A Pimple, Pain and Praise
A pimple. One that was inside one of my nostrils exactly a week ago, and which I couldn't squeeze out of oblivion. Instead it swelled rendering me helpless, irritated and scared.
God is gracious. He is giving and generous. I have seen my plate full---prepared by a loving God--- that it wasn't easy choosing which enjoyable plat du jour to relish for the moment. I have family and friends I cherish, wonderful people I meet and learn with--- who challenge and stimulate growth--- a work I love and plenty of dreams taking shape right at this moment. I have no cause to complain, none at all, only many reasons to praise and worship Him. And foremost is because He is God, my God.
With hands full, I am doing a balancing act and along the way, I must have dropped a ball. Or simply, a pimple grew. But it gave me such terrible discomfort that I thought it was a death sentence. (Yeah, I am a cracked pot in many ways. Thank God, He holds me together in one place.)
Well, the following day, not only was the right side of my nose swollen, the right side of my body was also in pain from head to the toes. The left side? It tried to carry its other half through the day, and mercifully, got through the evening, and thankfully, got me to bed for a much-desired sleep. Never mind that a long day of teaching work was waiting the next day and the baskets of laundry was overflowing waiting to be sorted and ironed.
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited,
I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me...
[God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults,
in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
The pain, though, was overwhelming! My family saw me at my worst-- grumpy and scared-- which are two lethal combinations in a companion, much more in a mother. As I plod my way through the day, heaving the last remaining spirit left in me, I mostly left behind a negative air. The children must have thought where their loving mother had gone, replaced by a surly woman with a pimple inside one of her nostrils. That night they prayed hard. So did my husband. And so did I.
I remembered, then, of how when I was a kid and often in bed for days when I had my asthma, I couldn't breath, much more sing, so I would hum while trying to catch my breath. It kept my spirits up.
The next day, hoping for a "little" help from the Lord, I was surprised to find myself well and able. God has once again given me far more than what my stingy spirit has expected! I went to work and taught long hours of classes but by seven in the evening, I was still as chirp as I was in the morning when I first realized that I was well.
Getting home, everybody was waiting for me with presents. Daughter Number One had hung the laundry to dry, which looked so cute with the clothes all lined up neatly and meticulously but still tangled up. Son made me a flower out of balloons and Daughter Number Two painted a picture for me. The littlest daughter gave me the softest kiss so she won't harm my nose. And husband waited on me, even setting dinner for me.
I was overwhelmed! This time, not with pain, but with praise. I am one forgetful woman. God has carried me through storms and a pimple came and I gave in to my weak, sinful nature. Yet, this time, I learned that a trial doesn't have to be as big as a mountain, it could be as small as a pimple, but if it drives you to your knees, your tiny mustard seed of faith is flexed and exercised. And God hears. He is not deaf to our prayers, even despite our heart condition.
Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
I also learned that in the throes of pain we can learn to praise Him and in praising Him, whatever may be our heart condition at the start, it is mended in the process of praising. The more we praise Him, the more our faith grows and the more we experience a deeper fellowship with Him. And through this journey, the more He is enthroned as the King and Ruler of our lives--- one who is compassionate to us, His needy children.
And, I learned that I need rest. A banquet full of God's choicest blessings is not an excuse to neglect rest--- may it be physical or spiritual. Pain is God's way of getting our attention when we are so overwhelmingly busy with life and have no time to rest in Him or in a bed. When exhausted and sleep-deprived, things can easily be blown out of proportion. No wonder, moms can be quite demented. For me, mercifully, God used a pimple.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20, 21)
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