Suffering Much at the Hands of the Physicians

by Mike Ratliff

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in. (Psalms 107:1-7 ESV)

I have been experiencing some “discomfort” in my nether regions for the past year or so. Sometimes it feels as if the parts within my lower abdomen want out and at other times it just burns. Most of the time it is just uncomfortable to sit on hard surfaces. Before I flew to Seattle a few months ago my doctor gave me a prescription for some antibiotics. They helped a lot, but now the pain is back. I went back to the doctor today after work. He poked and prodded in places we will not discuss here. He felt all around my abdomen and had some blood drawn for a PSA test. Then he sent me to Radiology in a different part of the Hospital for a CAT Scan.

I read the form as I walked over there. They were to look specifically to see if I had Divertriculitus. I had to drink some “stuff” then wait for an hour and half for the CAT Scan. I think the waiting is the worst part. They finally came and got me. I had to partially disrobe and lie on a table in front of a big machine that looked like a big white doughnut. The worst part of this for me was that the technician/nurse could not get the I/V started and had to keep doing it over and over. They couldn’t find a good vein on my right arm so they used the same one they drew blood from earlier. My left arm now looks like a pincushion. The CAT Scan was painless, but the I/V had some “stuff” in it that made me feel very weird. My body felt like hot water was running through it and it was as if i had something metallic in my mouth. Very strange sensation.

When this was over I went back to the waiting area. It is now about 7:30pm. The instructions from my doctor was that I was to wait for the Radiologist to call him or his on call before I went home. This took another hour or so. The waiting is excruciating. Then my doctor’s associate called in and I talked with her. They found no trace of Divertriculitus. So, now what?

I suppose there are more doctor visits and tests coming and each will humble me that much more. Wait a minute! Do you think that this could possibly be some of that “pruning” we have been discussing here? I would be the first to admit that I am in desperate need of God’s handiwork in my sanctification. In light of that, today’s devotional from Charles Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning really hit home with me during my prayer time before going to work today.

Changeful experience often leads the anxious believer to enquire “Why is it thus with me?” I looked for light, but lo, darkness came; for peace, but behold trouble. I said in my heart, my mountain standeth firm, I shall never be moved. Lord, thou dost hide Thy face, and I am troubled. It was but yesterday that I could read my title clear; to-day my evidences are bedimmed, and my hopes are clouded. Yesterday I could climb to Pisgah’s top, and view the landscape o’er, and rejoice with confidence in my future inheritance; to-day, my spirit has no hopes, but many fears; no joys, but much distress. Is this part of God’s plan with me? Can this be the way in which God would bring me to heaven? Yes, it is even so. The eclipse of your faith, the darkness of your mind, the fainting of your hope, all these things are but parts of God’s method of making you ripe for the great inheritance upon which you shall soon enter. These trials are for the testing and strengthening of your faith-they are waves that wash you further upon the rock-they are winds which waft your ship the more swiftly towards the desired haven. According to David’s words, so it might be said of you, “so He bringeth them to their desired haven.” By honour and dishonour, by evil report and by good report, by plenty and by poverty, by joy and by distress, by persecution and by peace, by all these things is the life of your souls maintained, and by each of these are you helped on your way. Oh, think not, believer, that your sorrows are out of God’s plan; they are necessary parts of it. “We must, through much tribulation, enter the kingdom.”1 Learn, then, even to “count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.”2

“O let my trembling soul be still,
And wait Thy wise, Thy holy will!
I cannot, Lord, Thy purpose see,
Yet all is well since ruled by Thee.”

1Acts 14:22 2James 1:2

My brethren, as I sat in that waiting room awaiting those test results, there was a voice trying to discourage me. However, it gained no foothold here. I found myself rejoicing through the whole thing and responding to the doctors, nurses, and technicians there within that joy. I had complete peace the whole time. I have been asking God for wisdom, discernment, joy, and peace every day for quite some time now. How do we become wise and discerning in this time of deception? How do we become joyful and peaceful when there are things going on in our lives that seem to be tearing us apart? God takes us through these things in order to humble us so our faith will be made strong. This is His method of making us ripe for the great inheritance upon which we shall all soon enter. When we go through our trials in joy with our faith being exercised fully then we posses our treasure both now in our hearts and we build up our treasure in Heaven.


