October
25
Author
Dave Luft
Lessons Learnt - Part 2

 

During my stay in hospital I wrote down eight things that I learnt through suffering, partly to pass the time but also, I didn’t want to forget:

  1. Humans will suffer.

    If you’re a human, this applies to you and there’s no way of avoiding it. We constantly try to, but the fact is, if we haven’t suffered at some point already, we will. We don’t need to go looking for it, it just turns up at our door. The question is, how do we respond? Sometimes we are too quick to pray that God would take it away, as if a ‘pain free life’ is the norm. The truth is that Jesus, as our example, suffered. The new testament is littered with the subject of ‘suffering’ and we’re told to expect it as Christians. 1 Peter 4 says “So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too.” It’s not wrong to pray for healing, and I believe that God does heal, but if he doesn’t, maybe we should be asking him ‘what do you want to teach me through this suffering?’

  2. You can go through more suffering than you think you can.

    If God had offered me some sort of panic button as a way out, on a day of my choosing, I would have pressed it on day one. The fact that I couldn’t, meant that I had to go the whole distance. I think that’s part of the reason I was so overwhelmed when I got home. That week was one of the hardest weeks of my life but I’m not sure I’d change it now. I am sure I’ve come out of it better off. This of course is what James is getting at in the new testament when he says ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.’

  3. Relationships make you better.

    If I’m honest I didn’t always feel up to people coming in, but I was always positively affected afterwards. I’m so glad that people did come, often bringing presents with them which I was touched by. Having the chance to get some moans off my chest, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to laugh with meant that I was sharing my suffering with others who cared for me. Time and time again I would feel low and someone would come and spend time with me and by the time they left I was on a high, even when I was in the same amount of pain.

  4. Hope keeps you going.

    I honestly felt at times, as though I was never going to get out of hospital. One person’s words kept me going, my consultant. She would come and see me each day, but not only that, she was the person with the experience and authority and always knew what to do. This gave me hope, hope that I would make it out of there, hope that it would be alright in the end, and hope kept me going.

  5. Sometimes, to get better, you have to decide to get better.

    The morning that my consultant came in and said that she thought I was going to have a good day, I had a choice. I still needed to choose to act on her words. I could have felt sorry for myself but by that point I’d had enough. I was so desperate to get out that I decided that this was going to be my day and I was going to do everything I could to give myself the best opportunity to get better.

  1. Nothing takes it away.

    Throughout that week I wondered where God had gone. Where was he? In the one week I really needed him? I prayed a lot and asked him to take it away, or make it easier, or for his help to make it through. The truth is that he was with me. I did make it through and out of there. My worst fear of having to stay there forever didn’t happen. My ‘hellish’ experience did come to an end. Just because I didn’t feel him didn’t mean that he wasn’t there. The best way I can describe this is when there is wall to wall clouds in the sky, it doesn’t mean the sun doesn’t exist anymore. There was one night when someone sent through a worship song to my phone. That night I stood and listened to the song with my headphones on and worshipped God. I cried that night a lot. The Following morning was when my consultant came in and said ‘I think you’re going to have a good day today’, and I did.

  2. When you’re in your worst place, don’t look at facebook.

    I lacked the desire to do anything. I had the opportunity to watch films on a T.V. above my bed, listen to music, surf the internet or phone people. However, I just didn’t feel like it. One night I did look at facebook, all it did was remind me of how everyone out there was doing just fine (let’s face it people post the best versions of themselves on facebook) which just increased the contrast between us. It sent me downhill fast. I had to get off and do something else.

  3. Some suffering is good for us.

    Ultimately, I have to trust God that this is what I have to go through at the moment. It’s his plan for my life. I can pray ‘take it away’, ‘stop it soon’, etc, but I don’t think that is likely to happen. Therefore, why is it happening? I can only conclude, that with his help and his grace, this is good for me. As James says, it’s developing ‘perseverance’ and making me more ‘mature and complete’. Why wouldn’t I want that to happen? Actually, I do. So, in all this I have to give God the glory. He is the one who made me, has overseen, directed, looked after and given me everything I could ever ask for. So why is this any different? As it says in Job 2:10 “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”.

‘When I'm standing on the mountain, I didn't get there on my own, 
When I'm walking through the valley, I know I am not alone’  Tauren Wells