I’ve been reading a book by Max Lucado. I am taking my time with this one. It’s a ritual if you will, these different readings that I do while I cuddle under the warm blankets and pray, read and reflect on how God used the pain.
I read these words today. They’re not my words but they could be.
Don’t let the crisis paralyze you.
Don’t let the sadness overwhelm you.
Don’t let the fear intimidate you.
To do nothing is the wrong thing.
To do something is the right thing.
And to believe is the highest thing.
The chapter I read is entitled God Puts Pain to Use. Again, I could have written this too.
I enjoyed breakfast recently with a friend. Most of our talk revolved around the health of his fourteen-year-old son. Seven years ago a tumor was found behind the boy’s spleen The discovery led to several months of strenuous prayer and chemotherapy. The son recovered. He is now playing high school football, and the cancer clinic is a distant memory.
The discovery of the tumor was the part of the story I found fascinating. When the boy was seven years old, he was horsing around with cousins. One of them accidentally kicked him in the stomach. Acute pain led to a hospital visit. An alert doctor requested series of tests. And the tests led the surgeon to discover and remove the tumor. After the cancer was removed, the father asked the physician how long the tumor had been present. Although it was impossible to know with certainty, the form and size of the tumor indicated that it was no more than two or three days old.
“So,” I said, “God used a kick in the gut to get your boy into treatment.”
Then there is the story of Isabel. She spent the first three and one-half years of her life in a Nicaraguan orphanage. No mother, no father. No promise of either. With all orphans, odds of adoption diminish with time. Every passing month decreased Isabel’s chance of being placed in a home.
And then a door slammed on her finger, She was following the other children into the yard to play when a screen door closed on her hand. Pain shot up her arm, and her scream echoed through the playground. Question: Why would God let this happen? Why would a benevolent, omnipotent God permit an innocent girl with more than her share of challenges to feel additional pain?
Might he be calling for the attention of Ryan Schnoke, the American would-be father who was sitting in the playroom nearby? He and his wife, Cristina, had been trying to adopt a child for months. No other adult was nearby to help Isabel, so Ryan walked over, picked her up, and comforted her.
Several months later when Ryan and Cristina were close to giving up, Ryan remembered Isabel and resolved to try one more time. This time the adoption succeeded. Little Isabel is growing up in a happy, healthy home.
A kick in the gut?
A finger in the door?
God doesn’t manufacture pain, but he certainly puts it to use.
That’s the end of the chapter in Max Lucado’s book but I could add so much more.
God can use it all. Maybe that is the reason it happened in the first place. Be open to all possibilities and allow God to use the pain.