think God loves you? What did you do to make Him so angry with you? Sinner. He can’t use you. You are broken. Did God really say……?”, I call out to my God in praise.
There was a time I would have been crippled by such accusations, but those times are growing smaller and smaller in my rear view mirror.
I am learning with ever increasing confidence Who. My. God. Is.
His anchor is settling down somewhere deep in my soul. The storm may be able to toss me about but it certainly cannot move Elohim. In His strength I hope.
Nothing can remove His love from me or my love for Him.
His love for me is everlasting, steadfast and unfailing. It has nothing to do with how I perform in this life nor is it reflected by my trials or lack thereof. My God is my comfort. My God is my refuge. My God is an EVER present help in time of trouble.
This I know.
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever!” Psalm 30:11-12
Stand firm dear one. Your God cannot be moved.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I want to acknowledge the fact that while this condition has been terribly painful, it doesn’t last forever. It is temporary and will eventually pass. So many are dealing with grief, depression or chronic pain that seems to have no end in sight. May we not ignore them or pass them by. May we not get tired of being a listening ear or a helping hand. I pray that we would be encouragers who bear each others burdens and that we would take the extra time to really know people and meet them in their place of need. These conditions can be difficult to detect but if we’ll take the time, we’ll be able to see. If we’ll have the heart, we’ll be able to offer compassion, love and hope.
Is there someone in your life who needs your encouragement today?