Friday, January 27, 2017

The Eternal Perspective on Suffering

Mom got booted from the ICU. Too many dying people yesterday and Mom is well on the road to recovery. They needed her ICU bed. She was moved back to the orthopedic floor, and will likely be discharged to a rehab facility this morning. I toured the facility yesterday and my heart was at peace. Mom will be happy here.
Blessedly, she remembers nothing of the horror of the abusive nurse or the incompetence that caused her so much pain. She is happy, lucid, and resting in a huge room meant for two patients but specially chosen for her as the only occupant. She faces a window, and can see the snow drifting down. A recliner is beside her where my sister Holly slept with her last night. They watched Jeopardy together and Mom was shouting out the answers. The hospital-induced dementia seems to have vanished and Mom is home in her brain again. Praise God.

She was sad when she realized she would be sleeping in a lovely rehab room without Dad. But he will only be 8 minutes away, and I told her he would spend every day with her, and that if she worked really hard, they anticipate only 4-6 weeks in rehab, and then she can return home.

I told her I would be touring the facility that afternoon, and report back. It had to pass my test for my dear mama to go there. I planned to interview the Physical Therapist as well. (And did. He is wonderful.)

"Oh!" Mom said, "Will you get the tour with Angela?"
I looked at Mom in shock. Remember, she had been pretty out of her head crazy off and on for a week from the trauma and drugs. She had never been to this facility, and how could she know I was indeed touring the facility with Angela?

"Yes! How did you know that?"
"Angela used to work at our place. She changed jobs. I was even at her going-away party. I like Angela."
Her whole demeanor changed. A friend would be at the new place.

I know this has all been a horrific experience for Mom, and for us, yet there have been little nuggets of joy. Kind competent nurses to erase the horror of the abusive one. Amnesia of the most terrible moments. A friend in her new home for 6 weeks. A view of her beloved mountains out of her rehab room window.

God NEVER leaves us without hope or all alone. I have no doubt Jesus wept as we wept. It is tempting to ask why didn't He intervene so there would be no need for weeping? In the Bible when his friend Lazarus died, that is exactly what Lazarus' sister Mary asked, "Lord, if you had been here, our brother would not have died."

In other words: where were you in our moment of greatest need, Lord?

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” (John:11)

See? Jesus in essence is responding that our struggles and grief is sometimes (if not always) used by God to show something very important of an eternal nature. Jesus uses the death and rising again of Lazarus so that many will believe in Him- the one who will conquer death for all eternity.

I assure you, watching the suffering of those you love is impossibly hard. However, I trust that God's purposes even in this will be realized and will be infinitely good.

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