Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pain Teaches Us to Expect the Unexpected

“The Lord of hosts has sworn saying, “Surely just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand” (Isaiah 14:24).

A fellow writer sent me a picture she took on a vacation of some camels walking up from the ocean shore.  I was quite surprised to see camels by a sea of water rather than sand! The picture made me smile.  Life is full of the unexpected, and those of us with pain and illness know this truth quite well.

One day I may feel fine doing an activity and the next day it may cause pain and setbacks.  Other times I’m surprised at what doesn’t cause issues. 

The day before we left on a recent trip I was punching out shapes of paper for cards. I was sitting on the floor and my position triggered  bad back pain.  Who would have thought something so simple could cause such problems, but praise God I was still able to take the trip.

Then on the way home I fell.  My last fall caused some serious flare-ups with my back requiring physical therapy so I was very concerned about this fall, but praise God I had no bad aftereffects.  Why was it that punching paper caused such repercussions and a serious fall did not?  I never know what to expect. 

Life in general is full of the unexpected.  But if we allow it, living with chronic pain and illness can teach us to be more flexible and see the good amidst the bad.  When we are faced with unexpected negatives in life, we have the assurance of knowing that God is not taken by surprise.  He has a sovereign plan for each of us.  The negatives are accomplishing His divine purposes in our lives, and we can cling to that truth during our hardest disappointments.  Perhaps through one of those hard times, God will unexpectedly move us from the desert to the ocean, and if not, He will provide an oasis when we need it.

Prayer:  O Lord, as I face the unexpected things that pain and problems bring, how thankful I am that nothing is unexpected to You.  Teach me to adapt to the surprises, trusting in Your plan for my days. Amen.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

God’s Plan and Purpose Are Present in Every Season of Life

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV).

My husband and I just returned from a huge antique car show in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  We were there 30 years ago, when I had carried my oldest daughter around in a “Snuggly”.  My how things change!

Seeing those antique cars, part of me longed for the world to be as it was then -  less chaotic and simpler than today.  But even then the world was dealing with major wars and economic issues.  It is easy to look back on past times and forget that they had their problems too.

The same is true in my personal life.  I look back over those 30 years with some longing, but they were not easy either.  My health problems were beginning, and we had financial and child rearing challenges.

God has a purpose and plan through every season of life. Without experiencing winter, I would not appreciate spring and summer.  Without experiencing the exhaustion, frustration, and joys of motherhood, I would not have the blessing of my daughters.  Without pain, I would not appreciate God-given good days and brief moments of heaven here on earth.  Without death, there is no eternal life.

Looking at those beautiful old cars, I remembered years gone by with thankfulness for God’s sovereignty and blessings of the past.  I look at the present and thank Him for all He is accomplishing now even through my pain, conforming me to His image.  I look to the future for all He has yet to do in His divine plan, for me and for the entire world. Praise God for His purposes and seasons, for His presence and provision are with me through them all.

Prayer:  O Lord, sometimes I don’t understand Your purposes in my life and some seasons are harder than others.  Give me eyes of faith to see glimpses of You in every season, knowing that Your purposes and plans are moving all of creation toward our glorious eternal life with you.  Amen.