“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.”
Last night, I experienced what I consider to be a small miracle, if there is such a thing as a small miracle. The nail on one of my big toes had started to become ingrown. This has happened before. Once, I cured it myself by somehow ripping it out, and that was agony for a minute or two, but doing it myself hurt less than when I had the doctor do it. The doctor’s office provided novacaine shots, but those needles hurt far more than me doing it myself with no pain medication-and doing it myself hurt very badly.
So, after a few days of dread and putting it off, I sat down last night to address the problem of this toe nail. I was certain that the pain would be agonizing. I said a prayer before starting: I prayed through the intercession of Robin, and my Dad, and a bunch of other people too, and I asked God to just help me through it. And then the most amazing thing happened: I cured myself of this ingrown toenail with virtually no pain at all. Just a tiny bit of pressure, and poof, everything was fine. I have tears in my eyes as I am writing this. God is so kind, and so merciful.
I also feel obscene writing about this. As we speak, Putin is trying to wipe out the Ukrainian people, and even if that weren’t happening, bad things are always happening everywhere. Horrific suffering is always happening somewhere to someone, and here I am, getting all excited because God spared me a minute or two of suffering over my stupid toenail. I am both extremely grateful and extremely ashamed at the same time. I can’t explain how relieved I was when I realized that it didn’t hurt and wasn’t going to: in that moment, I felt God’s kindness and mercy in a way I never had before. But then, I look around. So many people are suffering so horribly. Why? God doesn’t always spare me, and He won’t always spare me, but this time, He did. Why?
People have been asking that question since the beginning of time, and will continue asking until the end of time. The only answer I can offer, and it isn’t an answer, but I find it helpful to reflect on the Book of Job. That is all I can say. Praise God.
4 thoughts on “Suffering”
I understand exactly the feeling you mean. I think the phrase, “Thank Heaven for small favors!” was coined to address this very situation!
I find the one thing I can’t do without is gratitude. I scrunch up my eyes in bed each night and give thanks for everything, big or (usually) small, that went better that day than I could have expected. Sometimes can’t help laughing at how petty my good fortune seems, and it feels presumptuous to even imagine that God would involve Himself with such mundane personal matters. Yet I give thanks, as you do.
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Praise God, indeed! Thanks for sharing.
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Thank you, Adelheid.
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