17 September 2012

The Pain Spared

Recently, my friend and I exchanged birth stories (moms do this) since our daughters are the same age: 3 months old. While telling it, I realized an important spiritual truth about pain.

I had a natural birth with all three of my children. My second was born in Korea in 2010, and I was convinced that my epidural was useless. I joined in the sob and mope stories of how Korean hospitals do not treat the pain of childbirth with the needed (heavy) dose of numbness. In truth, I remember grabbing a nurse's arm, entreating her to increase my dosage, feeling the tears roll down my cheeks as contractions gripped me. Afterwards, I told my story: "Mine certainly did NOT work!"

But then I had my third, and I'd arrived too late to have the epidural at all. How did this drug-free birth compare to my previous pain? There is no comparison. With my son, I had tears and a plea for help. With my second daughter, I was beyond composure and recognition.

As I retold this account to my friend last weekend, one thing stood out to me: the epidural with my son HAD worked. While in labor then, there was no way for me to tell how much pain I was spared. I only focused on the pain that I was still allowed.

And then it was so clear to me. When hit with pain (physical or emotional), it's easy and natural to focus on what is dealt me and cry a huge "why?" to God. So many times, I've stamped my foot and thought, "God, You are not helping me!" However, in reality, there is no way to know how much He has mercifully spared me.

His hand may be holding back the flood while I complain about getting a little wet.

As a high school teacher, I once illustrated this on the whiteboard by drawing a line completely across it. "Imagine this measures all the evil possible in the world." Then I erased 80% of the line. "Now, even if God spared us that huge amount, what do we say? We look at the line remaining, marvel at its length, and blame Him for being unfair."

Truly, His mercy keeps us alive each second, and every good and perfect gift is from above: undeserved and too often unrecognized.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Comments awaiting moderation may not appear for several hours or--if the kids and I fall asleep at the same time--at least a day. Thank you for your patience and please do not feel deterred; your feedback and insight are most welcomed!