Updated: Sep 12, 2020
I never really thought I would be back here again. Ever. But here I am. Suffering. Affliction. Pain. Doctors not knowing. Being called unique.
It has been since February that this has been going on, with more of a problem since April. And this has been going on in middle of a national, let alone global, pandemic.
On the one hand, being down during stay-at-home orders has been pretty good timing. We are not going anywhere, anyway. On the other hand, I sure would like to be working in our garden, going on nice walks, doing home projects.
It did not really occur to me that I was in a time of affliction until April. I had injured myself and I was going to be ok. Right? Most people are ok after they walk too much at Disneyland. But, the day came when my family sat me down and talked turkey with me. We were here again. It was time to hunker down and do the suffering thing.
Did you know that suffering is a thing that you have to get into a pattern with? When one of the family is down, the others take over that person’s chores. So, I no longer do laundry, cooking, cleaning, gardening, anything. My family has stepped up – again.
My job – heal my feet. And do you know what? This is a full time job. I spend more time taking care of my feet than I thought possible. Physical therapy. Arranging and going to doctor appointments – which have led to nowhere. So it was pointless to even go. Putting on boots – you know, the nice clunky black ones. On. Both. Feet. Propping them up above my heart all the time. Ice baths. Did you know that one could get used to plunging one’s feet into freezing cold water? Over and over again? One can. Or, the constant pain and agony. I can remember days on end of sheer pain. And trying to deal with it. No over-the-counter pain meds work and I am not going the other route. I use an infrared device as well five times a week, and should begin to see results here in just a few weeks. I also have figured out that I can dangle my feet over the edge of a tall chair, or lots of cushions. This has been the best help for me. My feet dangle and do not touch anything.
The latest in this journey was purple feet. One of my roles in this job is to tape my feet with KT tape. My physical therapist suggested an octopus style to reduce inflammation, and it has been helpful. I fan out the tape into tentacles over the swelling on my feet. I had bought a nonlatex kind and was doing great. I ran out, couldn’t find that tape and bought a regular brand. Big mistake. I could not figure out why my feet were getting more and numb and turning purple. I even reached out to my doctors. But to no avail. They did not answer me at all, and I was stuck. One night last week, I was up with them. Oh, losing sleep has become a regular occurrence with these things. I felt impressed by God to remove the tape. So, I did. In the morning, I was talking to my husband John and we both came to the conclusion that it was probably the latex in the tape that was causing me problems. No more numbness and no more purple since I took it off.
That was a lot to explain to get to this point.
The last visit I had at the doctors was to have cortisone injections. Two doctors agreed this would be the next step. To have two doctors agree was a first, so I reluctantly agreed. We went, but the one surgeon said he did not think it would work, even though the week before he was suggesting it. Do injections, get more options for further treatment. It was the further treatment I was looking at. But. We left without getting them.
The night before our family was reading about Esther. God is all over that book, all over His people, but His Name is never mentioned in this book, let alone any mentioned activity.
And yet, He led her and His people in great victory. His SOVEREIGN plan unfolds in the very pages of this book. We prayed that night and asked God to show us His SOVEREIGN plan at the doctor’s the next day. I even shook my youngest daughter’s hand saying that even if it was at the last minute, I would walk away.
You can better believe that that handshake was in my mind when the doctor was reluctant. He had received a call from his wife, his father had just died, and he was in the middle of a family crisis. Poor guy. He wanted us to stay, but he was obviously distracted. It was at this point when he had advised us that he did not want to add more problems to my feet, but he was willing to give the cortisone if I still wanted it. I took the out. I saw God clearly step into that room and give us a pause. We walked out, and let the doctor go in his grief.
Now I had a dilemma. I was beyond 3 doctors. Nothing was available for me here in our small area. But God. He had not abandoned me, just like He had not abandoned Esther. That week, God told me that He would take over my care. He would be the residing doctor. This was not necessarily new, but it was new in the sense that God was calling the medical shots. No more doctors. And trust me, they have abandoned ship, anyway.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake. Psalm 23:3
Lead. Guide. Follow. Come.
These words are my prescription. God will lead. God will guide. I need to follow. I need to come.
It’s that word GUIDE that was hit home that week. God will guide. He guided Esther in the many decisions she made in that Persian kingdom. And her people – God’s people. God guided Abram to sacrifice his son on the altar, but also in this same story provided the sacrifice for this offering. God guided the shepherds to the baby Jesus as well as the kings from the East to Bethlehem where Jesus was with His family. So, if God is the same
yesterday, today and forever, He is the same right now. He is guiding me.
If Your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. Psalm 119:92
This verse was brought to my attention today. And it says it all. Do you want to know a secret? God’s law has become my delight. I spend a lot of time in it. I hang on to His Words and use them as my guide for daily living. And it has become even more so since my afflictions began in 2013.
About 15 years ago we were part of a Bible Study with a woman in her mid-60’s. She is very knowledgeable about the Bible and we were taking a class with her about the timeline of Jesus. She had it mapped out, detail after detail. It was amazing. And she remarked that she had not always been that way with her study of God’s Word. She had vowed about 20 years prior to become a woman of the Word. And she did. When I heard that, it too become a passion of mine. So, I have set out to really study God’s Word. And keep it in order in my head. And that comes by memorizing too. Not easy, but I plug away at it.
If I delight myself in His Word, then I am not delighting in my circumstances. (Or delighting in my grumbling and complaining.) Where I put my focus, is where I put my delight. And let me tell you, it is hard not to focus on screaming feet. My whole life filters through my feet. But, in this dying to self, and letting God’s will be done, my focus HAS to be on Him, the delight of my heart.
And when I sit back at the end of the day, I can marvel at His sovereignty in my life, knowing that He is in charge, He is allowing these things in my life. And the end result is growth and God is always more concerned about that than my comfort. Always. I may see Him working covertly, and obviously, or I may not see Him. As in the every day. All day. But, I can rest assured that He IS working and working to guide me, lead me, move on my behalf as well as entire humanity. It is His character to do this. And He is the same all the time.
My original post ended here. But, as God works, He led me to a verse that I had underlined and dated, twice.
Although the LORD gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the walk, walk in it." Isaiah 30:20-21
This verse has dates of February 10, 2015 and November 11, 2017. I added August 24, 2020. If you remember what Jesus calls Himself in the New Testament - "I am the bread of Life" John 6:35 as well as "But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst." John 4:14
In other words, these afflictions are Jesus. God is giving me more of Himself in the form of afflictions. That does not smack of a loving God, but He is. I have prayed so many times in the last 10 years for more of Jesus, and He has seen fit to give me more of Himself through the bread of adversity and the water of affliction. And, as I said above, God is my physician. He is the One prescribing the treatment plan and the course of action. Doesn't this verse state it so beautifully? My Teacher will be hidden no more. I will be on a beautiful path and God Himself will whisper which way to go.
The rub? I must follow. I HAVE to obey Him. If I want more of Him, then I have to drink the bread and water that He is holding out for me. He has the condition of my heart first and foremost in His mind. No my comfort. Remember? He is guiding me in shaping my attitude to be more like Christ, His Son (Philippians 2:5). If I want more of Jesus, I have to die to what I think would satisfy me and obey what God has planned for me.
I can trust Him. He is trustworthy. He is faithful. He is good. He is worthy. I can wholly lean on Him.
Praise God that He is on the throne.