Thursday, June 9, 2016

"Hold Both the Blessing and The Trial Lightly"

I was lying in bed in great pain. I'd been to the urgent care facility and had the antibiotics for my UTI, but hours into it, it still hurt...bad. I was drinking gallons of water and waiting. If my husband hadn't been sleeping next to me, I think I would have moaned.

I remembered the words of a friend, "I've learned to hold both the blessing and the trial lightly." I cried out to the Lord, "How can I hold this lightly? This hurts so much, it's all I can think about!" 

I knew my friend's wisdom came from scripture. 2 Corinthians 4:17 "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison" and Job 1:21b "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." Not that a few hours of pain can be compared with what Job went through! A few hours..."momentary". I focused on that for a minute. I knew the antibiotics would take affect and within a few hours I would have relief for most of the pain I was feeling. In the grand scheme of things, a few hours is momentary.

"Light", at that instant I could not call what I was feeling "light affliction." It was definitely the most painful bladder infection I had ever experienced, but it was light in that I could go to a doctor, the medicine was there and I could afford it. What did they do before antibiotics? I have no idea. Could one die of an untreated UTI? Did they?

I had been studying passages in the Bible on suffering and trials and now God was giving me a small practical test. I recognize now, and even then, that this was not a huge trial I was going through, but God still brought home some lessons:

An Eternal Perspective -- In the course of a lifetime, what are a few hours of pain? But stretch that out even further, what is it compared to all of eternity? Recently a girl I'm discipling said to me, "No one has suffered more than one lifetime." When I think of someone who has chronic pain or sorrow that lasts a lifetime, I wonder if they could be comforted by that thought? I can't speak to that, but even a lifelong trial or persecution "is not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Romans 8:18 What will that glory be? Seeing God in all His holiness, majesty, and splendor!

A Dependence on God -- Whenever we recognize our weakness, we can have the blessing of depending more on God. It's so easy to rely on ourselves when everything is going well. "I've got this one. I don't need to disturb you, Lord with this little thing." But God wants us to lean on Him all the time. That's why Paul said, "When I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10 When we are strong, we are only as strong as ourselves. When we are weak, we let the "power of Christ dwell in [us]." (verse 9)

A Greater Understanding of Others -- I had a bad ear infection a couple of months ago with both ears draining for almost two weeks. When it was all over, I had lost 30% of my hearing. Suddenly everyone had to be looking at me when they talked to me and background music became an annoying noise. My mother and mother-in-law are quite hard of hearing, to the point that hearing aids are not always effective. Suddenly I felt like I could identify with them to a much greater extent. It made me more patient with repeating, at least I think it did! And more aware of how someone raising their voice to be heard sounds like being shouted at. (Thankfully, a "patch" on my eardrum has given me back much of my hearing.)

Rejoicing in Blessings, While Realizing They are Temporary -- I'm rejoicing in being able to hear today. There is a house wren outside my window who sings until I sometimes think the tiny bird will burst. I can hear the woodpecker knocking on my tree, my neighbor's lawn mower, and the voices of the children who live behind me playing in their yard. Thank you, Lord! I think I'll hear in heaven, too, but, if I live long, there's a good chance the ability to hear these things will diminish. I have a lovely house and garden, but one day it will mean nothing to me, this body will be in the ground and I will be in a mansion in eternity. I can't grasp these and other blessings tightly, just like I can't let trials and suffering control me. God is the only permanence in my life.

Live by Faith -- This brings us back full circle to our eternal perspective. "We look not at the things which are seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18 How do we look at what is not seen? By faith. Hebrews 11 tells us of men and women who were able to look at what was not seen...Noah built an ark when it had never rained before...Abraham followed God, not knowing where he was going. They lived in tents, how temporary is that? But they looked "for a city whose architect and builder was God." Hebrews 11:10 This was a city they could not see, but one they knew would mean truly coming home. Forever.
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I would love to hear from you what you have learned through your trials. You can respond in the comments below or by writing to me at: 
aroundthetableblog (at) gmail (dot) com

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  1. Your pain and suffering are in my prayer for you. Thanks for the inspiring words. May the blessings of Our Lord Jesus be upon you.

  2. Beautifully written. I'm your neighbor at Titus 2 Tuesday tonight. May I invite you to share with DanceWithJesus linkup to bless someone there too?

    Thank you for your insight. And I pray the UTI is resolved. Fully!



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