RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

I wrote the following to a childhood friend who has remained a friend to this day. Karl is battling a cancer that, according to the doctors, should have taken his life over six months ago. It probably will eventually do so anyway. He had written on social media that today was a day of pain…unrelenting pain. I felt the need to respond to it. Below is his post, with my comments following that.
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Please pray for my pain today. I know I sound like a broken record, and so many of you are praying already.
But the pain is relentless, like ocean waves, never ending in their coming to the sea shore. Some waves are bigger than others. Monday was “off the charts”. Tuesday was better, and I believe it was because prayer warriors everywhere were praying.
Today has the feel of Monday. Lots of pain again.
I know not what the future holds. But we all know The One who holds the future. I need to learn to worship God through the pain. I need to learn how to give Him the pain. I need to learn to let Him deal with the pain. Somewhere in the midst of the pain, there is a lesson for me to learn. Pray that I learn it.
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I write from the vantage point of never having had the kind of physical pain you are experiencing. I say that at the get-go, so you and others can treat this for what it may be worth. We do all have limitations in life. Mine is osteo-arthritis and vertigo, along with sinus and hypertension. Those things, while disabling once in a while, do not (yet) bring the kind of pain you are experiencing. They do, however, bring limitations upon a body that once could have done just about anything I wanted it to do.
I’m not sure that the limitations and pain that come upon us in whatever forms are always put there in order to teach us something. Sometimes, I’m sure that may be the case. In that light, I recall Paul’s battle with the “thorn in the flesh,” that he experienced.
Sometimes, the pain and discomfort and limitations just are, I believe. They just are. They are the product of a fallen creation and a fallen humankind. And sometimes…sometimes…I think they are just there as a not-so-gentle reminder of our fallen nature and our need for grace and salvation.
Those of us who have already learned from that reminder still experience the fallout from the fallen creation. Our embracing grace and forgiveness in Jesus Christ doesn’t make us immune from the pain and limitations. But it does give us a hope and a reality that remains hidden from those who have not. It gives us a reason to be. It gives us a rational life in an irrational world.
And it gives us a longing…a longing to go home. It gives us a genuine desire for the life we were created to experience. It enables us to live life to the fullest in the here and now, knowing that there is an even more full life ahead that, as the song says, “I can only imagine.”
I ache for you, brother. I ache for your pain and your suffering. I ache for the limitations this insidious thing has placed upon you. I ache for your family and those who know and love you. But I also rejoice in the promise of something far, far better than anything you can ask or think, and I look forward to experiencing that with you one day.

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