When pain takes up residency
Pain is an amazing response of the body. It signals that something is not right. A muscle has been pulled, a bone broken, a ligament torn, skin burned, or sometimes, it signifies something much worse.
I have struggled with back pain off and on since I was in high school. Perhaps I grew too fast, or shouldn’t have marched first base drum in band. Who knows? Whatever is was that wasn’t “right” started causing pain.
I’m most thankful that it hasn’t been 25 solid years of back pain. I know there are those who have dealt with pain for decades, and I can’t fathom how they do it. Even more mind blowing are those who deal with chronic pain for decades, and still function as pleasant, kind people. After all, pain can change you.
In February of this year, I started to experience pain in my tailbone. I have no memory of falling or sustaining any kind of injury. When the pain began, it was relatively mild, and then built to one explosive morning where white hot pain ripped through my body and we had to call an ambulance.
So, for the last 9 months, I’ve gone through chiropractic, Ortho therapy, and a host of other treatments. There were periods where pain was substantially reduced, but it never really went away. Rather than being a temporary visitor, pain has taken up residency.
This unwelcome roommate has now begun to exert itself in forceful ways. It is disrupting my sleep, dividing my attention from daily activities, and most troubling, instilling fear. Fear is now a constant companion, as one wrong move could send pain shooting through my body. The memory of February’s “episode” is still fresh, and I will do just about anything to avoid experiencing that again.
As a person of deep personal faith, I find myself off balance in more ways than one. While pain indicates a physical problem, fear is indicative of an emotional and spiritual problem. I recognize that my fear is not unfounded. However, it’s only compounding the problem.
Fear begins to intertwine itself in the recesses of the mind. What if this pain never goes away? What if I become unable to work? What will this mean for my marriage? The questions can go on and on.
I’ve often heard it said that the opposite of fear is faith. The truth is, it’s hard to have faith when you’ve been prayed over countless times, and the pain doesn’t leave. It’s not a doubt in the existence of God or of His goodness. Instead, it’s a questioning of if or how that goodness will be manifest in my own life. Yet, we’ve seen miracles in our family over the past 2 years that dispel any notion that God is not present in our times of pain and crisis.
So, now I wait. Waiting is always one of the most difficult assignments to carry out. I wait on Him to heal me, or to strengthen me through the pain. I must trust that when the miracle doesn’t happen, there is something to be learned through the circumstance. If nothing else, it cultivates empathy for those who have pain as a permanent fixture in their lives.
I know there will be some who will read this and scoff. You don’t believe in God, and think my faith to be misguided or even ignorant. Some will want to argue theology and go down the road of “If God is good, then why does he allow pain. . . ?”
My purpose in writing is more a cathartic outlet for me to process a difficult season. I do have doubts and I need Him to work them out. If you too are experiencing pain and wrestling through fear, know that you are not alone.
I have written this verse many times in many different seasons as a word of hope and encouragement. I cling to it as my life verse and pray that it might minister to you as well: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13.
I close with simply saying, yes Lord, and Amen.