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.