Time

So, the accident was on Friday.  As the evening progressed, my right eye slowly started to swell, and my body started to get sore.  Saturday came and my face was even more swollen, and my body was even more sore.  Sunday came and I was at my worst.

Randall suggested that I call my doctor’s exchange to see what they recommend. The woman who answered my call typed in my symptoms and then read me what the computer prompted her to tell me.  I told her that I was in a bike accident two days before and probably had a concussion and some major swelling.  She asked if I would consider my swelling severe.  I asked what she would consider severe.  The right side of my face was twice the size of the left side of my face.  She said that was probably severe.

According to her computer, she advised me to go to the ER right away but not to drive myself and to make sure I didn’t eat anything because they may need to do immediate surgery.  I told her I thought that was pretty extreme and I may possibly go to our convenient care clinic but if it were not for my husbands recommendation I’d probably just stay home and hope for the best.  She said I didn’t have to do what she recommended but that the ER was her recommendation.

That was Sunday.  Just two days after the accident.  But I was at my worst.  I couldn’t imagine myself looking better.  I got a request Saturday night to sing at church two weeks later.  I declined.  On Monday, I canceled my babysitting job for Wednesday.  I figured I’d look better by then, but knew my shoulder still wouldn’t work.  And I honestly feared my oozing face would scare young kids.

I was so near sighted, I didn’t think I would heal anytime soon.  But the very next day, I dramatically improved.  By Wednesday, just five days after the accident, unless you looked closely, you could hardly tell any difference in my face.

But in the worst of it, I was so stuck in the moment that I couldn’t see a better time in the future.

Isn’t that how we always are in the midst of pain.  Short-sighted, not able to see a way out?

This accident was merely a scratch.  Seriously no big deal to me.  But it got me thinking. In the midst of pain, there is a lesson to be learned.  When you can see no way out, you have no strength left in you to breathe on your own.  That’s when you turn to God. Because you have to.

I think God allows pain so we will turn to him.

1 Peter 5:9-11 says this in the Message version:

You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

Does God give us pain?  No.  Pain was not in God’s original plan and someday He’ll make all things right again and we’ll live in a place with no more pain.
But because we have made choices that go against God’s best plan for our lives, and because other people make choices that have consequences that affect others, there is pain in this world.  And it is unavoidable.
I think the problem we have with pain is our short-sightedness.  In the midst of it, when we can see no way out, we want God to fix it in our time; usually NOW.  But we don’t know God’s timing.
In my pain, I was canceling life two weeks in advance, and my worst pain only lasted three days. But many of us have experienced pain that lasted far longer.  Many people are in the midst of a constant pang of longing, or physical pain that is beyond the doctors’ scope of healing.
When we can’t see God’s timing, and we can see no way out, what do we do with that?
Acts 1:7-8 says “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”
Romans 8:25-26 says, “But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently. And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.”
God has already given us the tools we need to deal with pain.  Yes there are drugs.  Take the drugs.  But first turn to the help inside of you.
Habakkuk 2:3 says,
“This vision is for a future time.
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed.”
Time is in God’s hands.  Time is his, he created it.  God lives outside of time and our lives are smaller than a blip on the timeline.  It gets very confusing, but my dad explained the concept like this:
Imagine a carpenter who made a ruler.  He is not on the ruler, he made the piece of wood that he can hold in his hands.  So he can see the beginning and the end of the ruler.  We are on the ruler.  We can’t see the beginning or the end because we are a small being on a huge ruler.  God is represented by the carpenter.  God created time.  It didn’t exist before he made it.  And he created us in time.   He can see the beginning and the end because he is outside of time, but we are not. Does that make sense?
Because the thing is, God holds time in his hands and his timing is perfect.  We can only see what is around us and we want everything NOW.  God can see the grand scope of life and there is absolutely an end to all pain.
For me it comes down to this.  God loves you.  And he can be trusted.  He can be trusted with our time and he can be trusted with our pain.
God, I pray for anyone reading this right now that is in the midst of pain.  May they seek your help.  May they find comfort from the pain.  Give them tangible comfort from physical and emotional pain.  May they find comfort in the fact that you have also experienced every type of pain we may face in this life.  The comfort is that you understand, when maybe no one else does. You understand the pain of loss.  You understand excruciating physical pain.  And may our hope come from the fact that one day pain will be no more.  May we learn to trust in your timing.  May we learn to really, truly, trust you.