Two weeks ago I wrote about how our plans are never certain. God may not laugh at our plans, but he does not bless them either if they are not according to his plans or his purpose. I still don’t know why God allowed my back problem to become disabling just before we were to head off for two weeks in Italy. Even more baffling, my pain level started going down last week and by the time we would have arrived back in the States I was probably back to 80% of where I was before this episode began. Candidly, if I had felt no worse than this on September 22, we would have boarded that flight to Italy and taken our chances.
Perhaps God in his wisdom knew that the long flight, sleeping in strange beds, dragging luggage around, walking up and down old stone pathways, standing in line to view the “must-see’s” one must see when one is in Italy, too much good Italian food and drink; or some combination of these would have triggered the disabling pain. Certainly not a thing one would wish to experience while on an overseas trip.
Now based on the MRI and the back specialist’s assessment, this problem may be treatable without surgery. Especially given that the pain has subsided and there are no signs of lost strength or nerve damage. But my lower back remains in need of professional therapy and treatment. That this painful event was going to happen at some point is almost certain. That it happened when it did I believe was providential. We had asked God to bless this trip and watch over us. I think he did just that.
The lesson here is that God sometimes answers our prayers in ways we would not have expected nor wished for. He knows more about us, and for that matter everything else, than we do. He knows that our bodies are breaking down as we age and that some of us accelerate that process be it through pride or pleasure or just plain stupidity. Our journey in this life is short. That we experience some pain and suffering along the way is simply part of that journey. But, thanks be to God that we are not alone.
"I am certain that I never did grow in grace one-half so much anywhere as I have upon the bed of pain." – Charles Spurgeon