Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What Does This Mean?

Sometimes you and I, in our quest for pain relief, stumble across new medical procedures, medications, and modalities that promise healing and hope. Some new technique, supplement, pill or process has claims of studies to back its efficacy, followed by reams of testimonial and anecdotal evidence that it works. We get excited that maybe this is the answer to our prayer for pain relief, or this is the healing for which we have begged the Lord. But maybe you have a history of hoping, and then being disappointed in such things, and so you are waffling on whether to try to take advantage of it or not. You've been on this roller coaster of hope and disappointment too many times to count, and you just don’t think you can do it again.

This situation happened to me recently. God, in His sovereignty, has allowed me to come across something new that might actually give me some relief. Interestingly, I have lately become quite content in my situation. Having seen the many ways God has worked through my pain and limitations, I am convinced that His way is best, and this “new normal” is not a bad place to be. I would be lying if I said I was thrilled with my limitations, but for the most part, my heart has reached that place of contentment that has been so elusive to me all these years. Now, He has sent this small glimmer of hope that physical, earthly relief may be in sight.

So, what is the godly response? Should I try it? Everything is spiritual, and this is no exception. My first thought, as I considered this, was that this is a ploy by Satan or my flesh to try to tempt me back into discontentment. I have begged the Lord to grant me joy and contentment in the midst of this trial, and He has done it. Now comes the temptation to try something else; to put my hope in yet another attempt to make this better. It is impossible to try this option without feeling any sense of hopefulness or anticipation of relief, so how can I do this without setting aside that contentment?

The other spiritual argument is that maybe the Lord has withheld relief until such time as I submitted to His sovereign will for me, becoming content and humbling myself under His plan. Maybe this healing opportunity is my reward for finally coming to a place of peace with a situation I don’t like. Perhaps he is saying to me, “Ok, Suzanne, now that I know that I am Lord of your life, I’m confident that you will not put your hope in anything else, so it’s safe for you to try this.” Maybe he was waiting for me to put all my hope in Him before He would allow any earthly measure to succeed.
These two possibilities are polar opposites. If the first is true, I should decline this threat of temptation to become discontented and to put my hope in things of this world. If the second is true, then I should rejoice in this great reward for my faithfulness, certain that this one is going to work, and I am going to have the healing I have so long desired.

But, as you probably know, there is no way to be certain of what God is doing in any given situation. Once again, as in every decision we make, we must go back to what we know for sure: Our hope is in Christ. Our hope is not in pain relief, full mobility, or activity without limits. It is not in sleep, or comfort, or physical healing. Our hope is in Christ. As long as I remember this, I am free to try or not try anything I want. I can sign up for this therapy, remembering that regardless of the outcome, my hope remains exactly where it started. I can also choose not to try the therapy, and remain just as content as I am now, knowing that, as long as I am trusting the Lord, he will continue to meet my needs.

I’m not sure what I’ll do about this, but I have committed it to prayer, and have asked others to pray, also. I will go to Him with a quiet heart, trusting that He knows what is best, and remembering the words the Psalmist wrote about our faithful God and His guidance:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you. -Psalm 32:8