Monday, September 12, 2016

Our Present Sufferings

Golfing in Paradise, Pastel, 20x26

Great. A new malady. It is the final week of radiation. Each week has had an exciting new challenge including radiation fear, radiation rash, folliculitis, broken rib, inner elbow rash, and now for week six: (drum roll please) Golfer's Vasculitis!

This is particularly interesting since I don't golf. Apparently golfing is not required to get Golfer's Vasculitis. I went on a 9-mile walk, and noticed itchy feet about half way through the walk. When I got home and took off my shoes, the tops and soles of my feet had a splotchy, itchy red rash all over them. Here is what an internet site had to say about Golfer's Vasculitis:
The rash is more common in people over 50. Most walkers can't pinpoint anything new they have used that may be causing a reaction. And since so many walkers have it, they couldn't all have contacted the same irritant. The source is simply heat and age--your leg blood vessels getting irritated from the heat.(

Within a couple of hours, the itching was gone, and the rash was still visible, but flattened and less red. More internet research showed that while many radiologists deny it, some radiation patients get rashes outside the radiated area. Perhaps the feet thing is Golfer's Vasculitis, or maybe not. I am pretty good at self-diagnosis. However, I do find it curious that at one internet cancer chat site,  several cancer patients complained of strange rashes outside the radiation zone. Most said their doctors said it could not have been the radiation causing it. HMMMMM.

I started with a rash in the radiated area, but then got an itchy rash inside my elbows, then the top of my thighs, then my feet, and even a small spot on my neck. The only new thing in my environment is the radiation. I am convinced the radiation has caused all this, as are many radiation patients online. 

I am so glad I am almost done with radiation. These seemingly unconnected, mysterious maladies do all point to one thing we know to be true. This world is broken. All creation groans with the bondage to decay.  We are all covered with the rash of sin and its effects. Many of us look around and wonder what is the cause of all this horror and grief that dogs the world. Like my rash, it keeps popping up in new ways.

Charles Spurgeon described the sickness of sin in his sermon, A Caution for Sin-Sick Souls in this way:

Ephraim felt his sickness but he did not know the radical disease that lurked with-in. He saw the local ailment, but was ignorant of the organic derangement of his very vitals. He only perceived the symptoms!  He  was  uneasy,  he  felt  pain,  but  the  discovery  did  not  go  deep  enough  to  show  him  that  he  was  actually  dead  in  trespasses and sins. “He saw his sickness and Judah saw his wound.”
 Yes, he saw his wound—it smarted and, therefore, his eyes were drawn to the spot. But he did not know how deep it was. He did not know that it had pierced to the heart, that it was, in fact, a death-blow—that the whole head was sick, that the whole heart was faint and that, from the crown of the head even to the sole of the foot, it was all wounds, bruises and putrefying, festering sores! There was but a partial discovery of his lost estate. 

The good news: we will be set free. There is hope for this ailment that covers us head to foot, but it will not be found on Earth.

In Romans 8, two things are groaning: all creation, and all of us with wordless groans. We are all waiting in anticipation of the redemption of our bodies. We hope, and wait patiently, (uh...ok...), while the Spirit of God helps us, searches our hearts, and then intercedes for us in accordance to God's will. We hope for what we do not yet have, but one day we will. We will be made new, and whole, without blemish or sin, or inexplicable rashes. This makes me think I just might endure the final week of radiation.

Romans 8:18-27
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

2 Corinthians 4:17 

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

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