What if the pain doesn’t go away! Part One

WHAT IF THE PAIN DOESN’T GO AWAY!
Part 1 of 3

How do you handle chronic physical pain that hurts every hour of every day? Or, what if you have a life-threatening disease like cancer that has been prayed for by countless friends and it continues to slowly kill you. Or, you have prayed for a friend with some debilitating sickness believing that they will be healed and they are not healed but have died from that sickness. How do you deal with these situations?

YOU BELIEVE

You believe that God heals the sick. Maybe you have prayed for someone who was healed or heard stories of miraculous healing. As a result your faith is strong and solid. You do not doubt the existence of God and know that He loves you. But you have chronic physical pain that hurts every hour of every day. You believe in the power of prayer and have been prayed for countless times by friends, casual acquaintances, even the “big guns” in the healing ministry. You have attended countless healing meetings. At some of these meetings prophetic “words” were given specifically for the physical condition you were dealing with. You have worked harder and prayed harder and longer than you thought was possible. You have tried fasting, thinking maybe this was the key to your healing. You have named it and claimed it more times than you care to remember. You have ignored it and denied it but the pain is still there. You have knelt in front of the TV and placed your hands on the screen, as the healing evangelist looked you square in the eye and prayed for your healing. Nothing changes. You have begged, cajoled, pleaded, bargained, cried, screamed in frustration, and yet the heavens remain silent and the pain is still there.

The pain slowly eats at you, demoralizing you, breaking your spirit, and bringing with it a desperation that only those in chronic pain can know and understand. You will try anything to make the pain go away. Both medication and surgery have been tried and they do not help. The pain is unchanging. To cope you may turn to alcohol, drugs, pornography or some other escape to be distracted even for a short time.

This is unrelenting pain, which the doctors can do nothing about. Pain which prayer seems to be unable to touch, pain which causes your emotions to swing from anger to acceptance to despair and hopelessness. Perhaps you are emotionally and spiritually wounded by what has been said or done to you from well meaning friends. You have heard all the standard answers from your Christian brothers and sisters like; “You need to have more faith and claim your healing.” My question would be how much is more and how much claiming do I need to do? Some are fond of saying, “I think there must be some sin God is trying to reveal in your life and when you deal with that sin your healing will come.” My response, “Okay I’m ready to deal.”

If you have tried everything you know to rid yourself of this chronic physical pain and it still persists, what do you do? How do you cope? How do you continue to smile and go on with life believing that God will heal you? Is all this healing stuff just false hope? Are you kidding yourself? How do you hold onto hope? How do you keep from screaming, “God, are you listening, do you even care,” or “Why God,” and turning away from God for good?

The answer to these questions is critical because the message you often hear from the Pentecostal, Charismatic, Evangelical church is that we worship a healing God, it is His will that we be healed, therefore you should not be suffering from pain. If you are there must be something wrong with you.

GOD’S SECRET PLAN

I’ve been told that somehow my pain is a part of God’s “secret plan” and I must endure it while hanging on to the hope that one day my healing will come.

Christianity is founded on the assumption that God can and does unilaterally intervene in the affairs of humans. If that were true the logical question is: why does God’s intervention in the world seem so arbitrary? Yes, God can heal blindness, but why does God heal one blind person and not another?

The reasoning goes something like this: If God can heal one blind man at one time, it seems he could heal any blind man any time. Thus it seems the reason many remain blind is because God is unwilling to heal them. And if he’s unwilling to heal them, it must be his will they remain blind. Hence whether a person is born blind or with sight and whether he or she remains blind or is healed is all part of God’s “secret plan.”

This line of reasoning is then applied to all diseases and personal tragedies. Therefore, it is concluded, whatever happens must be because God wants it to happen or at least because God didn’t want to stop it from happening.

WHEN I DISCOVERED PAIN

It couldn’t have been a better day to snow ski. It was a warm, spring day in the California mountains and I was at a popular ski resort, on the last run of the day, finishing up what had been a tremendous two days of skiing. As I headed down the ski slope and neared the end of the run I jumped over a small mogul. When I landed my skis came to an abrupt stop in the wet, sticky snow. However, my ski bindings released and my body did a somersault slamming into the snow with such impact that I momentarily lost consciousness.

I knew I was in trouble as I lay on my back in the snow. I didn’t fully understand how much trouble until I tried to reach for my ski poles. After the initial stunning blow, I realized that I had no feeling in my hands or legs. That realization brought fear like I have never experienced before as my mind very quickly translated all of this into, “you have broken your neck and are paralyzed.” As I lay there trying to comprehend what had just happened, suddenly the pain came like hot needles down my arms into my hands. After a period of time I was able to stand and slowly, painfully make my way down to the bottom of the ski slope where my friend was waiting for me.

After I told him what had happened we drove back to Bakersfield where I was admitted to the hospital. After hours of Xrays, probing and MRI’s the doctors gave me the diagnosis. This traumatic accident had broken my wrist, severely sprained both thumbs and seriously damaged three discs in my neck. The doctor told me that I was fortunate to be able to walk. The trauma to my neck could very easily have left me totally paralyzed.

As a result of this accident over twenty five years ago I have been dealing with constant pain in both hands due to the injuries to the discs and nerves in my neck. This pain is with me 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The only way I can cope with the pain is through medication, which makes the pain tolerable.

IS GOD TO BLAME?

I do not believe that physical pain and suffering are from God. He does not send pain and suffering to build our character. He does not cause accidents to teach us lessons. If that were the case how does one explain to a mother whose child was run down in the street that this is something God allowed because He has a greater purpose for this child? This is not the God that I worship. He does not bring about the horror of a 9/11 because somehow it fits into His “secret plan” which we will one day understand.

We must come to a place where we accept that there are many things that happen in this universe that are outside of God’s plan. He created both us and other spiritual beings with a free will. We know some of these spirit beings made a choice to rebel, as man did, and that there are consequences for these choices. Because of His love for us he allows these choices to be made. Sometimes these choices clearly go against His will.

See also:
What if the pain doesn’t go away! Part Two
What if the pain doesn’t go away! Part Three

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