By KYLE THOMPSON
We fall, we break, we hurt, we wait
My life changed on July 7, 2003. I was rewiring a ballast in the ceiling of a grocery store when the ladder became unstable. There was nothing to hold on to, nowhere to find safety. I tried to steady the ladder but soon realized I was going down. I made that awful split-second decision that it was better to try and control the fall than not. Rather than land on my head or back, I tried to land on my feet. Tile-covered cement does not give, but legs do.
I left behind a life of full-bodied athleticism and joined a world of wheelchairs, walkers and crutches, eventually settling into a life of limping and pain. It took six surgeries to repair my leg, and after the second, my surgeon told me he’d “saved my leg.” That was good to know. I asked if I’d ever play basketball again. He said, “You’ll never be like you came from the factory.”
I live with titanium and constant pain. My pain tolerance is high, but this pain pushes my limits. I don’t take opioids, and ibuprofen barely takes the edge off. I ache when I stand. I ache when I walk. I ache when I see others run and jump and play basketball. I’d love to be healed, but that might not happen.
Sixteen years ago, I cried and screamed and asked God why. Now I just ask God for enough healing to not hurt. God has answered neither.
While on earth, Jesus healed many people of diseases and deformities, blindness and brokenness, but interestingly, He sometimes didn’t.
When four men brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus, He said, “Your sins are forgiven.” That’s it. Only after the scribes said Jesus blasphemed did He actually heal the man (Matthew 9).
Later, after Jesus ascended, Peter and John healed a lame beggar at the temple gate. He was placed there daily by his family. Jesus must have walked right by him dozens of times and just didn’t heal him (Acts 3).
Paul asked for his thorn to be removed three times and God said, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
When Adam sinned, we fell. When people fall, they break, and when they break, they hurt. If you’re on this planet and over the age of 10, there is something physically wrong with you. From arthritis to bronchitis, cataracts to dermatitis, emphysema to zygomycosis, our bodies don’t work as designed anymore. We are broken.
I can live with that. Like Paul, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to [me].” God subjected the world, including you and me, to futility and decay as punishment for our sins, but also so that our present time of waiting will prepare us for the glorification to come (Romans 8:18-20). We will all be healed; we just will not all be healed now.
Christ took on our weakness and infirmity when He became a man. On the cross, He didn’t just die for our sins; He suffered for our sins. “He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains … and we are healed by His wounds” (Isaiah 53:4-5).
Mephibosheth was the crippled son of Jonathan, King David’s best friend. He was also blood-heir to the late King Saul. The wise move for David would have been to kill all relatives of the previous dynasty. Instead, David brought Mephibosheth to live in the palace and eat at the king’s table as one of his sons. David, in short, adopted Mephibosheth. He showed kindness to a potential enemy.
You and I were enemies of God, yet He invited us to dine at His table for eternity. Mephibosheth wasn’t healed in his lifetime, and many of us will not be either. That’s up to God. What we do know and can hope on is the promise that, though He ordains our suffering for now, and though He sometimes heals but more often waits, He has promised in His Word that He will give us new, incorruptible bodies (1 Corinthians 15), and pain will exist no longer (Revelation 21:4).
I want healing. My leg hurts. It probably always will. I look to a potential seventh surgery. I want healing, but I can accept it if I never get it. The Spirit sanctifies through pain, and I like being sanctified.
Though I trust in my Great Physician’s eternal healing, I still hope and pray for healing and relief here on earth. If God says no, He says no, but, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him; nevertheless, I will argue my ways before Him” (Job 13:15). I’ll continue to pray for the Father’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). Earthly pain is temporal. New earthly lack-of-pain is eternal. I’ll keep a long view.
To all who hurt this side of heaven, pray for healing, wait for His answer, accept it if He says no, hope in the resurrection and stay off 20-foot ladders.
Kyle Thompson is a teacher, financial advisor, writer, musician, chess player and nerd living in Brandon. He attends Park Place Baptist Church.