No Surgery Without Pain

I saw a friend recently who was on the recovering side of an experimental surgery. It was life-altering. He had been in pain for months and had been told that nothing could be done.  Then he discovered one doctor who was executing a procedure that no one else was doing.  It was the only hope he had for restoring use of his shoulder, but it sounded extreme and they told him it would involve many painful days.  After researching it, he decided it was worth the risk, the cost, and the additional pain.  He’s now doing very well and is excited about the “new life” he has because of this successful surgery.

“No surgery happens without pain.”  A dozen nurses have repeated that mantra when I have been doing hospital visits.  It makes sense, whether we like it or not.  We understand that the process that heals will also inflict some degree of damage.  You can’t get to a heart without cutting through tissue; you can’t repair a shoulder without invading that shoulder.  But beyond that pain lies a new land of freedom because the problem has been healed.  We endure that pain because the result is worth it.  We spend billions of dollars on medical care because we believe that.

But when it comes to “spiritual surgery,” it’s easy to resent God, to become angry or bitter.  We expect great soul results without expecting those results to involve pain.  Sometimes I think we are like children who don’t understand what is happening and we feel betrayed by God.  What gets us through these pains is our trust in HIM (His goodness, character, and intentions), even when we don’t understand. A person who will nod with a doctor who describes terms and processes that they do not understand, will sign documents authorizing that same surgeon to invade his/her body, but will chafe with having to trust God when He is at work in painful circumstances.  Today I’m just wondering, “Shouldn’t we trust God as much as we trust a human surgeon?”

Some things will be beyond our ability to understand while we walk this earth.  I have plenty of things I simply don’t understand and can’t explain.  So, I lean into what I DO know: that my Savior is compassionate, just, merciful, and trust-worthy even on the days of pain that I don’t understand.

So today, in the best or the worst, I’m going to trust the Great Physician.  Will you?

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