Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Living Through Suffering

It's a tough month for me. At sixteen years of age I started having problems with allergies. After a lot of tests it turned out I was allergic to most things that grow. (Well, let's just say the list is long.) I took the shots to desensitize me. It didn't help. At the age of twenty-six I was told I needed to live in air conditioning and forget any outside activity. Later, I went to another doctor who started a new round of shots and told me I was "mostly" cured.

I've lived with my allergies for forty years. For six to eight months every Spring I suffer. And, for forty years I've asked God to heal me. I've faithfully trusted God to heal me on his time frame. I've considered the possibility that God has left me with the allergies so that, like Paul, I can declare that God's grace is sufficient.

This week I lost it. It's been a particularly bad week for me. My allergies have been at their worst. One night this week I couldn't breathe. My medication didn't seem to be working. And, because I couldn't breathe, I couldn't sleep.

So, I spent my sleep hours trying to breathe and wipe my nose. In between I prayed. No, I begged. I pleaded. I asked God why. I reminded God I had trusted him. That I had given my life to ministry for him. Then I offered an ultimatum. I told God I wanted him to either heal me or take me home.

The next morning I was still on this earth and still suffering. I made an appointment to see the doctor, who gave me a shot and prescribed a new medication. Things are better, but I'm still not healed.

That means I'm a little calmer in my prayers now. I'm still reminding God that I've suffered with these allergies for forty years and that I want to be healed. And yes, I'd rather be home with him than to suffer with the discomfort of my allergies.

Here's the thing that strikes me most. I was hurting and angry. Yet, I knew (and know) that God still loves me. My life is in his hands.

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