The Doctor Who Lost His Pain (And The Power Found From Suffering)

Pain and Suffering ChristianA Doctor Who Lost His Pain

Paul Brand had just arrived home in London after a long train ride from India where he treated patients in a leper colony. In his own words, this is his story:

I pulled off my shoes to prepare for bed, and as I did a terrible awareness hit me with the force of a wrecking ball, I had no feeling in half my foot. I sank into a chair my mind whirling, “Perhaps it’s an illusion.” I closed my eyes and pressed against my heel with the tip of a ballpoint pen. Nothing. No sensation of touch whatsoever. A dread fear worse than any nausea seized my stomach. Had it finally happened?

Every leprosy worker recognizes that insensitivity to pain is one of the disease’s first symptoms. Had I just made the wretched leap from leprosy doctor, to leprosy patient? I stood up stiffly and shifted back and forth on my unfeeling foot, then I rummaged in my suitcase for a sewing needle and sat down again. I pricked a small patch of skin below my ankle. No pain. I jabbed the needle deeper, probing for a reflex but there was none. A dark speck of blood oozed out of the whole I just made. I put my face between my hands and shuddered, longing for pain that would not come. I suppose I always feared that moment. In the early days of working with leprosy patients every time I took a bath I made a visual check for skin patches. Most leprosy workers did.

Rest did not come to me that night. I lay fully clothed on my bed, except for shoes and socks, perspiring and breathing heavily. “Welcome to the society of the accursed,” I thought. I knew all too well what to expect. My office files were filled with diagrams charting the body’s gradual march toward numbness. Ordinary pleasures in life would slip away: petting a dog, running a hand across silk, holding a child. Soon all sensations would feel alike: dead.

At last dawn came and I arose unrested and full of despair. I stared in the mirror at my unshaven face checking for patches. During the night the clinician inside of me had taken over. “I mustn’t panic,” I thought. Since I knew more about this disease than the average doctor in London it was up to me to determine a course of treatment. First I must map out the affected area of insensitivity and get some sense of how far the disease has progressed.

I sat down, took a deep breath, and jabbed the point of that sewing needle into my heel: and I yelped. Never have I felt a sensation as delicious as that live electric jolt of pain. I laughed aloud at my foolishness. Of course it all made perfect sense. As I sat hunched in that train, my body too weak for the usual restless motion that redistributes weight and pressure, I had cut off blood supply to the main branch of the sciatic nerve in my leg, causing a temporary numbness.

“Temporary,” I thought.

Overnight that nerve had renewed itself and was now faithfully spitting out messages of pain and touch and cold and heat. There was no leprosy, only a weary traveler made neurotic by illness and fatigue.

That single sleepless night became for me a defining moment. The next morning when I had learned that my foot had come back to life, I knew I had crossed a chasm back to normal life.

And I breathed a prayer, “Thank God for pain.”

 

The Value Of Pain

You know, pain has value. Sure it’s miserable in the short term, but ultimately there’s great power in pain and suffering, and I’m not alone in thinking that.

Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church and author of the best seller The Purpose Driven Life, recently lost his 27 year old son Matthew to suicide. But even before that happened Warren wouldn’t Continue reading

A Conversation About God With A 3 Year Old

conversations about GodOn the way to get my pickup tested at the local vehicle emissions station today, my 3 year old grandson Andrew commented, “It’s a beautiful day Grandpa.”

“Yes it is, God blessed us with this day,” I said.

“Where is God?” Andrew asked.

I thought to myself, “Wow, what a deep question for a 3 year old, this kid is smart.” Then I said, “God is in heaven, and He’s everywhere. He’s invisible. He blessed us with this day, and the clouds, and the sun, and the sky, and the trees.”

“Is God in our hearts?” he asked.

“Man,” I thought to myself, “this kid is really smart. Maybe he’ll be the next Dietrich Bonhoeffer.” I said, “God also came as a man, and he died for us, because you and I and everybody does things that are wrong sometimes, so the man who came from God died to pay for those wrong things we do, so we can be with God in heaven.”

“Is God in my heartbeat?”

Now I’m thinking, “Wow, ‘God in my heartbeat,’ that’s poetic, what an insight, maybe I’m talking to the next Billy Graham!”

My answer, “He will live in your heart, if you ask Him to.”

Grandson, “Grandpa?”

Me, “Yes?”

Grandson: “My leg is a part of a robot.”

Sigh.

How He Loves Us

And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If his grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about the way…

He loves us

David Crowder, How He Loves Us

 

God Knows How to Drink Coffee and Fix Computers

“God knows how to do everything… He knows how to drink coffee… He knows how to fix computers…” – Annie (my 7yr old) #kidtheology @coryburket

My friend Cory Burket put this out on Twitter yesterday. I just had to share it.

Thankful

I’m so very thankful for our Father in heaven,

for our Savior His Son,

and for His Holy Spirit!

I’m thankful for my family.

I’m also thankful for you.

It might take me all day to list all the other blessings I’m thankful for. God has drenched me in His grace and mercy!

I’m so thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17

Favorite Football Quote

“A good football coach needs a patient wife, a loyal dog, and a great quarterback-–but not necessarily in that order.” –Bud Grant, former head coach Minnesota Vikings (Via All Pro Dad)

Couldn’t resist sharing this. Even though I’m a Bears fan, I have to hand it to Bud Grant–well done.

Suicide and Spiritual Forces

Suicide Spiritual Forces Principalities and PowersThe following is a guest post by my friend Fred Saada. You can learn more about Fred at the bottom of this article.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. –Ephesians 6:12

Call for a Chaplain

The phone rang around midnight and I was notified that the Sheriff had requested a chaplain for a suicide. Continue reading