Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: pain

Change and decay in all around I see

“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – C.S. Lewis

It surely does seem that God is shouting at us right now. But what is He saying? Is he telling us to repent? Most likely that is part of it for most of us. But I can’t tell you what you need to repent of, that is a matter between you and God, No one else knows exactly what your need is.

What should be clear to everybody by now is that we have been trusting the wrong things. Money, jobs, health care, our own plans, all seem shaky now, not at all so sure and solid as we thought. One thing, one person, remains unchanged.

For I am the LORD, I change not (Malachi 3:6)

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses:
but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. (Psalm 30:6)

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me (Psalm 23:4)

The following hymn, written by Henry F. Lyte almost 200 years ago, is known throughout the English-speaking world. If anyone is thinking of singing something meaningful to strengthen and comfort folks in nursing homes, this hymn should be at the top of your list.

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

In praise of a good nurse

At first I was only dimly aware of a discomfort in my side as I chatted with our Sunday guests. I tried to keep up my end of the conversation as the discomfort made itself felt more keenly. Half an hour later I could no longer ignore the pain; I told our guests I was not feeling well and had to go and lie down.

Lying on the bed didn’t make the pain go away. Instead, it continued to increase. Our guests soon left and I began to walk around the house in a not fully erect position. To complicate matters, my mother had been visiting from Saskatchewan and needed to soon get to the airport to return home.

I knew that I couldn’t drive; what I really needed was for someone to drive me to the hospital. Our daughter was at home and offered to take Grandma to the airport in her car. That solved one problem. We left Grandmother and Granddaughter to look after the airport run and my wife drove me to the hospital closest to our home in Montreal.

The trip to the hospital was agony. By this time there was no position that really eased the pain; I couldn’t sit, lie down or stand upright. I found the pain bothered me a little less if I would stand in a somewhat crouched position and slowly shuffle around.

By this time I knew the pain was being caused by a kidney stone looking for an exit from my body. The nurse at admitting told me that the old people used to drink a bottle of beer at times like this. That made some sense to me, having had prior experience of the urinary system flushing properties of beer. But this was a hospital and she had no beer to offer.

I was taken to a bed and a young nurse tried to insert an IV needle into my right hand in order to hook me up to a pain killer drip. She made several unsuccessful attempts, then gave up and asked another nurse to take over. He tried several times, without success, then  he also gave up and went to talk to the head nurse.

The head nurse was a tall, broad-shouldered black lady with an air of authority. She probably could have been intimidating if she had tried. Instead, she kindly told me: “You have to hold still. If you pull your hand away every time the needle touches you, the nurses can’t get the IV in.” I hadn’t even been aware that I had been doing that, probably too keenly aware of the pain in my side. She then took my left hand, I held it still, and she inserted the needle almost painlessly. The pain killer began to flow and soon the pain in my side was gone.

The kidney stone must have left at some point also and I was able to return home later that evening. The next day, there was the tiniest pin point bruise where the needle had been inserted on my left hand. On the other hand, the right, there were shades of  black, blue, purple, yellow and green that lasted for days. A reminder that I should be thankful for a nurse who understood the problem and how to deal with this uncooperative patient.

I never did try the beer cure. I had quit drinking it some years earlier because of thee stupid stuff I did after a few beers. I realized, though, that the suggestion had some merit. Ever since I have tried to drink enough liquids every day to flush out any traces of kidney stones before they became large enough to cause such distress.

He hath torn and he will heal

I took our little Pookie to the vet a few days ago; Pookie being our three year old Flame Point Siamese. This was a follow up visit after his latest ear infection had cleared up; the vet is trying to figure out why he so often gets these infections.  Her theory now is that it may be a food allergy.

Pookie makes these trips a few times each year and nothing horrible has happened to him yet, still he does not like these trips to the vet. He complains all the way there, all the time he is there, and only a little less when he know that he is on his way home.

Once we are home he is my friend again. He is a very friendly cat and will often come to me to let me know he values our friendship and wants a tummy rub. My wife is the one who applies the medicine in his ear, something he would dearly love to avoid. Yet when she sits in the recliner and puts her feet up, he will come and curl up in her lap. In other words, this little guy holds nothing against us for the scary treatment we sometimes mete out.

That reminds me of the words of the prophet Hosea that I quoted in the title. Sorrow and pain are a part of every human life, some experience less than others, some much more. Sometimes it is obvious that we are suffering the consequences of something that we have done; at other times it seems like we are victims of random acts of fate. Whatever the case may be, it would have been in God’s power to prevent the pain and sorrow.

Job found that it was futile to demand that God give an account of these things, partly because the interplay of our actions with the actions of others around us, aided and abetted by unseen spiritual forces, is simply beyond the capacity of our understanding.

Besides, blaming God, or demanding an answer of God, will do nothing to make our circumstances any better. Yes, God allowed this to happen. But, He is also the only one who can help us in such circumstances. So may we come to Him without bitterness or recrimination, love Him and seek His help and comfort.

That is the message of Hosea 6:1-3. Here is the full text of that message.

Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

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