Friday, December 9, 2016

Fearing Pain And Who It Points Us To

I can't say I enjoyed having the basal cell carcinoma scraped off and cauterized on my forearm for ten minutes yesterday... especially the smell of burning flesh. I didn't exactly feel pain, but I felt warmth. I knew the doctor was burning my skin, and that totally grossed me out, even without the smell and wisps of smoke. A new-fangled way to get rid of minor skin cancers. I didn't love it. Still, it beats an operation with a scalpel and stitches. Yay modern medicine!

Nonetheless, I felt sorry for myself. Enough already with the medical traumas to my body. And did I really need to be allergic to the bandage so that I itch on top of everything else?

It was not a full day of bad happenings. I finished the final edit of my new book, Unlikely Redemption. The cover is complete. The manuscript is with the formatter. I will make my Christmas deadline. The book will be available for Christmas gifts. In fact, it should be out within a week!

(HINT: clean read, inspiring, funny, and thought provoking book for the avid reader -- makes a great Christmas gift. Particularly one like this with a strong Christian message. Appropriate for all ages from about ten years old and up. Where else will you read about a dolphin/horse/dog detective team solving a mystery at the same time as deep truths of faith, forgiveness,  and redemption are explored?)

This is Book 2 in the Unlikely Friends series. If you want Book 1, just click HERE to order. Then you will be up to speed and all set for Book 2.

As I submitted my files to the publisher, I was amazed. Despite all the medical ickiness I have endured this year, this is the second book I have put out in four months. I am happy about that! I am not really quite sure how I managed. God was probably supernaturally writing chapters while I wasn't looking.

Meanwhile, I am busily editing the book of my journey with breast cancer. That should be out early next year as well.

God is so faithful. Despite all the health struggles, He has given me strength to carry on with life, and I have missed very few Mondays as a volunteer speaking for the unborn on the sidewalks of the southeast's busiest abortion center.

That is not to say that I haven't had my ups and downs. For example, yesterday when my Physical Therapist mentioned "dry needling" again in our therapy session for my latest malady, a frozen shoulder, I started crying. Crying! I am sure she was mentally rolling her eyes and calling me a big fat baby inside her head.

"What are you afraid of?" she asked.
"Pain," I said, weeping.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1, verses 4 and 6, “God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things.”

According to Biblical scholars, this is called "redemptive suffering". Redemptive suffering is when you go through a problem or a pain for the benefit of others. God never wastes our pain. It always can be used for His good purpose. I HATE pain, and have had a good bit of it over this past year, but it is true that no one who is suffering seeks solace from someone who has not suffered.  I ran to others who had endured breast cancer when I wanted advice on how to deal with the issues of my breast cancer. Now I have a good backlog of suffering to help others! Lucky me!

Ultimately, our pain points us directly to Jesus. If anyone knows the problem of pain, it is Jesus. If we are suffering, there is no better empathetic being to approach than Jesus. No one understands the nature of redemptive suffering more than Jesus.

It is why Cities4life points abortion-minded mamas to Jesus to encourage them to choose life instead. If anyone understands a bleak situation, it is Jesus.

One of those mamas sent me a picture by text message yesterday, right after my harrowing ordeal at the doctor's office. It reminded me that suffering can lead to immense joy if we don't lose heart.

Maybe if I keep this thought in my heart, I will not fear pain so much.

Psalm 41:3

The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.

The night racks my bones, and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

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