Why does God allow His children to suffer? I can never completely answer that question. It is the hardest of all questions both lost and saved people ask me. I have learned a lot in Costa Rica. I might even learn some Spanish before I leave. But I have learned a second huge lesson in my life. That yes God does allow His children to suffer. And that if we are smart enough to listen during our suffering we might sometimes understand why.
For two days I suffered the most intense pain I have ever suffered in my life. Yes this is a man who splintered his femur in an accident and yes if you have known me a long time who at 17 ran his Motorcycle into a 18 wheeler that was stopped at a red light at around 50 miles per hour. Neither of these paled in comparison to the constant pain of the last 48 hours.
I cried out to God all night Saturday and Sunday to please take away the pain. I begged him to tell me why I had to suffer such pain. I kept begging and begging but I was not listening. I kept getting stronger and stronger medicine. Took the antibiotics even thought of doubling them. I took 4 Extra- Strength Tylenol every 2 hours in addition to the prescription. No relief. Just before I called La Doctora from Punta Leona (What was I doing in Punta Leona, another story) a friend of a missionary family there had just had knee surgery and had a prescription for a narcotic pain killer, she gave me one and I took it before we left for San Jose; no relief, the pain only increased. I think my good buddy Ronnie was very worried about me on the way home. He even came for the surgery.
When I arrived back home in San Francisco, I had 2 Hours before La Dentista would arrive. I sat in our living room and started to pray. The pain was at its worst and for the first time I started to cry, something I wanted to do for two days, and when I spoke to God and I found myself on my knees telling God I could not take any more, that I was giving this pain to Him that it was more than I could bear. And before I knew it I told Him I was so sorry for the person I had become the past few weeks. So frustrated with Spanish so frustrated with so many cosas. And I sat there for more than a hour and waited, and waited and I truly believe with all my heart that what God said to me was thank you my son, that’s all I was waiting on. Even as I relive this IM weeping out of control; In fact the sky just burst open and its pouring down as if God is crying with me.
Three hours later God through the hands of this gifted woman God took away all my pain. It was gone and I haven’t taken as much as an aspirin since. Gracias a Dios.
Now today as I waited to return for the second leg of my Root Canal I have been reading my Bible. And what God has taken me to is what He has to say about The Body. As I read the words of Paul I remember so many times explaining to my members how important to God each part of the Body is. That the eye with all its importance cannot function without the lesser members. As I read God began to show me more of what I was to take from this experience.
I have taught and have understood for many years that what Paul is saying is that if any part of the body is not functioning the whole suffers. And remember this is the Body of which Jesus Christ, GOD, is the head of. That has always been hard for me to process; that a big toe can disrupt the Body of Christ.
Well I have to first admit that some of those cosas that have frustrated me are other members of this Body I claim to be part of. So this next part while gross, and graphic, I believe God intended for good. When La Dentista drilled trough my tooth and removed the nerve and artery and such leaving a clear path for the infection, she then pressed on the huge swelling in the roof of my mouth. When she did, and I don’t think she expected it at all, but the puss from the infection squirted out from my tooth all over my cheeks and down my neck. She rushed to grab some towels and apologized. It was brown and went up my nose and was so horrible smelling. I had never in my life thought something like that could come out of my mouth.
Today as I read my Bible I had a whole new understanding off the importance of every member of the Body, and god showed me how one small member of the Body can become so poisoned, even though no one can see it from the outside, so poisoned that they are causing so much pain to the body, that the entire body is so concentrating on the member and the pain they are causing that they ignore the head. God showed me that in us the members and in us the Body that sometimes He has to allow pain, even extreme pain so that we will turn back to the Head, so that he can remove the poison that is causing the pain. Not us, but Him.
I thought I understood this; I have lived it out, members, deacons, staff, fellow missionaries that were absolute poison to the body. But everyone wanted to take more medicine. Just ease the pain. And I many times was just as wrong; I wanted to charge in and do the surgery myself. And sometimes did. And I have paid the price.
I thought as I read of some things one of my favorite authors on church, Neil Cole has said. Neil is probably the most like minded person I have ever read. I do not have to personally write much because when I read him I say amen, or been there done that over and over.
Neil says and I paraphrase, that we must have every cell of Christ Body healthy.
I would say “all” myself, and that this is not possible, yes not possible if a single disciple, one disciple, is not fully following Christ. When and only when we know that every single part of Christ Body is connected to the Head and is hearing from Jesus the Head, and I want to emphasis the only Head, the only one who has paid the price of being the head, only then will there be order and unity within the Body; one mind, one purpose, and one Lord. That is what Jesus died for my friends. Please hear me, don’t force Jesus to put you on your knees in pain.
And hear me, to be okay with the status qua, to just want to cover it over, bleach it, call it something else, is a SIN against the Head. I know I’m preaching and it feels good. There are Pastors, Deacons, church members, Churches, Missionaries and organizations in the Body that are full of poison and puss that the ultimate physician is going to drill into and squeeze the poison out of. But hear me; it is He and only He that will do the surgery. But, and this is so important, for us to be happy and content with them is sin. To support something opposite than this idea is adulterous. It is sleeping with the enemy. And it is not to be so among the Body of Christ.
I know, I have been there. I went there again. And I say thank you God for removing the poison from my body once again, and loving me just the same, enough to let me suffer to the point that I can’t handle one bit more. If we disciples are unhealthy, we will never become the expression of The Body that is necessary to save this lost world. And thank God that when we become unhealthy He is the Great Physician!Many of you will think poor Greg how unfortunate that he suffered so much these past few days.....please....don't.