have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, KJV)
I was sitting in the office of my "Pain Doctor" today. He'd given me an RFA treatment ,, something akin to microwaving some rambunctious nerves into oblivion .. a couple weeks ago, and I had this appointment as a routine follow-up, to see how I was doing. I've had back pain for years when standing or walking for more than 1 or 2 minutes, and finally had decided to get it worked on.
As I was sitting there, I was thinking what I'd tell the doctor when he came in. That the pain was much less now, and I could actually do things like stand in a cafeteria line for 10 minutes without any real agony in my back. How I could stand at the kitchen sink and do dishes .. which I have actually done in the past couple weeks .. albeit I do have to remember not to lean over the sink, as that'll make my back beg for mercy.
Sitting there, I happened to mention, to Peg, the most outstanding episode of pain relief in my memory. It was April 2006, on the occasion of my first knee replacement. It was done in the morning, and by evening, my leg was hurting really bad. Really, really. Now, they'd prescribed the usual pain pills for me .. and they never work (Tylenol and Aleve and stuff like that might as well be sugar pills, for me...), and the backup plan was morphine. Trouble is, morphine doesn't help, either .. it just makes me sick.
I did not sleep that night. I laid there all night, awake and in pain. Did not sleep one wink.
The next morning, the head of pain management .. a very compassionate lady .. came in and asked how I was doing. It took her all of 5 seconds to recognize my plight; she grabbed the chart, read it, and said "We can't let him go on like this...". And she ordered up an IV of Dilaudid.
I will never forget that .. after 18 hours of intense pain in my left leg, they put the shot of dilaudid in my IV and I recall quite clearly the pain diminishing to zero. If you can visualize a huge brightly lit stage, and a curtain coming down in front of it, that's just how the pain faded away.
I went to sleep immediately.
I rather think our entry into Heaven is going to resemble that.
One of the things we're promised in this life is troubles. Trials, tribulations, pain, disappointment, heartbreak, all the rest. The Bible warns us of that, even though we really don't want to believe it. And if you've lived any time at all, you really do know the Bible is true and our pain here is real.
It's nice to know that, even though He warned us about this, He has overcome the world. That would necessarily include the pain & heartaches He promised would fall our way. But it also tells me a couple other things.
One is that, when we do encounter trials and pain in this life, He has a purpose for it. I don't know the purpose behind a lot of it, particularly the kind that makes national headlines, but I do know the One who promised He's overcome all that. So I trust Him not to be wasting any of my experiences here.
The other thing is that I'm betting that any world He created, that we didn't mess up, would be without the kind of pains we're confronted with down here. On the one we messed up. Yet, year after year, we continue to fear death, even though it is the ultimate escape from the woes the world lays on us.
Interesting. I never figured a shot of dilaudid in 2006 could make Heaven seem a little sweeter, but guess what...
It just did.