If we are not careful, pain can become an idol. Most everyone has something lingering, like a dull breeze or zap of lightning, which keeps us distracted.
Pain can manifest itself in hurting relationships, in missing someone who left by choice or greeted by death; in depression, the uneasiness of anxiety or the darkness of bitterness. And let’s not forget health. Medications often soothe, but the knowledge of the lack of model health can permeate our being.
For nine years I have been challenged with trigeminal neuralgia. Several years ago, I was scheduled to have surgery in an area near my brainstem to release pressure between a nerve and a blood vessel. I had been on medications to help with the tremors and pain. However, it got to a point where the pain became my life. I followed orders and prepared for the high risks associated with the surgery.
A week before my surgery date, I went home and did something I had not done in years prior.
“God, I know I will be healed either here or in heaven. Take me. Take all of me. I release what and who I am holding onto because I realize everything belongs to You. Family. Husband. Children. I give up trying to win a fight You have already won. Your will be done.”
I fell on my knees and cried until my soul poured out and filled with peace. A few days before surgery, I noticed something interesting. I was feeling a little stronger. Yes, something other than pain caught my attention.
I made a call to the doctor’s office and told them I wanted one more scan. Just one. The nurse thought I was foolish, but she got the doctor to agree. When I went in to have the doctor discuss the results, this is what I heard: “I in good faith can’t operate on you. For some reason, the pressure has released enough that I think we can approach this with different medications.”
“Stop right there.”
“Stop right there. You already said the answer: FAITH.”
I would like to tell you that I am free from chronic pain; however, that is not my story. My story is God leading me on a daily, eternal path of surrender. What I have noticed in studying the Word is that Jesus came to heal souls, souls which when aligned with Christ affect the ENTIRE person… even if temporary thorns remain.
“Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed from that moment” (Matthew 9:22).
For some, healing is not immediate; rather, it is an “as they went” experience. In the story of Jesus healing the lepers, ten men with leprosy called out to Jesus, “‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’” Jesus saw their faith but chose not to heal them immediately. Scripture says, “And as they went, they were cleansed” (Luke 17:13-14). Friends, sometimes we must stick it out in faith for the long haul; we have to be “as they went” people!
And sometimes we can be faithful followers who ask for healing, but Jesus gives us something different: a ministry of surrender. Paul had a thorn that was not removed. “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).
But the greatest example of surrender is from Christ. “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will’” (Matthew 26:39). Yes, Christ surrendered all.
Though our pain may present itself differently, we are connected in suffering. In this truth, we are also connected in needing a savior. We are not alone. In our free will, we can connect to a greater whole – an eternal whole of Believers. Through surrender, we may still have pain; however, we have the choice to be in misery. We have the choice of whether to make pain an idol.
Whether God chooses to heal us immediately, “as they went,” or in heaven, we are truly healed each day by the Spirit. Our focus shifts, and we see how we are connected as dear brothers and sisters in Christ and with Christ. This is cause for joy! This is reason for praise! Yes, even amidst pain we can choose whether to be defined by what is temporary or eternal. We have the choice to live a life surrendered.
For His will… I surrender all.
SGLY, dear reader.
(Smile, God Loves You.)
Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier, Instagram: @tiffanysgly, and Twitter: @tiffanychartier.