Have you ever been driving or sitting at a stop light and happen to look over at the car next to you only to find a person ranting and raving to absolutely no one else in the car? You hope they are talking on their cell phones – although you don’t wish that conversation on anyone. If they are not on the phone- well you distance yourself from the car and lift up a quick prayer wishing them peace.
Two weeks ago, I was that someone. It was not my finest moment and I have had a few of those less than the best moments. This one was brought on by the announcement from my physical therapist that what I thought was sciatica (which I have had before) was actually a new issue. While he acknowledged that I indeed had back issues, I also have moderate degeneration of the left hip and will be looking at a hip replacement sometime in my future. The session ended with him giving me the names of three surgeons.
In the car I was ranting and raving at God: “Really, God?” “Are you kidding me?” “No! I renounce this diagnosis. I will it to be just another back attack which will resolve and I will carry on with my life!” After all, I am a breast cancer survivor, had open heart surgery for coronary artery disease, ablation surgery and hysterectomy for hemorrhaging fibroids, suffered with chronic cellulites of the breast, degenerative disk disease of the back, and neck spurs which cause numbness in my right hand and carpal tunnel syndrome in the right wrist. “Do I look like someone who needs another issue, God? No, I do not and cannot handle another new issue. No way. No how. I’ll keep the old stuff, God. You take back the new, thank you very much!
Was I becoming the new Job?
What had I done to deserve the continual onslaught of medical issues? Then I remembered that God does not cause the bad in our lives, but He will use it for good. Ok, God how are you going to use this?
It took me a few days to regain my perspective.
I began to think just how much I had grown in each and every adversity. With each issue I gained more than I lost and was able to turn those problems into strengths. I am able to comfort those in similar trouble with the comfort I have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3. God has turned each of my problems into something good.
Oh, I could go on about the injustice, the unfairness – until I read about a young woman in her 30’s who has had 21 surgeries and more in her future. Forgive me, Lord for not trusting you with my problems and knowing you will turn them into good.
Job, who was blameless, and had a whole lot more severe and destructive problems than I, held on to his faith. I could do no less.
Have you ever been there? Are you there right now? If you are – I feel your pain. But I know we can get through this. We can and we will. Together with God, who will take all this, and transform us into something extraordinary – something that God has planned for us to be.
Whether it is my aging deformed spine or a worn out hip, my circumstances do not have to dictate the quality of the life God has planned for me. He has done so much with so little. I am proof of that.
I want my inner spirit to remain at peace and feel joy, even as my outer self is experiencing difficult circumstances. It’s hard to do when there is pain of any kind. And it’s alright to be sad or even angry as the circumstances take shape. But I don’t want to take up permanent residence yelling and screaming in a car, or allowing my circumstances to blind me from seeing that there is hope and beauty in my life as well.
Ricky Warren states “Life is like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.” Right now the trouble is in my hip, but the good is in my loving and patient husband, my healthy, vibrant and spirit filled daughter, a son-in-love who adores her, and in my grandson who makes me laugh regardless of my circumstance.
2015 may not have started out as a good year for me, but I know that throughout the “bread of adversity and the water of affliction” there is the voice of God saying “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:20-21.
For He has turned my Valley of Trouble into the Gateway of Hope (Hosea 2:15)