34 thoughts on “Suffering Much at the Hands of the Physicians

  1. I spent two weeks in December 2006 in the hospital with diverticulosis. Twice I was blue lighted with my blood pressure at 70/40 and falling. Many, many tests and they could not find the source. The fifth day I had a heart attack as well because my hemogolben was so low my heart could not keep up.

    They made my blood radioactive and did scans, etc, etc.. Nine pints of blood later (both arms going at once) and with people praying my bleeding stopped miraculously. I take blood thinner and am diabetic so those thing hindered me the entire time. This post was written with that experience in mind.


  2. BTW Mike, may God do what only He can do in your physical body. David Livingston took severly ill one day in the jungles of Africa. He asked that they carry him to his home. When they carried him into his room he requested them to place him on his knees and leave.

    As they left his room they heard him begin to pray and praise God. A half hour later someone came to see him, and they peeked around the corner and saw him still kneeling. They decided to wait, and after another half hour they went in to tell him someone was here to see him. As they touched his shoulder Livingston slid over to the floor.

    He was dead and he had been escorted into glory straight from the prayer closet. Wow. Remain fearless and faithful, Mike, because the sufferings of this present world are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us!


  3. Oh, Mike! I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I have Crohn’s and went through months of tests before being finally diagnosed. I will be praying that they diagnose you sooner, and with something easy to treat.

    I’m currently facing some issues with my disease and have to go see a specialist next Tuesday — and ultimately possible surgery. Thank you for the encouragement I read in this post, because I was faltering a bit with discouragement. You’ve reminded me of His sovereignty in every trial.


  4. Thanks for that Rick. You know, I reflected a lot on these things as I sat and waited or as I was laying on that bed being filled with radioactive “stuff.” This will all be over soon and I will be with my Lord. This is just momentary light affliction. Eternity is forever so why not go through these things with our eyes on Christ rejoicing as He perfects us. May bitterness, resentment, and despair be far from me!


  5. Wow Mike. We are holding you up in prayer. Luann was in the hospital for a week with divertic. and she has major ‘pockets’ in her. She can relate to your testing. She went through all of that. Me, I have the worst of RSD as you know called CRPS which is permanent nerve damage to my foot and leg. Sometimes I think all of us are broken physically but spiritually………..our Lord has us strong in Him. I guess we could all say it fun growing older in the Lord, but not so growing older physically here! Let us all know how the ‘testing’ goes. The trials and tribulations we have are to be counted all joy. Of course the world sees that as total insanity, but He knows what He’s doing.


  6. Paul and Luann,

    Thanks for the prayers guys!! This my understanding as well. I think a lot of my neck and leg pain is arthritis due to all of the fun athletic things I used to do. 🙂 However, this stuff is just downright annoying. I would like to have it under control, but you are right, God knows what He is doing. To Him be the glory!!

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  7. I found your account of the ordeal that your going through very inspiring, especially since every one of us will face similar experiences, perhaps many times. If I may offer some practical advice – try introducing small amounts of fiber (wheat bran, flaxseed) into your diet gradually increasing the amount over time. This has always helped any GI problems I’ve ever had.


  8. “How are you doing my sister?”

    Surviving. Taking ibuprofen. 🙂

    Never been to a urologist. Doesn’t sound like fun to me either. Keeping you in prayer…


  9. Hi Mike,
    It’s been a long time, I have not been on the net much because of circumstances. I was checking in and read your blog and I will keep you in prayer. I have to have that test done yearly and when that is put in my veins my mouth tastes metallic and odd that it sounds a peanut butter taste lol. I will be checking in to see how things are going dear brother.



  10. Good to hear from you Cristina. Thanks for the prayers my sister. This aging thing is for the birds. The main redeeming qualities I see in it is grandchildren (soon) and each day is one day closer to being with my Lord.


  11. Travis is doing pretty good. He is now a Deacon in his church. I think he is going to be fine, but the tumor could come back. He is about ready to see if he can get his driver’s license unrestricted soon so he can drive. It sure has changed that family’s focus. God is good.


