It has been a long time since I have sat down with my computer to compose a blog post. It would be very hard to sum up the last few months concisely so I will give you the basics. Since my last post I have been working through recovering from a surgical wound on my tailbone. Because of the position it is in, the wound has torn open, healed, stretched, bled, and taken its sweet time closing up. Needless to say, I have had a pain in my butt for the last eleven months.
Throughout this healing journey I have experienced enough stress for multiple people and have asked many questions that are yet to be answered. Alas, as my body is beginning to finally finish the healing process, I can begin to look back and see the good that has come from all the pain. For one thing, my patience has been tested, tried, stretched, and strengthened. I’ve become very good at waiting. But because I am good at it does not mean in any way that I have enjoyed this waiting. All I have wanted for the last ten months has been to be healed. The Lord has chosen to heal me through a long process rather than a quick recovery. But I have learned some very valuable lessons through this journey.
For one, I have learned much about walking through a rough situation. My given situation has been the progression and regression of physical healing. It has worn on me emotionally as well as physically. How badly I have wanted to work out and hit a tennis ball but was unable to because it would counter the healing process. But now that I can work out again, now that I do not have to fear hurting a wound if I were to go hit a tennis ball around, I have found that the reward of being healed is impactful because I have walked through so much.
The reward of the destination, I believe, is only as valuable as the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
When you get what you want right away, that thing loses value quickly. But when you fight for something that thing gains immense value. You worked for it. Working through situations in life follows that same principle. The situations that are easy are also easily forgotten. But the ones that keep you up at night, make you work hard, make you trust in something beyond your own will, those are the ones that transform your life and build character. It is this in this principle that I learned a second lesson.
Each struggle that seems unending holds the opportunity for you to gain an unending resolve to push forward.
Faith is not about being unafraid and it isn’t about being optimistic in the face of trials. Faith is about holding on when it doesn’t seem right or possible anymore. It is trusting that your body can go another step once you have reached your max. But it isn’t trusting in your own strength to go the extra step. Faith is digging deeper into the reservoir of God’s strength to push forward. It is being honest. I cannot list the amount of times I have prayed the simple words “I cannot do this.” After a while the seemingly unending trial can become overwhelming. Here is what I’ve learned: one can only take so much overwhelmingness. That’s not a word. Now it is. I’m sure you can relate. That feeling that so much pressure, due to external and internal influencers, has built up and you feel like you’ve reached some immeasurable maximum capacity of sanity. Not a fun point to reach. Needless to say, I have reached that point several times within the last year as I have continuously dealt with this painful wound.
In the midst of overwhelmingness is a valuable time to learn how to truly let God in. I’ve learned that the first step is being vocally honest about the situation. I’ve had many times in prayer where I prefaced with: “This sucks.” But this is a beginning. Honesty is an action that requires identifying your pain. The second piece is harder. In the midst of difficult situations and we look toward God, He asks the question: “Who do you say that I am?” How will you answer this question when you have just told Him that life is not going your way? I think God asks us this question because how we perceive God will determine the way we walk through struggles. Do you see Him as a supplier of peace or a distant being pulling the puppet strings? Who do you say that He is? In Matthew 16 Jesus asked the disciples this same question because he knew they had heard many rumors about him, and they were beginning to doubt they knew the truth for sure.
Jesus asked them “who do the people say that the son of Man is?” “Well,” they replied, “Some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or on of the other prophets.” Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”
Peter and the rest of the disciples would go on to live hard lives. Every one of them suffered for the Gospel and were killed or excommunicated. But they praised the Lord in the pain because when it came to answering Jesus’s question, their answers were as above. Here is something I have learned: the Son of the Living God can heal suffering, making wounds into scars, and scars into symbols of victory over overwhelming situations. It starts with how we answer the question. How we answer will determine if we will let God in to help. If we don’t let him in, than our struggles will be overwhelming and maddening. But with him, those struggles will be overwhelming, maddening, and yet we will overcome. We can choose to press forward when all forces are against us because He will push through it with us. Yes we will gain scars, but Jesus has scars too. And His scars are beautiful.
In my weakness He is great. In my pain He is peace. In my longing for healing He is healer. In my discouragement He is moving mountains to bring victory. In my suffering He is glorified. Because of my suffering I have scars. My scars remind me of His scars that bring victory, power, and glory.