"You think you have been laid aside by illness, but you haven't. You've been called aside for stillness."
Jill Briscoe "There's a Snake in my Garden"
I just finished reading Briscoe's book and this quote was ringing though my ears the whole time I was reading it. I needed to explore it some more because it spoke straight to my spirit. So here goes.
When I first realized I had an injury I was doing everything I could to figure out what was going on and how quickly I could get it fixed. Now that I have been suffering for one month shy of three and a half years, I look at things very differently. I never saw myself as someone who would have a long-term affliction. Well, I have Celiac disease which means I can't have gluten, and an host of other significant food allergies, but I have really come to grips with them. At home, I forget that I (my children have it too, John eats this way to support us) even have Celiac. It has become so second nature to us. We cook and shop accordingly and really don't suffer. Going out to eat is a different story, but we do not do that very often. Which my husband likes for budget reasons. And we have four gourmet cooks in the house - why go out? Back to this affliction...I do suffer, my life is forever changed and I don't know what's wrong. The doctors are really only guessing. At what point do I stop trying? I went to weeks ago to an orthopedist for the first time. He diagnosed me with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Type 2. That's a problem that I didn't even know existed. So I went home and did a ton of research. I now know what it is. And he wants to treat it with medication. I am very leery of taking medication and told him so. His comment? "I'm throwing you a life preserver and you are not willing to take it." Ouch. What do I do with that?
Well, a lot of praying. And I have done more research and asked around. I was even with my other doctor today and asked her opinion about it. I don't believe I have CRPS but rather intercostal muscle strain or neuralgia, but how could I tell my doctor he was wrong? She didn't have an answer to that. And I asked her about the medication. She was amazing and took the time to look up everything she could for that drug for me. And I had a lot of questions. She answered as best as she could. She recommended I give it a try. The problem with it is the side effects. And there's many. And scary ones. So, I have been laid aside with a problem that was diagnosed differently than what I believe I have, offered a drug that has serious side effects, and I'm still in agony.
How can I find Your peace in the midst of all this? How can I know what to do? How can I trust a doctor with a diagnosis that I think is wrong?
Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light. Jesus said these precious words in Matthew 11:28-30
So, yes. I'll come. I will come and sit at the feet of Jesus and wait. I will not move until He tells me to move. I will stop trying to fix it and start trying to sit aside. I have said this so many times before, but I guess I need to hear it again, I need to just trust God and stop trying to figure everything out. I can trust Him. I can truly find rest for my soul in Him.
So how does this fit into "Called Aside?" Well, for one it's perspective. I can look at this affliction as something that was given to me as punishment, discipline or a calling. As for the first two, I was not off the path, wandering away. I was seeking God. I really was walking the walk and trusting Him. I know (and have known, really) that this affliction is for me to be called aside. I can honestly say I am not the same person I was. I rely more on Jesus. I love His Word more than ever. I have an ever-increasing hunger for His Word. I have a desire to know God more intimately than I did. I love to pray. And I spend a lot of time doing that. I love reading about heroes of the faith. Do you see where this is going? I'm writing a blog that I NEVER would have done before. I'm watercoloring and enjoying it. I am learning to be still and to tune my ears to the still small voice. So, to put it in black and white - the purpose of my affliction was and is a call to draw me closer to Jesus and to know Him more. And to grow in my walk with Him.
Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
I have stated this before and am stating it now, whether I want to believe it or not, this affliction is directly from the hand of God. It was not meant to punish me nor even discipline me, as if I had done something wrong. This suffering was and is for me to be called aside to learn from Jesus and to allow Him to complete the work He started. What work, you ask? The work to be more like Jesus. It's always going to be the same answer to that question. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, Philippians 2:5. God is more concerned about my heart than my pain, as harsh as that sounds. And it does sound harsh in black and white. But God is beyond black and white. He does not view suffering like I do. Suffering does bring good. Look at a baby being born - mother and baby are in anguish. But a newborn is incredible. A caterpillar changing into a gorgeous butterfly. A baby learning to walk. A young student learning to drive. A child learning to read. An adult learning to read. A soul finally repenting and receiving the free gift of salvation. In each of these situations there is some level of suffering. But the outcome is glorious. Don't you see, our suffering is evidence of God doing a work in our lives. I can fight all I want and never learn, or I can submit and say, "Not my will, but Thine be done."
So easy to say, but with God's mercy, the true cry of my heart.
Thy will be done, O YAHWEH