Pain and Suffering: Or how I spent the last four months.

I've been sick for about four months.  I haven't really been shouting it from the rooftops or anything.  I don't like to complain in public, but I've had an ulcer.  Basically, my stomach decided to spring a leak and give my pancreas an acid bath.  I guess I've taken too many ibuprofen in my last few years.  But, I have gained a huge benefit from this experience.

I've heard some of the cliche's that people put out there about sickness causing all sorts of re-arrangements of priorities, and life focus.  For me, not so much.  I've been nauseated for four months, and my body has been leaking acid all over itself.  Not fun.  I've been trying to make it minute by minute.  This is difficult with two jobs, a wife, a three year old and an infant.  Fortunately, I have an awesome wife, who understands that I have been in a lot of pain.  I've also learned to have new understanding and empathy for those who deal with losing their temper.  There's nothing like an internal acid bath to make you fly off the handle a little more quickly than usual.  

Prilosec did seem to get me patched up pretty well, and now I'm going through the appointments to make sure everything still works the way it's supposed to work.  The big thing for me though, is that part of me does not want to really go back to the land of the healthy.  I know that some people pray for healing.  Some people believe that it's God's job to heal you from your illnesses if you have enough faith. This is not really an accurate application of God's word.  I know that God is the great healer.  But, in this instance, I am grateful for the pain instead.  I am grateful for the thoughts that I may not live my life in pristine health.  I've been contaminated, broken, weak, scared and scarred.  As a Christian, maybe I need to spend more time being actually broken, instead of just talking about being broken to actually broken people.  

I've spent most of my life learning how to help people.  Along the way, I've become pretty entitled in my attitude.  It wasn't really intentional.  But my job is to have answers for people...for just about everything.  It had become a little too easy to tell people what they should think about, or how to think about their situations.  But you don't learn about struggling with someone by dispensing knowledge like that.  In my own suffering, I felt hopeless for awhile, because I knew that the situation was due to my overuse of headache medicine.  I knew that I had caused this to happen.  I found myself in a spot where I called out for healing, knowing that it was not going to happen in the way I wanted it to.  I knew that this was part of my own story and relationship with Jesus.  I've never really had to struggle in my health.  In this situation, the Lord is making me more like Him.  Why would I want to pray for Him to make me more of what I already was?  So I began thanking Him for the struggle, and looking forward to the process of growing my way out of this.  I began to confess instead of request.  The more I confessed the things that I was thinking about, the more I knew I was becoming the person He wants me to be.  

So, now I thank Him for the experience that so far, hasn't sealed my fate.  I'm feeling like I'm on the mend.  I feel so much more empathy for those who are actually suffering.  I know many people who struggle with health much more than I do, and I am inspired by their struggle.  I am humbled by people who are dealing with life changing illness, in a way that I did not really have an appreciation for, before being sick.  So maybe I did get a new focus in my priorities and life in general. 
I've also been playing this song on repeat...a lot.

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