On a micro-level, pain has a way of making your mind race. On a macro-level, being physically broken in your health forces a much broader perspective on life. For reasons that are comfortably beyond my understanding, God has me right in the thick of it right now. Like right now. I’m in throbbing pain in my kidney region and my hunch is that it’s thanks to one of the three medications my cardiologist currently has me on. I’ve called. He doesn’t seem to think so. I’ll be calling again soon, because this particular side effect seems to show up about once a month and leave me utterly worthless for at least twenty-four hours.
For the past seven to eight months I’ve been to the hospital approximately once a month with a heart condition that causes it to get stuck out of rhythm. I’ve been on about seven or eight different medications in that same amount of time. I am currently taking three and have been told to take an additional one if it does go out of rhythm, like some sort of ‘break glass only in case of emergencies’ type of pill. Since I’ve been on this mix, I’ve taken that pill twice with it actually working both times. My point in telling you that, though, is that it would seem the regular daily prescriptions still aren’t a long-term solution that’s going to keep this from happening. I’m eight months deep into this. I’m not sure my heart is any better off than it was, but I’m completely sure something in my lower left back isn’t. The entirety of the situation feels like hell at times.
I’d feel sorry for myself, but I can provide you with seemingly endless stories of people I personally know who have had it much worse. It is simply the daily reality for someone who is battling with their health. Your mind races hopelessly searching for a solution. I try to pray and can’t focus. Matter of fact, I try to do anything and can’t hardly focus. This battle has already cost me close relationships, so I deal with insecurities telling me to avoid burdening anyone by even speaking a word of it to them. Most can’t relate anyway, so loneliness never actually leaves. I find scriptures that I swear are talking about me and my only prayer is a beg for relief.
8 I am exhausted and completely crushed.
My groans come from an anguished heart.
9 You know what I long for, Lord;
you hear my every sigh.
10 My heart beats wildly, my strength fails
It might seem odd, since they aren’t overly joyous words, but I’m really thankful to find those. It gives me something to relate to.
On the macro-level your perspective on life is broadened by the fact that you are forced to apply your faith practically to your circumstances. We’re all familiar with the phenomenon of professing Christians who hear a weekly sermon and never consider what they should do with it. That will never cut it when you’re physically broken. When your life is on hold because doctors are trying to figure out how to keep it going, there is never a clearer picture of our need for God than looking one of them in the eyes and realizing that they are making educated guesses with a capacity for knowledge that doesn’t even deserve a mention of comparison against the omniscient Lord, Jehovah Rapha.
Please don’t get me wrong, I have a great doctor, but I have come to understand his limitations by understanding God’s nature and His lack of limitations. I know I can trust God, so I find myself begging Him to tell me how much I can trust any human with my life. Believe me, there are times along that path where faith is the only thing you have.
When you reach the relationship threshold of asking God to heal you personally, some pretty big questions about trust show up. The book of James tells us to pray without doubting. I was born with this broken heart and have undergone something like a dozen procedures since then, including two major surgeries. I haven’t felt good in almost a year and currently have a sharp pain grabbing the full attention of my brain every 1.5 seconds. And it’s in this moment that I’m supposed to pray to the ultimate Healer without an ounce of doubt?
My faith is nonexistent unless it shows up now. And it has, so I’m going to go pray and lay down now. Let me know what you think in the comments, particularly if you’ve had a health struggle of your own that has had a dramatic impact on your faith.