Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Painful Peace

Pleurisy - inflammation of the pleurae (each of a pair of serous membranes lining the thorax and enveloping the lungs in humans and other mammals), which impairs their lubricating function and causes pain when breathing.

When a teenager, I had a friend who was out of school for a week.  When he came back, he told us he had had pleurisy.  It sounded rather terrifying.  The definition sounds terrifying as well until you come to fully understand what it is saying.  I worried about my friend, but I did not have to worry about myself.  Yes, I knew God had a plan in allowing this, but I looked it up and discovered it isn't life threatening, just painful. 
People have always linked pneumonia to pleurisy, which is part of the reason it sounds so scary.  However, I obtained it from a simple cold that went into a sinus infection.  Other than the pleurisy, my lungs remained clear. The pain from it is pretty excruciating, so, having had double pneumonia, I can imagine how extremely horrible it would be to have both.  You would most likely have to be in the hospital.  It is difficult enough to breathe from the pneumonia, but with the pain from the pleurisy you might be tempted to give up.  The coughing would be terrible.  I remember wondering if I had cracked a rib from it.  Add in the extra chest pressure and back pain from the pleurisy and I think I would be very tempted to cry out to God to take me home.  Shoot, I've done that just from having to live in a dying and decaying world!  (Yes, I have been known to be on the spoiled side.)
One Sunday after contracting this strange illness, I was feeling much better and decided to go to church.  I went ahead and sang in the choir, though it made me dizzy.  Then I went on to teach kindergartners in Sunday School.  They are so much fun.  I get hugs and hand drawn pictures, told they love me and so much more from them!!  I love them all!!  However, they are very busy little people.  At the end of the hour, I reach over my head to put away the colored pencils and almost fell to the floor in pain.  I had taken a breath as I reached up.  Evidently that is a huge mistake!!  Anyway,
I stood there frozen for a minute until I could move again.  The kids were so busy, they didn't notice.  I am so glad my husband was in the room to keep them entertained.  I then turned to them and said that I needed to sit down and asked them to come over so I could read to them.  Quite the obedient children, they did so and everything went fine, even through the pain.
That evening I was still in pain, so I decided not to go to choir practice.  I then went in to prayer.  
Have you ever had  one of those moments in prayer when you enter a state of awe?  God is so wonderfully awesome and those times are quite memorable.  You fall on your face, so to speak, before Him and experience such magnificence!  You want to stay there in that place forever, but knowing that you cannot makes you want to tell Him how much you love Him, but words tend to fail.  This time though, I had something I wanted to say.  It was so lovely to really and truly WANT to say it that I still revel in the thought and what happened next.
As I sat there before God, back hurting and no way to get into a comfortable position, I felt joy first and then overwhelming love flooded me.  I told God with much enthusiasm that if my being in pain brought glory to His name in some way, ANY way, then I would gladly be in pain.  Many people would probably have thought me crazy at this point if they could hear what I was thinking in prayer, but they soon would have been in as much awe as I was at that time.  No more than a blink of an eye passed when so did the pain!!  It was gone!!  I went to the doctor the next day.  The pleurisy was still there and I was given medicine because of it, but the pain never came back.  
God loves us so extremely.  He gave His very life to pay the price of death for our sin. "The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord."  Romans 6:23
Since He did so much for me, I should be more than willing to do whatever is necessary to bring glory and honor to His name.
Father, I know there are many times when I display selfishness rather than willingness.  I don't want to be a brat, but it seems my flesh will continue rearing its ugly head until the day it is made perfect in Christ.  I wait expectantly for that day and thank You that it is coming.  I thank You that I have a future with You in eternity. Help me remember this as long as I am waiting in this body.  Help me remember how fleeting and temporary this life truly is so that I don't dwell on its disappointments and agonies, but focus on what is to come - eternity - never ending life of joy, excitement, and love with You!!