For Lord’s Day, July 28, 2013
At our Session meeting this week, Elder Paul Huffmaster shared some things God taught him during his six-week stay in bed with terrible back pain. I asked him to write what follows to share with you as this week’s e-devotion. I think it will help anyone who is going through great pain and suffering.
When my back went out it was excruciatingly painful. So much so that even the pain medication did not remove the pain. I asked the doctor for stronger meds, but he said that I was taking the strongest medication available so the next thing would be pain medication through an IV. He told me the pain medications were working, but my level of pain was so high that it could not be stopped. I just had to bear with it. That wasn’t comforting at all.
Many nights, the pain lead to sleeplessness. One night in particular, the pain was so bad that I could not sleep or be relieved of the pain. I had taken the maximum limit on the pain medication, but to no avail. It was late, and everybody was asleep (except my darling wife and she was trying to sleep). It didn’t matter because no one could help me be relieved of this horrible pain. I could not stand up, sit up, or lay down to relieve the pain. I remember going into the living room lying on the floor on my back, my side, my stomach, curled in the fetal position, over the coffee table, on the edge of the sofa — but the pain never subsided.
I was crying because it hurt so bad and I felt so alone. Physically, no one was there with me, I was in pain and crying and the best I could do was pray “Lord please help me”. I began to talk with the Lord, I told Him, “I hate this and I am miserable, I’m exhausted, I would really like to be relieved of this pain or at least be able to sleep.” I told Him, “I’m sorry but right now I can’t see how this is good for me but I trust You that it must be good because You are allowing it to happen.”
I remembered Psalm 119:71 “It is good for me that I have been afflicted: that I might learn thy statutes”. The psalmist said that it was good that he had been afflicted so I knew that this affliction must be for my good. I remember thinking, “Lord thank You for bringing Your word to my mind.” I began to praise Him for His Word and then I began to say from memory Psalm 23 …
The next thing I remember is waking up in the morning. I had fallen asleep while reciting Psalm 23. The Lord my Shepherd had fulfilled Psalm 23 in my situation at that moment. He had made me lie down and sleep. He was my refuge and strength, a very
present help in trouble (Psalm 46:10).
As I lay in bed the next day I thought to myself, “I am so glad that God has made Himself known to me. Because what would I do without Him?” I thought of the verse in Matthew 16:26: “For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” I remembered that in that previous night I was not thinking about wealth, money, my house, my job, or anything thing else except how much pain I was suffering and how I wanted and needed relief.
Often, when we are healthy and things are going good, we have a tendency to think that we will always be healthy and we don’t think much about it. But in reality, anything can be taken from us at any moment. And all the things that we think are so important turn out to be nothing — or at least nothing that can help us in our time of need. All these things, whatever they are, can’t help us. In reality, only God can help us in our situation. Only He can: not family, not friends, not fame, not money, not our dream job, not a big, bigger or the biggest of houses. None of this will profit us in this life or in the the life to come. We tend to forget that at any moment the smallest of things, even an unseen thing, can take us out and put us flat on our backs or worse.
Psalm 4:8 ” I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou LORD only makest me dwell in safety.” We are only safe when we are safe in the Lord.
I feel better now, and I praise the Lord for His healing me and relieving me of the pain. I also thank you for all of your prayers God used to bring me much comfort. It is nice to know that people are praying for you.
I can confess with the psalmist, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted: that I might learn thy statutes”.