GP: Going to the Hospital

I am thrilled to have Jon back for another guest post. He emailed the post to me with the subject line "Going to the Hospital", I did a double-take, and thought helpful things like, "You think email is really the best way to drop that information on me? Not even a text?!" Anyway, enjoy his post and be sure to show him some comment love.

 

 

I’ve been to the hospital before.  Before I went, I had a visit with the friendly surgeon. During the pre-op visit, he said, “You have a hernia.”  I said, “I know.  I’ve known since my very first physical.” 

“We need to fix it.”

“It’s not causing me a problem.”

“It will.”

No one really wants to go to the hospital.  If you have to pick your favorite spot, your vacation location, the place you want to spend your free time in, it would not be the hospital. 

If something is wrong with you, say a sharp pain in your gut, you go to the Doctor.  Based on your description of symptoms, he puts his finger someplace and asks, “Does that hurt?”  After you regain your composure and your breath you gasp, “Yes,”  (The Doctor probably already knew that based on your extended moan and red face, but he still has to ask. )

“Appendix. We’re gonna have to fix that.” This is code for a hospital visit.  Now you as the patient can refuse, but you consider the consequences you’ll probably decide to take the Doctor’s advice and you voluntarily go to the hospital for surgery. 

The hospital staff makes you feel welcome, treats you very nicely, and tries to make you feel comfortable as they tell you to strip and put on this airy robe that doesn’t cover your backside.  You don’t worry because they’re professionals, right?  This is their living. 

You get some kind of anesthetic to make the pain bearable so the Doctor can cut into your insides and fix what’s wrong.  It can be embarrassing, painful, difficult and expensive.  Recovery can take weeks or even months. However, the results speak for themselves. With the removal of the infected appendix, you continue to live. 

 

We so often think of going to Church for a good, uplifting word, for encouragement for the rest of the week, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, Church should be more like a hospital for sinners.  We are infected with sin, and through the message, the readings, the testimonies, we should expect God to put his finger somewhere in our lives and say, “Does that hurt?”   

Once we’ve been diagnosed, we have a decision to make.  Will we put on the gown and let the Lord work?  It can be embarrassing, uncomfortable, and downright painful to remove a sin that is a part of our lives.  On the other hand, we can walk away and let the problem continue to fester. 

It makes me think of the instance in John 5 where Jesus asks the sick man at the Pool of Bethesda, “Do you wish to be healthy?”  In stead of the obvious, “YES! I want to be healthy,” the man said he didn’t have any helpers and those around him were aggravating his problem. 

The next time you’re in church, when the “Doctor” finds the “pain” and asks if you want to be “healthy”, say “YES!” and endure procedure of restoration.  At the moment it won’t be pleasant, but it will definitely be worth it later.  

 

Jon and I have been married almost 20 years. He is a diligent Bible student and teacher. He'd like to be Ravi Zacharias when he grows up.

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What Job Taught My Characters

 

Comforting touch(I'm working on the edits for Indemnity, so I really appreciate your patience and understanding as I offer a repost. Thank you!)
 
Over the course of my books, I put my characters in some difficult spots. That's good for them and good for the readers. However, then I have to come along and put some wise resolution for that character to discover, drawn on or hear from someone else. I strive for a fresh insight, for practical wisdom, something useful, not just holy-sounding. This is always when the writing gets very humbling because this is where God takes over.
 
In one situation, I had a character go back to Job. (I had just finished reading Job myself, so it was fresh in my mind.) The character said although the Lord restored all that Job had, God never took the pain of the loss away. Yesterday, it also occurred to me that the restoration took years. Job didn't wake up the next morning *poof* with his seven new sons and three new daughters.
 
So here are two things I learned-
Pain fades to the point where it doesn't consume our lives, but it doesn't necessarily ever go away. At least not in this life. Sometimes we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves or others about how and when we should be 'over' something. Each situation is unique and intensely personal. Grant yourself (or someone else) the grace to walk through it rather than adding the pressure of 'should'. Truth is, God may doing things through the loss that we are completely unaware of, as was Job's case. Job never knew the full story behind all his suffering.
 
Second, restoration takes time and it may mean traveling over some ground we've already covered. Job had already done diapers and toddlers and loose teeth and adolescence but he had to go through it all again. It's worth it. The last chapter of Job says, "The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than the beginning."
 
What have you learned from Job?
 
 

 

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Time for Pain and for Restoration

Experience Teaches Only The Teachable
Image by stage88 via Flickr

Over the course of my books, I put my characters in some difficult spots. That’s good for the plot and good for the readers. However, then I have to come along and put some wise resolution for that character to discover, drawn on or hear from someone else to get them out of that pickle. I strive for a fresh insight, for practical wisdom, something useful not just holy-sounding. This is  where the writing gets very humbling because this is where God takes over.
In one situation, I had a character go back to Job. (I just finished reading Job, so it’s fresh in my mind.) The character said although the Lord restored all that Job had, God never took the pain of the loss away. Yesterday, it also occurred to me that the restoration took years. Job didn’t wake up the next morning *poof* with his seven new sons and three new daughters.
So here are two principles about pain or loss (I wish I’d thought of them, but they’re God’s)- Pain fades to the point where it doesn’t consume our lives, but it doesn’t necessarily ever go away. At least not in this life. Sometimes we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves or others about how and when we should be ‘over’ something. Each situation is unique and intensely personal. Grant yourself (or someone else) the grace to walk through it rather than add the pressure of ‘should’. Truth is, God may doing things through the loss that we are completely unaware of- as was Job’s case. Job never knew the full story behind all his suffering.
Second, restoration takes time and it may mean traveling over some ground we’ve already covered. Job had done diapers and toddlers and loose teeth and adolescence with his kids, but he had to go through it all again. In the end, it’s worth it. The last chapter of Job says, “The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than the beginning.”

Pain, suffering and sorrow are a fact of life, but thank God through Jesus Christ, they are only a fact of THIS life. (John 16:33)

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Intervening in Suffering

Healing
Image by Dare*2*Dream via Flickr

My Wednesday morning Bible study group began meeting again and we picked up with Psalms 38-40. In Psalm 38, David is suffering and v.11 describes how his friends and family stand off, unwilling to walk through the valley with him. His enemies seize on the opportunity to step up their attacks on him, and in v. 17 he says, “I am ready to fall.”
While reading and discussing the psalm, I asked how do we as the church, how do I as an individual, respond to people in crisis? I read a couple of books this week (which I’ll discuss more tomorrow), and even though they were fictional, they point out the truth that we are surrounded by hurting people. Most folks hide it, and most of them have no idea what to do or where to turn while we sit on the answer. It’s hard and it’s messy getting involved in the lives of others. Sometimes, it’s frustrating and thankless, but it’s also an opportunity like no other. By stepping in to help the hurting, we get to have a part in redeeming that pain and suffering.
I’ve been on both sides of a crisis, and I know how difficult it can be to open up and admit that things are out of control. I’ve had that trust violated, and in some ways that pain is worse. I’ve also had grace and mercy showered on me. In several instances, I can trace the origin of healing back to the point of seeking help. I take it as a high honor to be invited into someone’s pain. To be trusted that deeply is almost like entering holy ground.
God, help me not stand back, but be an agent of Your grace and compassion.

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