"Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. It I quit, however, it lasts forever." ~Lance Armstrong
My encounter with Genesis Chapter 32 in yesterday's message was a turning point, though I didn't know it at the time. Up until then, the surgeons had focused their attention on the area surrounding the socket of my hip. It wouldn't be long before I was to discover the real source of my chronic pain.
My surgeon from the Joint Replacement Institute called me after a couple of weeks with good news. He believed that the cause of my pain was some type of bone injury deep inside the socket of my hip. He knew of a surgeon in San Francisco who was on the cutting edge (pardon the pun) of hip surgery. He had developed a method of performing hip surgery artheroscopically. My doctor was determined to get me in to see this world-renowned surgeon.
It took my doctor a month to get through to this surgeon, and another month for him to review my case. How surprised I was when I got a phone call from this San Francisco doctor. He told me he had reviewed my case carefully and believed he could help me. Yes! Finally, someone seemed to know what was wrong and how to fix it. In desperation, I took a leap of faith. Before meeting the doctor, I scheduled my hip surgery for December 15th, exactly one year after my first real encounter with jarring hip pain.
I couldn't wait to share the good news with my husband. He too was at his wit's end with this journey. He was tired of watching me suffer...tired of picking up the slack for me...fed up with the mounting medical bills. When I told him about the phone call, he asked me the name of the hospital where I would be having the surgery. "Mt. something...Mt. Sinai? Mt. Zion? One of those," I replied. The next day, I opened up to this devotional:
THE VIEW FROM HERE: ZION OR SINAI
"Two mountains. Sinai and Zion. From Sinai we view God in all His awesome holiness and power. God's chosen people faced that mountain of darkness, with fire and smoke and fear and trembling and dread. God's words were convicting, His warnings terrifying, His penalties horrible. Now turn your eyes to Zion, the heavenly city of God. God's people, angels, believers from all generations and ages gather on that mountain of light and life to experience joy, forgiveness, grace. Which mountain will you come to? 'O Lord, how often haven't I found myself in the dark, frightening shadows of Mt. Sinai? Confronted by my stark inability to live up to the demands of a holy God and consumed by guilt. Paralyzed by weakness and memories of failure upon failure. Committed to a lifestyle of legalism. Trying so desperately to earn God's favor. Fixated on a vision of a God who condemns, who explodes in anger, who burns in vengeance. Lord, here it is. My Sinai lifestyle. My fear. My despair. My striving. Lead me now to that other mountain, Mt. Zion, your dwelling place. I want to follow Jesus, away from Sinai, toward Zion.'"
Can you guess what the name of the hospital was? Of course...Mt. Zion! I believed that my journey with chronic pain was about to end. Little did I know ~ my journey had only begun.
"All this is for your sake; and as God's grace reaches more and more people, they will offer to the glory of God more prayers of thanksgiving. For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day. And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever."
~2 Corinthians 4:15-18