What is your level of pain?

pain-faces-webI am two weeks out from having surgery.  Initially going in, I was really uncomfortable in accepting the level of pain that I would potentially experience.  Further, every person I knew that had the procedure focused on how well I would feel about four weeks post surgery.  I recognized that as some sort of set up.  Not one person said, after its over you will experience pain.  After all, the last time I’d been in the hospital was nearly 21 years ago for the delivery of my daughter.  Outside of that, I have lived a rather healthy and uninterrupted life.

Following the procedure, it felt like I was asked by a member of the medical team on the hour, the same question, “On a scale of 1-10, what is your level of pain?” I quickly realized that whether it was a 10 or 5, the fact that I was in pain was the driver, and I didn’t care about the difference.  Essentially, I desired to be pain free.  I failed to see the decrease or fluctuation as a potential blessing in disguise, and that was a mistake.

God is still in the miracle working business, but everything designed for our good does not show up in a fishes and loaves experience.  Gradually God is working behind the scenes meticulously crafting what will bless us beyond our wildest dreams.  Our demeanor in the interim is to appreciate each moment as if its our last.  In order for me to get to that point, I had to intentionally focus on the pain and study it to understand when it was not as intense and give God praise for the reduction.

While in pain, I had to amp up my belief that God was still in control and that he cares for me.  Sure, he could have removed the pain immediately, but then I would not be able to identify with someone who is in pain that I could potentially minister to.  This experience is something else I can add to my toolbox and hopefully provide assurance, encouragement and affirmation to someone else along this journey.  I am a witness of God’s healing power and the ability to endure in the physical although well in the spiritual.

What I realized is that it is less important for me to focus on the pain scale, and more important for me to focus on my praise scale.  Just as it is less important for me to focus on my problems and more important for me to focus on my God! As the medical team worked to decrease my level of pain on the scale, I had to determine what I could do to increase my level of praise on the scale.  Let me be clear, we should not strive to praise to get God’s attention to decrease our pain.  Quite the contrary.  We must increase our praise simply because he deserves it.  And what I’ve found is that the more I focus on who God is and his love for me, I give less attention to what I am experiencing.

As I work to demonstrate greater degrees of gratitude and lessened displays of negativity, I commit to engaging in perpetual praise to a more than worthy God.  We are concerned with numbers in many areas of our lives.  Just as we strive for the best on performance reviews,  for our children for standardized tests, and credit scores for major purchases, we have opportunity to do the same for God.  Imagine what our worship experiences would be like if each of us arrived on 10 despite what we are individually experiencing.  Can you handle it? Its certainly worth a try.  What have you got to loose? More importantly, do you have room enough for the gain?


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