“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18
I lay in bed immobile from pain as I write this. Yesterday, for no reason whatsoever, my lower back went out and magnificent pain shot out all over. I have not been able to do much beyond trips to the bathroom and the fetching of food for myself. I have had intermittent back pain for the last twelve years, but the last 24 hours have proven the worst in memory.
It startles me the thoughts I am willing to entertain as I endure this agony. I have prayed a cry for healing every hour. I confessed my sins out loud to Him. At my earliest convenience, I will take my request for prayer to the elders of our church. I will let them lay hands on me and anoint me with oil.
Why? Because that is what James commissioned the early church to do when a person among them was sick (James 5:14-16).
But this is not a devo about healing. What I want to make clear is that I have never made such a request so thoroughly before. I have had others pray for different ailments of the past, but never to this degree. I have prayed out loud for my problems before but not with this kind of zeal.
What’s different, then?
The severity of the pain. So all-encompassing is it that my thoughts are way out of character. I cry out to God and wonder if He’s there all within a minute. I make a case for a stoic, “pain is just weakness leaving the body” attitude in one breath and then wished I had Vicodin coursing through my veins after saying it.
Pain reveals all that is within you. It has a way of bringing your best and worst out in a way for everyone to see. It is, in essence, vulnerability at its finest.
Then I think about the millions of people who have been martyred over the centuries for their commitment to Jesus. They stayed true to their faith right to the moment when wicked people took their lives. I’ll bet they wavered inside. I’ll bet they wanted to deny Jesus to make the pain stop. And yet, something inside them held firm. They did what Peter could not on the night of Jesus’ betrayal.
Here I am on a soft, comfy couch with a cup of coffee in my hand comparing my back pain to the martyrs of Christ. I’d feel ashamed if my feelings bank wasn’t already overloaded with pain.
I guess the end point here comes down to the message of Romans 8:18. Your ability to endure the inevitable pains of life has a lot to do with your eternal mindset. All of this earthly existence prepares us for the life that is to come. Pain plays a role in preparing us for the coming glory of eternity with our Lord and Saviour.