“I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake” (Colossians 1:24).
I carefully moved the covers off my burning feet. “Remove the plastic BEFORE you put the pizza in the oven,” I hollered at my nine year old. He shouted back upstairs, “Yeah, Mom, I got it. And I preheated the oven.” I hoped he wouldn’t burn his hands getting the pizza out. I hoped he would find some vegetables to offer the three younger kids for dinner. It was my son’s first time making dinner in the oven, and I had never showed him how to use a fire extinguisher.
The burning had begun a few weeks after my face tingling subsided. I watched the summer greenery outside my wind0w shift colors into fall. I spent many days in bed, at least by the middle of the day, and for sure by the time my husband got back from work. My feet curled up, frozen yet burning in pain at the same time, betraying me in my busy life as a mother with four young children and a household to run.
They did tests, I waited for results, nothing definitive. Could be this someday. Could be that tomorrow. Could take this medicine with those side effects.
But mysteriously through this on-again, off-again suffering, I rejoiced like Saint Paul in today’s reading. My suffering could be a gift to offer back to Jesus. Up until then, aside from pregnancy and postpartum problems, I’d lived a charmed life. No real suffering to speak of. And now this mystery nerve pain, this indiscernible disorder in my body, was a true gift.
You might think I’m crazy or sounding a little overly pious. I get it. I would have thought that too. But when you’re in the prison of suffering, you have two options: give up or give it over. Imperfectly, reluctantly, with a few choice words, however you give it over to Jesus counts. Take a long look at your long list of big and little sufferings. Pass them over and smile. He wants them all.Give up or give it over. // Nell O'Leary Click To Tweet
Thank you for being here.
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