There is purpose in our pain.I had been talking with J - whose parents used to live at Edgewood - and was saying Good-bye, so I could go visit my grandmother. When I told J where I was going, he said, "Oh! I want to come, too." (He'd visited with my grandmother before, and wanted to see her again.) When we entered her apartment, Grandma was in bed - still in her pjs. She was not feeling well and didn't have the energy to get dressed that day. So we sat down by her bed and began our visit. Grandma was discouraged because she can't seem to shake this cough and congestion thing she's got going on. It's wearing her out, and she just wants to be done. She shared with J (I've heard it many times, already...) that most days she wonders, What's next? She overcame the troublesome tingling in her arms and hands by using an oxygen tank. Then she got a weird infection in her elbow. When that was gone troubles with sleeping began. Then she discovered she was so tired she can't stay awake to read much - and she really loves reading. And it just seems to her like a new problem awaits at each turn. Discouragement understood. Fortunately, J was quick to chime in with encouragement. He has been going through his own set of medical trials and shared with Grandma the ways he has seen God at work in the midst of them. He has had opportunities to share his faith and speak life to nurses and doctors and technicians. J shared stories about interactions he's had with other patients. He gave God praise for his pain, because he could see how God was using it for His glory. All these people have been reached - and they wouldn't have if J didn't face these troubles. I sat there by my grandmother's bed, listening to J's stories, completely delighted to hear about God's faithfulness. And then a very beautiful thing happened. My grandmother began sharing a story about one of the nurses who comes to help her a few times a week. She was beginning to recognize how her own pain was being used for a good thing. A young nurse is being impacted by my grandmother's life. And if Grandma didn't have these needs - if it wasn't necessary for this nurse to assist her - this young woman would be missing out.At that realization, J began to pray. Among other things, he prayed for my grandmother's healing, of course. He also prayed for the people who are being reached because of the trials she faces each day. And when we said, "Amen," and I looked at my grandmother I'm pretty sure I saw a glimpse of a sparkle back in her eyes. I think she was finally feeling some encouragement because of the words of Truth which had been drifting into her ears. There is purpose in our pain.
Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are my own, and may not necessarily reflect those of Vista Springs Living Centers.