It is God’s will that His children be made into the image of Christ, which often entails suffering of various kinds (Philippians 1:29). It is what the Bible calls sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:7). God will employ whatever means necessary to mature us spiritually. And for that, I am grateful to Him.
On this, my forty-third birthday, I have been contemplating how gracious and merciful the Lord has been to me, especially lately.
Three weeks ago, I was in a hospital emergency room in extreme pain; the most severe pain I’d ever experienced—even worse than being in labor during childbirth. The pain was so excruciating, in fact, that I wasn’t sure I’d see forty-three years of age or, to be completely honest, that I wanted to.
I was in such pain that I pleaded to the Lord to take me home to heaven. Yes, it was that bad. But, as time passed that day, God graciously allowed the doctors to find the source of my suffering—ovarian torsion—which was eventually resolved after nearly four hours of surgery.
Little did I know at the time that as I was lying helpless on a gurney in that hospital emergency room, that I was actually being enrolled in God’s schoolhouse of affliction.
You see, when you find yourself stripped of every comfort and crutch—including the one person you would normally rely on—and you’re left feeling completely helpless, that’s when the Lord has your full attention.
At least that was the case for me.
It was those long hours of pleading to the Lord to allow the pain to stop, even if it meant my own death, I discovered the following things about Him—and myself.