The saying that “laughter is the best medicine” is largely true. However, since having lung surgery two weeks ago, my relationship with laughter has been (at best) tentative. Most people who know me will tell you that I like to tease and joke around, but that pretty much stopped since my surgery. My new “best friend” has been a bed pillow that I hug tightly to my sides to try to quell the stabbing pains that laughing brings on. A few mornings ago I faced an unexpected dilemma while reading a story written by my daughter Kara.* The story she wrote about occurred while Kara and a friend of hers were setting up a campsite with a one and a three year old to “help”. As I began to read I found myself trying not to laugh–the incident was not funny at all but the way she related the story was hilarious! It hurt like crazy to continue to read so I was tempted to put it down; I realized I had a choice to make. I could save the article for another day, or I could continue reading and suffer the consequences (quite literally!) I choose to endure the pain of my sides heaving with laughter in my desire to experience the joy of remembering a long forgotten story. The crazy thing was that even though it hurt, I experienced a delicious freedom in not bowing down to my avoidance of pain, even while having to cling to my “friend!”
Later in the day I thought about some verses in Hebrews 12 that have always intrigued me:
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Verses 2 and 3.)
Reflecting on my earlier decision of choosing to experience a joyful heart despite the pain, I gained fresh insight. As the passage calls us to “fix our eyes on Jesus,” I thought about how faithful God was in helping me through every aspect of facing an unexpected surgery, surviving the surgery and providing all the help that has been such a blessing in my recovery. I remembered how He gave me courage and peace when I felt particularly vulnerable to an unkind nurse. (Friends prayed and I never saw that nurse again!) Then I thought about the real challenge of that morning, to trust God with my pain. To be clear here, I am not in any way suggesting that my situation was anywhere near what Christ experienced. What I am saying is that His example freed me to trust God with the pain. In letting go of that control I experienced the joy of being able to laugh at difficulty in past days as well as trusting that He will continue to be my joy in the days to come.
How about you? Are you so busy controlling certain areas of your life that you are missing the joy of the Lord as your strength? Has God convicted you about your efforts to control something or someone in your life out of fear or your desire to avoid pain? Then I encourage you to ask God to help you yield that control to Him as you choose to trust Him more. I cannot guarantee that it will be “pain-free” in letting go, but I can assure you that the freedom gained as you trust in God more will definitely be worth it! Then you will be able to join me in saying, that learning to trust God more with your life is truly the best medicine there is!
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31: 25 and 26, “The Wife of Noble Character.”
*You can read Kara’s story by hitting the side panel under Blogroll at wingingiteveryday.com, THE Worst Camping Trip Ever, March 19 entry.