To provide some short back story I need to go back 3 years to when I initially hurt my back at work. I was able to work through the pain for almost a year, but finally in 2009, I had to go on disability. It was very difficult emotionally to accept the diagnosis that my back was badly injured and I may never be able to return to work.
As the pain worsened and my wait time for surgery seemed to take forever, my emotional and physical state deteriorated. I tried hard to maintain my faith and keep an upbeat attitude, but in truth I've been losing the battle. It would be safe to say I have felt defeated and depressed much of the time.
Although understandable and even, excusable, I have complained and whined repeatedly to God and my prayers have become very self-serving and self-centered. I knew that this was happening to me, but until I attended church this week, I justified my attitude and behavior as "only reasonable" given my circumstances. Then, God hit me with a brick wall.
I serve a kind and merciful God, so He has been whispering and showing me for quite awhile that my selfishness was hurting me more than my back condition. In His compassion, God wanted me to wake up and take control of my attitude, actions and ultimately my life. I resisted because I felt unfairly treated and my prayers were not being answered in the way I desired. How could God ask me to care about others when I was suffering so much? I conveniently ignored how Jesus suffered for me, because of me. Until church...
The first slam was when a woman with her family came for the service and gave witness and glory to God for allowing her more time to live. The miracle of a new drug that slowed the advancement of the lung cancer that was killing her. It was an answer to prayer for her and all she had asked was the opportunity to receive more time with her family. Up until this drug discovery, the spread of cancer had been rapid and vicious. She was so happy she almost glowed. I felt like the heel I deserved to feel. How could I be so ungrateful and bitter when except for an injured back, my life wasn't threatened or in any peril?
The second sting to my poor, self-serving ego was the sermon itself. It was about the first century Christians and how they prayed. They prayed with boldness and vision to help the world and asked God to continue leading them with increased boldness and sensitivity to the needs of others. Not much like my prayers which were primarily selfish, whining and totally one-sided.
Boldness! How could I boldly ask God to use me? He may ask me to think outside my little box and pray in larger terms than just my own needs. (Except, of course, the token family and friend prayers, so I could get back to my requests without guilt.) This sermon seemed harsh and hard-hitting. I felt the twinge of guilt surfacing and I couldn't find any excuse to justify myself; especially after that dear lady"s testimony.
Both incidences have filled me with such guilt and remorse for having wasted such valuable time attending a pity party for 2 years. How could I've ignored all the subtle messages God gave me? How could I be so blind? Well, it may have taken a brick wall, but I couldn't ignore the message any longer.
Although I do need some time to process all the rush of emotions I'm feeling, I did take the plunge and ask for God's forgiveness and His guidance in being a true, first century christian and practice what I preach. It will be a journey, but if I give myself whole-hearted to God, I may glow one day myself.
Amen to that!