  12. Hi MIke,
    I agree this aging thing is for the birds, My sister and I were saying the other day how much more we talk about our aches and pains since we both past 50 lol .
    And yes the grand children can brighten up any day! And a big AMEN, the day we face the Lord, so much to look forward to, Mike. I am so glad to hear Travis is doing better, we just got to keep praying that the tumor will not come back. Travis and his wife have been real troopers throughout all of this, God Bless them. Take good care of yourself MIke.



  13. On top of coping with my own affliction, I am enduring some hurtful rejection from some family members. There are some individuals in my family who are predisposed at finding a reason to hate me, no matter how much I try to live at peace with them. I have not attended a single one of my niece’s basketball games because of the persecution from some of them. I have had to work a lot, but on top of that I am reluctant to go to some of her games because her side of the family was not very friendly with me years ago, when I tried to get to know them. I can’t force someone to like me, so I just go on having acquaintances with people who aren’t disposed to hating me without giving me a chance to get to know them. One of the individuals that hates me the most is my sister’s husband. For that reason, I don’t feel comfortable around him that much.

    I also have parents who don’t listen to anything I say. They gamble. they love telling dirty jokes, and they excuse themselves for their sinful lifestyle. My attempts to get them to repent are futile. They also call me names like, “grinch.” I heard them call me this to one another as I was around the corner in another room. This too is a painful experience. This is what happens when you don’t partake in the sinful habits that they hold dear. Just another example of what kind of persecution we will receive because we are led to repent, while the world excuses themselves for sin. Repentance is something that my family takes for granted. I guess that they want God to wait on them.

    A preacher in Florida told me that I was not fit for any kind of ministry because of the adversity which I was going through. I don’t know what Bible he was reading. I guess that He forgot that the Lord tries those He loves in some difficult circumstances. These are those “valleys” where we tend to doubt God. As we take a stand against sin, we will be labeled peculiar, Holier than thou, goody-goody, or what have you. Unrepentant family members will be predisposed to persecuting us for whatever reason they can. Our unfavorable circumstances can certainly cause us to doubt God.


  14. Mike,

    I pray that the Lord will use this situation in your life as an opportunity for you to reach others for Christ.

    May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ continue with you.



  15. Josh, Well looks like a lot of us are in the same boat with family members. Its part of the walk. We know now, but will really know then just how much He is worth all of what we go through and then some. It can be a lonely walk here sometimes. Thats why we need the true brothers and sisters in Christ to hang with. They are closer than your blood family. Count it all joy…………..


  16. With the move away from real food , the last hundred years or so has seen a sharp increase in cancers, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Back then, only 1 out of 8,000 gotten cancer. Today, it’s 1 out of 2.5. What happened? Pasteurization of milk, more cooked food, invention of vaccines, additives in food, non-food as food (cookies, cakes, cereals, sodas, gummi bears, etc), demonization of raw fats, and more doctors (people live longer when there are no doctors around.)

    You want to get rid of the arthritic pain, try the Primal Diet for a couple of days.


  17. Mike,

    You must be going through a lot now, but your spirit is uplifting and edifying, and certainly caues one to glorify the Lord. Please keep the joy as you walk on with the Lord.

    Heads or tails, the Lord’s own wins!

    With love from your brother,



  18. Although I am decidedly a-national, I want to ask the Lord to minister to all the wounded veterans and to bless those who attend to them and those who bring them the gospel. We should not forget them.


  19. “God takes us through these things in order to humble us so our faith will be made strong. This is His method of making us ripe for the great inheritance upon which we shall all soon enter. When we go through our trials in joy with our faith being exercised fully then we posses our treasure both now in our hearts and we build up our treasure in Heaven.”

    hi Mike. i have not been blog surfing in a while, so this is the first post of yours I’ve read in a long time…..and I know the feeling of trials……. what you wrote above is so true…the Lord tries those He loves…….. for an eternally priceless, good and joyful end.
    love, your sister, Loretta
    Here’s something I wrote about “good suffering”, I hope it encourages you.


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