Life is hard. It seems to be for everyone. I’m blessed in almost every area of my life, except I have a lot of “minor” health problems and some relationship disappointments. [Who doesn’t?] I’m focusing on a health issue this morning, and most important my response to it as I had a “one more thing went wrong and I can’t take it anymore” type of experience briefly this morning. I say minor, because I don’t have the Big C, or a huge brain tumor surgery, or anything like that I am dealing with. Compared to victims of recent volcanic eruptions and countless other natural disasters, and so many true-life hardship stories, my life is blessed and easy in comparison. However, each person’s hardship is hard in itself and is important to each person, and my stuff is important to me. God understands that.
One of my diagnosed diseases is Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease. I don’t have space (and you don’t want to read) everything that one disease entails. Mainly Sjogren’s causes damage to mucous membranes and glands, acute dryness of eyes, nose, mouth, vagina (yes, I said the V word), fatigue, joint pain, etc. One of many problems Sjogren’s causes for me is nasal dryness and acute nose bleeds with horrific blood clots. I have other issues that predispose me to nose bleeds that Sjogren’s exacerbates. This morning I woke feeling only medium tired/sick, better than usual. Just as I sat down to do my morning Bible study/devotion to God time and to drink my decaf (both of which are my huge morning comforts), my left nostril (it’s always the left side) started to bleed profusely. It bleeds so fast you can’t get a tissue fast enough, even though I have tissue boxes strategically ready for my sinus problems all around my house. The tissue box was toward the end of the box and it refused to easily allow me to gain access, especially with only one hand, the other trying to suppress the blood flow. My nose bleeds last 30 to 60 minutes, and then when they finally stop involve grotesque blowing, snorting, and passing of horrible blood clots, which then sometimes restarts the bleed, and sometimes finishes it. Then I remain at risk for about the next week or more of another nose bleed occurring suddenly at any time as something has torn in my sinus – a time bomb just waiting to go off in church, in the grocery store, or at whatever inopportune time it might decide to come. Yes– this is gross and too much information, but I want to help you well people out there see how hard even a “minor” thing like a nose bleed can be for some, and sometimes my friends ask me to try to share what all I am going through is really like, so I am today. (And believe me one nose bleed is really just a very small part of everything that is going wrong with my health.) Sometimes a moment like that –when you first realize you are in for another bad nose bleed season, or the like, is just the straw that breaks the camel’s back on top of everything else, and it was so for me this morning. Just for a few moments, I entertained thoughts like this:
- How much torture am I supposed to take God?
- Is it really asking too much to drink my decaf while it’s still hot?
- Why are you so hard on me God?
- Are you really good if you keep allowing satan to torture me?
Thankfully, it was only for a few moments this morning. In years past, I have foolishly allowed myself to stay out of fellowship with God due to anger at God and distrust of God for weeks at a time. Quickly, the Holy Spirit reminded me what a mercy it was that God allowed the acute nose bleed on a morning when I had no where to go and no place I was responsible to be and no job to rush off to. God provided tissues (even though they were a little hard to get at). [I wonder what it was like to deal with hygiene issues in times past like a nose bleed while crossing the Oregon trail by covered wagon for example.] I was at home with the privacy and comfort of my own bathroom available for the clot clearing process. God allowed a hardship, but He also provided blessings for it.
So—there is so much I want to share about what I’m learning about trusting God through my health trials. But I think this will have to be a separate article/blog post because this post is already too long for the average reader. Suffice it to say for now: I am never right to question God’s goodness to me. As I posted on Facebook earlier today, this came out of my regular morning study time today from Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges (a book I cannot too highly recommend):
“Faith [trust, love, knowing, pleasing God etc.] is no more than the response to and appropriation of the grace of God. So the entire Christian life is a life lived under grace from first to last, from beginning to end, ‘all to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.’ Ephesians 1:6”. Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace, Ch. 11.
Being the recipient of such grace, I have no reason to quibble with God about any circumstance or hardship He decides to give me for my good, no matter how unpleasant. I must constantly remember I am worthy only of God’s wrath for my sin, yet I have salvation, hope, and many blessings, though not all the blessings I want now and I’m tempted to demand of God. And the bad stuff in my life is ONLY TEMPORARY.
There’s so much more I wish to write in this regard. We’ll see how God leads on that.
Dear God, please provide grace, mercy, and help in time of need for me and for all my friends and loved ones who are suffering from ill health and other trials, tests, and persecutions of this present fallen life. Help us to remember You are at work in our lives in ways we cannot always yet see, and You have chosen our trials for a purpose and for our good. Help those who do not yet truly know You by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone to have their heart opened to know, understand, and receive Your bountiful grace. Please use this little blog post for Your glory as You see fit.