God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.’ C.S. Lewis

The Power of Weakness

“But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!”
2 Corinthians 12:9 AMP

Ouch!

It snapped at me so suddenly and aggressively I could not react. I slumped onto the floor in acute pain on my back. I could not sit up, so I laid down sideway. I had just parked my car on deck five car park at the mall. Whenever I heard someone locking the car, I called for help, 'Excuse Me!' No one seemed to hear me. Then I saw a couple walk out of their car diagonally in front of me. I thought they would have seen me but they walked off. I reached for my mobile phone and called my friend. Seven of us from the Jabboks group were to meet for dinner. Two early birds came down but could not locate me at first. One of them called me again and finally found me next to my car rear tyre. I was told later that when they were attending to me, a vehicle was reversing into the empty lot beside my car. We were in the driver's blind spot. Thank God they were there to stop the driver. Thank God for protecting me! I could have been hit when I laid there. The pain was excruciating and I could not get back to the car to lie down. My friends summoned the ambulance and I was wheeled to the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department at the hospital with the pain pulling my back. Ouch! Ouch!

Ouch! Ouch!

A long night began at A&E. Any slight movement would induce pain.  X-raying was painful. Putting on the diapers was painful. Lying on the bed was painful. I was thoroughly exhausted but I could not sleep. I was told my pain-killer was already very strong and the dosage could not be increased. I could not remember how I passed the night. Morning did come. Along came a physiotherapist. While assessing my condition, she lifted my left leg and my pain shot up instantly. My tears also shot out immediately. From then on, I was very guarded. Thank God she subsequently brought an electrical stimulation device that was instrumental to distract me from my pain. With the stimulation on my back, I felt as if it was massaging my back. At 4pm, there was finally a bed available in the orthopedic ward. I was wheeled into abandonment

Abandonment

The journey of helplessness continued. I was warded on 22/4 at 7.40pm. I laid in bed till 4pm , 25/4. During all these hours, I had to rely on the nurses to help me. I was also fighting a mind battle over the fear of pain. When I had to roll to one side, I did it very slowly. When I needed to sit up for my meal, I had to be pulled up. Another physiotherapist came to teach me bed exercises. She was God-sent. She noted my fear and with much patience and expert knowledge, she gave me a lot of confidence to trust again. With her help and the corset supporting my back, I slowly sat up and moved to the edge of the bed. My heart welled up in gratitude and joy! The physiotherapist was as happy and she snapped a shot of me. She said, “Send the photo to show your family and friends who are providing support.”

Support

The corset supported my back. The physiotherapist supported my mental strength. My family and friends supported with many prayers. The strong backing up made back-recovery speedy. When I could sit up, I gained enough confidence to try walking the next day. I took baby steps back from the toilet. Yes! I kept encouraging myself to celebrate small breakthroughs. My little ‘yays’ and ‘yes’ brought a little amusement to the nurses attending to me. It put a smile on their faces.

Smile

Every visitor who came brought smiles which distracted me from my pain. I got to eat ice-cream too. I chatted in high spirits and could sense that what God had wanted to do with me was almost done. I have learnt a few God-designed lessons.

Lessons

It was no coincidence that on the day of my discharge, I got to read a newsletter entitled, 'When Life's Thorns Pierce Our Lives'. What the writer wrote confirmed God's whispers in my heart. I was made weak that I might learn to rely on God. I could only rely on God's strength to cope with the pain. God used my helpless situation to teach me the value of weakness. For in our weakness, His power is displayed. I gave thanks for God's grace.

Grace

It was God's grace that put me with those endearing ones in the same ward. They competed with one another to see who could lift the operated leg higher. They shared fruits with me. They kept talking and it distracted me from my pain. This was strange because I am someone who usually needs quiet rest. Only God knew that I needed some entertainment to take my mind off my pain. I in turn gave them encouragement – I told them that they were walking more steadily and that they were very brave. It was quite an unusual experience with these ones. They said we were destined to meet. When they commented on my speedy recovery, I said that many prayers had been offered and that I would be praying for them too. I also experienced the joy of the Lord in the midst of the pain. This must be yet another testimony of God's grace and prayers of many. Julia encouraged me with this: Our attitude will determine our actions. Our outlook will determine the outcome. God has already told us to “expect” trials…. it’s not “if” but “when.”  Thank you for setting a blazing example for “counting” it all JOY despite the pain “evaluating” what is important and looking at it in terms of what God is doing for us, not against us. This is how it’s possible to start on the journey of Joy in the middle of trials. Yay!

Yay!

I teared at four junctures. When it first happened at the car park, a friend commented – How about your Cambodia trip? The tears immediately came. I was really looking forward to meeting my missionary friend there. I was eager to join my friend to teach and preach. I was excited to meet my bible school classmates in Phnom Penh. Those must have been tears of disappointment. The second time tears came was when the physiotherapist pulled my leg and brought about that acute pain. Those were tears of pain. Then, when I was working on some bed exercises with the physiotherapist, I could not manage one movement without feeling pain. Tears rolled. Tears of fear. This morning, I experienced God's love when I read these words again : When life's thorns pierce our lives, we can choose to rest in full assurance that God cares and His grace is sufficient for us . In all situations, give thanks and do not forget to count your blessings. God continued to teach me that I was given weakness that I might feel the need for God. He did not have to tell me why the back pain attacked but He chose to assure me of His love and showed me things I needed to learn. I shed tears of gratitude. In this period of rest, He helped me build my physical body and my spiritual reservoir. Yay!

Of Pain, Pain and More Pain

~ A Reflection Two Years Later

Pain is a profound thing. I am writing this as I remember my friends whose lives were lost in the Sabah earthquake in June 2015 and after meeting an old-time friend who had walked out of breast cancer. She said emotional pain was harder to bear than physical pain.

C.S. Lewis puts it nicely : 

Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.” 

He also says : We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

The last time my body heard His megaphone was two years ago when my back snapped on me. The excruciating pain forced me to be still, slow down, sit up and learn to stand again. Then I walked one step at a time. Take time to manage our pain and remember to hold His Hand.

 

Published by Sunsets Purple