LEARNING TO BE THANKFUL IN PAIN

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1Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

My older brother, Doug, who passed away twelve years ago was my inspiration and the one I wanted to be just like! He had a great personality, outgoing, intelligent and athletic. Growing up in Perrysburg, Ohio my brother was known by most everyone in town with his running back ability and as the field goal kicker. My goal in life was to be just like Doug in every way.

When eighth grade arrived I was anxious to play football just like Doug. I loved the game and pursued it through my senior year in high school. I only had one problem. My feet were, and are, so bad that in 1965 they were the topic of a large podiatrist convention. Evidently I was born with flat arthritic feet that hurt all the time. I merely thought as a child that hurting feet were normal. The conclusion of the podiatrist’s convention in 1965 was concurrence that buy age twenty-five I would be in a wheelchair!

I turned out to be a mediocre football player because I had no strength in my ankles and every time I pushed off to run it felt like a knife penetrating my feet. Therefore I was a big disappointment to myself because no matter how hard I tried I was never going to be the athlete my brother was. It was a hard pill to swallow.

I lived with this angst for the first thirty-eight years of my life until I had the opportunity to travel to Nepal on missionary work from my church. It was an overwhelming journey to fly into the Himalayan mountain range and touchdown in the capital city of Katmandu. I felt like I had gone back in time 2000 years. I had to do a lot of walking in the city and my feet hurt continually. I kept praying, “Jesus, thank you that I’m still walking but please heal these feet and remove the pain.” I prayed and prayed and prayed.

One day I was walking through a village about 125 miles southwest of Katmandu. It was hot, humidity was excessive, the smells were overpowering, I was tired, nauseated and ready to go home. My feet were killing me and I was internally complaining to the Lord Jesus. “Why me, why do I have to have such messed up feet?” I rounded a corner and I noticed a beggar on the side of the road. I had seen many beggars but this one caught my attention. He was sitting on the road pleading for food and money. His legs looked strange so I walked a little closer. I was shocked to see that his legs were three to four times the normal size. This poor man had elephantitis! He was doomed to spend the rest of his life sitting alongside a road, unable to walk. At that moment I heard an inner voice, the voice of the Lord, “That could be you.” I was emotionally and spiritually stuck as though I had run into a brick wall.

That experience was in 1988 went I was thirty-eight years old. I was already walking thirteen more years than the doctor’s predicted. I am now sixty-seven years of age and I am still walking. My feet hurt a lot and I cannot go as far or as long as I used too but I am still walking! I am thankful. On that day, and on every day since that encounter in Kathmandu, I have learned what the words of St. Paul mean when he says, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1Th. 5:18

I AM THANKFUL. BE THANKFUL FOR WHAT JESUS IS AND HAD DONE IN YOUR LIFE!

 

 

 

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