Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?” says the LORD. “Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb? ” says your God. (Isaiah 66:9 NKJV)
Hey beautiful people!
My mom has been sick these past few days with an upper respiratory infection. It’s crazy though, because it seemingly came out of nowhere. All of Friday, she was fine, woke up at midnight Saturday with her throat in fire and spent the rest of the weekend stuffy and hoarse, only leaving the house to go to urgent care.
I called her after she left the doc yesterday, and as she told me that she got a diagnosis of pharyngitis, I expressed surprise at its progression and then ended my statement with “well at least you got some good drugs to knock it out!”.
Her response? “They didn’t give me any drugs”! I was flabbergasted. How could these doctors see the same congested, scratchy and sore throated woman that I did and not offer her relief? “Why did they not give you meds?!”, I demanded.
Mom said basically, that what she has isn’t going to be made better by an antibiotic–it has to run its course. She did mention that they offered her a lidocaine gargle solution that wasn’t going to make her better, per se, but would mask the discomfort while her immune system was fighting the good fight. In the words of mama, “I wasn’t paying good money for mouthwash!”
I agreed with her, but I sat up in the dark this morning and what I heard in my heart is, how many of us are using some kind of numbing agent to mask the pain that we are really in rather than deal (or let God deal) with the issues at hand? See, just like that lidocaine gargle solution wasn’t actually going to do anything about the viral infection that caused my mother’s pharyngitis, the things that we cover ourselves in to mimic healing are just as seductive…but at the end of the day, they are just as ineffective. Just like that mouthwash would wear off and reveal a throat that still hurts, the sex and the drugs and the cutting and the extra shifts at work and the time spent with the wrong people and the bottomless glass of alcohol all wear off and reveal a heart and a soul that is still hurting, if that’s what you call yourself trying to mask.
Love, I don’t know what you are going through out there in the universe. I don’t know if the family that you thought you knew has become largely absent. I don’t know if the weight of your shame or insecurity or resentment or loneliness has crept up on you in all of its enormity. I don’t know if you feel like there are parts of your personality that are a fluke and that don’t serve you well, but what I do know is that your pain serves a very real purpose. So does my mother’s, so did mine, etc.
In the most basic physical case, isn’t pain a sign of something wrong in the body? Pain doesn’t ordinarily just occur. There is a disorder to the regular functioning and pain is your intricate system’s way of letting you know to stop and examine. In my mother’s case, this is a woman with an immense work ethic, and this upper respiratory thing is causing her to take the first few days of the week off from work–something that she never ever does. So maybe this was her cue to rest.
Wouldn’t the likewise be true in the soul sense? Pain is a sign that something isn’t going right. Something in the intricately crafted purview of your spirit and your heart isn’t functioning, and the Lord will let you know. Masking that pain rather than finding things to go numb really is just participating in the age old lie that if you ignore it, it will go away.
In the scripture that is at the beginning of this quote, God is saying to the Israelites, a people in much pain, that He would deliver them, and He did so using the imagery of a mother in labor–aren’t the allegories in the Bible cool?! Anyway, we’ve all known someone in labor. Even if we haven’t, it doesn’t take a scholar to know that that joint HURTS.
The pushing, the opening…that pain is a signal that the body is preparing to push through new life. God is telling the Isrselites that He wouldn’t see this pain happening, a pain that was the indicator of a new thing happen—He wouldn’t bring them to this point and leave them stranded. There was a delivery in process.
I’ve heard many a mom say that after the tears and pushing and expletives (ha) that when they gaze down into the eyes of their baby, it all instantly becomes a distant memory. As a person with a very low physical pain threshold, I don’t know if I believe all that, but I do know from experience that when you finally make it out of your situation, when you lean into the pain and wait for the breakthrough, what comes after makes you understand the pain if not appreciate it.
So I’d encourage you, like my mom, don’t pay for or run toward things to mask the pain of your circumstances. Run toward the Healer. Cry and scream and grit your teeth as much as you have to as long as it means that you don’t go numb. The comfort is coming.