I haven’t been able to write much lately because of some physical difficulties I have been facing. Toward the end of August, I suddenly began having excruciating pain in my hands while doing activities involving fine motor skills. I thought I was over-using some muscles, so I would simple change activities when I became too uncomfortable. I was looking forward to vacation with my sister in Michigan – just me! all by myself! – anyway, so I was sure some time off was just what my body needed.
During my vacation, my hands and arms still hurt. Indeed, by the end of my trip, I was having difficulty buttoning my clothes and zipping my suitcase. That caused me frustration, more than anything else, and I determined to get to the bottom of it when I returned home. Within a day or two of my arrival, daily household tasks were causing tears of pain, and my husband insisted I go to a specialist as soon as I could get an appointment.
I was certain I had developed carpal tunnel syndrome, the scourge of pianists. I was surprised, then, to hear the sports medicine specialist immediately declare I could not possibly have that condition. He ordered a nerve study for the next week. The tests were very painful, but the information was more painful still. I had nerve damage in both arms; untreated, I could completely lose the ability to use my hands.
God is good. My doctor, whom He led me to find from the beginning, insisted from the outset that I never consider surgery. I am so glad, because the treatment plan he laid out has not only helped tremendously, it has also given clues as to how this occurred in the first place. This treatment includes taking medication to reduce the inflammation and pain and sleeping in splints to keep my arms at an optimal angle to rest. Most importantly, I am going to physical therapy twice a week to free up the entrapped nerves and strengthen weakened back and shoulder muscles that have led to this condition.
Now we believe that perhaps my pregnancy complications (the bone problems), prolonged bed rest, and insufficient rehabilitation have led to my over-all weakened condition. I didn’t realize I had developed problems in my upper back and posture; I thought I was straight, but I’m not! I am learning how to sit, stand, and raise my arms all over again. It is hard, and my back really hurts, now!
While I was resting my arms, laying on the heating pad, and searching God’s Word for comfort during the past two months, I have also been reminded of other women I know. My mother-in-law has been battling a shoulder injury for two years, and she has been calling me nearly daily to encourage me and pray for me. I can pray for her pain much more sympathetically now. My step-mother just had successful cancer surgery, Praise the Lord!, so I had plenty of time to pray for her. I also think about her knee injuries, and I pray she regains her strength and full movement soon. I have been praying for friends who lost babies, homes, jobs, a spouse, a dream. So many deal with pain. So many look to the Lord for healing.
I am so glad He is a God Who knows.
Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord,
Or being His counselor, hath taught Him?
~ Isaiah 40
But He knoweth the Way that I take;
When He hat tested me, I shall come forth as gold…
But He is of One mind, and Who can turn Him?
And what His Soul desireth,
Even that He doeth.
For He performeth the thing that is appointed for me,
And many such things are with Him.
~ Job 23
The path of my life, the hills and the valleys, seem to make little sense to me. He knows the end of each trial, and He knows the time of each test. I am so glad my All-Sovereign LORD has designed them all for my good, and that they all are for His own glory.
I am so glad He is a God Who cares.
He shall feed His flock like a Shepherd;
He shall gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom
And shall gently lead those that are with young.
~ Isaiah 40
And He said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ my rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong.
~ II Corinthians 12
The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy.
~ James 5
What a comfort, to know my Heavenly Father carries me through these difficulties. He doesn’t merely ordain trials for my betterment and His glory, He bears me up and gently sustains me. He remembers I am dust. He upholds me by His Omnipotence.
I am so glad He is a God Who reveals … Himself.
I know that Thou canst do every thing,
And that no thought can be withheld from Thee.
Who is He Who hideth counsel without knowledge?
Therefore have I uttered that which I understood not;
Things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear,
But now mine eye seeth THEE.
~ Job 42
Lift up your eyes on high,
And behold Who hath created these things,
Who bringeth out their host by number;
He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might;
For He is strong in power.
Not one faileth.
~ Isaiah 40
I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord; for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may win Christ… That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.
~ Philippians 3
Though I don’t often jump for joy when faced with a painful or tragic circumstance, such trials give me a valuable opportunity to seek God’s face and know Him more. The Lord has promised to reveal Himself to those who pray, “Thy face, oh, Lord, do I seek!;” and those who seek Him early will find Him. I thank my Father, truly, for the glimpses of Him I have won from the trials I have endured the past several years.
Through my physical trial and the trials of my loved ones, I am grateful we share a God Who is caring, knowing, and revealing. We all will continue to face trials until we see Him in glory, but until then, we can rejoice that these times are for His glory and our good.
Behold, we count the happy who endure!
~ James 5