My problem with pain is that most of the time when I’m praying that God will heal me, what i’m really asking for is relief. I may be saying all the “theologically correct” words about wanting God’s will, but I’m secretly hoping He will do things my way. My mouth might be saying the right things, but my heart whispers selfish pleadings. I just want the hurt to go away, even if that means I will be missing out on something God is trying to do for me or teach me. I hate pain. I like comfort, tranquility, and an easy way of life.
The question is this, “Would I rather be healed, no matter what? Or, do I want relief; an escape from pain?” If you had cancer, would you rather have a surgeon who promises to cut you open and remove the disease, or, a doctor who offers you Vicodin so you won’t feel the pain? Does the surgeon offer relief from pain? No! If anything his method will hurt all the more, ,at least for a time, but the end result is that you become cancer free. And, guess what; eventually the pain from the surgery will go away. You will have scar, but what you won’t have is cancer.
On the other hand, the doctor who prescribes a pain killer will make you feel good. And, for a time, you get to forget all about the disease, because you simply cannot feel its effects! Life is good, and you feel good. Meanwhile, that small tumor, which had once been the size of a pea, has metastasized and spread throughout your whole body. Now you are dying of cancer, and, guess what the doctor advises??? That’s right, more Vicodin!
Often times, when our heart is aching, we allow ourselves the sinful pleasures, which do, for a time, garner some relief. Personally, I anesthetize my pain with the internet, television, books, and mindless gaming. Basically, in those moments when I should be turning to God, I am, instead, looking for distractions. The distractions do temporarily solve my problem with the pain, but the source of the pain is never dealt with. That is choosing relief over healing.
God’s healing might hurt. He may be forced to reach into my diseased heart, and wrench out any and all uncleanness. It will not be pleasant. I will not enjoy it. But, even this is His grace to me, because, in the end, I will be free of the cancer of sin. In the end, He will have me wholly His or wholly otherwise. As the Great Physician, He is pleased with, and accepts nothing less than, total submission to His prescription.