Monday, July 25, 2016
Why then does my suffering continue? Why is my wound so incurable? Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook, like a spring that has gone dry.” Jeremiah 15:18(NLT)
A number of years ago I had pain in my right foot – constant pain. It was the kind of pain that made you wonder if you are descended from Job. The pain was every minute of every day; it was my companion for every step I took in a day. For good measure it throbbed all night. Extra Strength Tylenol by the truckload didn’t help; Cortisone injections didn’t touch it a bit.
Finally the doctor said the “s” word – surgery! I’m not a surgery freak, but by that time I would have allowed him to cut off both arms and do a frontal lobotomy if he said it would help.
The surgery itself was uneventful. My surgeon snipped a nerve or two, shortened a bone here, refashioned a socket there, and I went home to wait for the moment I could walk without pain.
Somehow it never turns out the way the textbook pictures it.
Three weeks after surgery I took my first step without the cast; the pin holding my toe together decided to relocate to a different neighborhood. The next week I was back on the operating table. This time he used titanium and super-glue! I behaved myself and the toe has held together quite well since then.
However, during the recuperation I had to stay off my feet for several weeks, and in that sedentary lounging I managed to allow my blood to clot in all the wrong places.
When the clots broke apart (like sparks flying upward, said Job!!!) they headed directly for my lungs. Now, I’ve never been kicked in the chest by a mule, but if you have, I’d like to compare notes. The pain was incredible, so Elizabeth came home from work to take the whimpering preacher to the doctor…again!
The doctor examined me and told me my pain should be in the foot…after all, that’s where the surgical incision was – not in my chest! It was fortunate for me there was a nurse. She said she thought I’d thrown a clot. Well…a quick trip to the hospital for x-rays confirmed the nurse’s diagnosis, and they admitted me on the spot.
The emergency had passed…and (supposedly) if the clot didn’t kill me on the spot, it was simply a matter of staying calm, spending a week in the hospital with an IV of rat poison dripping into your arm so it can break-up the clot. Well, frankly, I don’t stay calm when I contemplate receiving a bill from a medical facility for a week’s vacation. However, I managed to stay semi-calm, and agreed to stick around.
Unfortunately Thomasville Medical Center had had its share of emergencies that day and the only bed available in the whole hospital was in Romona-Land! You probably don’t know Romona, but I do. Romona Carver was the nurse-in-charge of Intensive Care at TMC. Romona was also the organist at the church I served as pastor. Before the cold sheets of the hospital bed could rob all the warmth from my body, Romona marched through the doorway like a general in charge, and grabbed the IV needle from the nurse who was preparing to invade my blood supply. Here, she said, I’ll do that.
Now, it was really good to see a familiar face at that moment; it was especially good to see Romona. As our organist I could look over at her during a worship service and she’d know exactly what song my look called-for. I began to tell her that the IV really ought to go in my left arm because I was going to send Elizabeth to get my computer, and the right arm…. Before I could get another word out, my organist, dear, sweet quiet-spirited Romona the organist shoved a thermometer into my open mouth and growled… Preacher, you’re in MY house now, just keep your mouth closed. Nurse Ratchet!
Trouble got my attention! It got Job’s attention. I believe that is one of the benefits of trouble and suffering…it gets your attention. There is value in suffering.
If suffering is your lot today, a good question may be what, not why.
You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road today…have a blessed day!