The Day After. The Problem with Pain, Part 5


Grandfather Mountain

I became quite the expert in hurting my right ankle during our summer vacation. First of all, I burned it in the Bahamas until it developed an XXXX-sized blister. It's amazing what forgetting to cover a foot with sunscreen will do, especially when snorkelling in tropical weather! My reward was the privilege of limping around Nassau with my prized blister. Two weeks later I slipped while climbing a mountain in North Carolina and twisted the same ankle. Pain is a mild word to describe that experience, but thanks to the strength God gave me, I was able to finish my hike up the mountain as well the trek back to the car, a trip more than two miles in distance!

Once in the car however, my foot doubled in size. I thought I would end looking like a Japanese wrestler! The pain intensified as well, and I found myself lying around the hotel room that evening. No way would I ever be able to walk again. Or at least not for the next few days!

But this was just the problem. We had planned on doing more hiking the next couple of days. In fact, we were going to climb Chimney Rock and Grandfather Mountain the very next day. I knew my family, who must all be part mountain goat, would be very disappointed if we skipped these two activities. I didn't want to ruin their day with my out-of-whack, burned-to-a-crisp right ankle! Although it seemed highly unlikely, I prayed that somehow I would be able to walk.

The next day when I woke up, I anticipated pain. How little faith I have! There WAS no pain!

Wait a minute! Hadn't I tortured my right foot to the extreme? And wasn't it still swollen? Shouldn't I be entitled to some misery? Maybe if I started walking on my foot. Yeah! That would do it! But to my astonishment, when I put my weight on my foot there was no pain! I was limping a bit, but it was hardly noticeable.

How could it be?

And this wasn't the end of the story. In order to not further injure my foot, God provided elevators and walking sticks so that I, along with my herd of mountain goats, was able to thoroughly enjoy both Grandfather Mountain and Chimney Rock. Praise be to God!

Then I remembered God's promise: "Those who hope in me will not be disappointed." (Isa 49:23 NIV)

Does this mean our suffering will be limited on earth? No. However what it means is that we, as followers of Christ, can revel in our pain!

"And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (Rom 5:2-5 NIV)

We know that no matter what, our pain will be temporary, and that eventually we will be rewarded with a pain-free existence in the Lord!

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Rev 21:4 NIV)

We have a lot to anticipate and to celebrate! Let's have a party! Everybody is invited! "Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find." (Matt 22:9 NIV)

Rob Chaffart

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