So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh,a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corninthians 12:7-10
I (Charity - the only one of Paul + Charity that posts) have always thought that if I was diagnosed with some sort of terminal cancer or disease I would be able to suffer well. To not lose hope in God, to point others to Christ. I think (and only think) that I could do that because I would know that the suffering wouldn't be a lifetime.
I wonder what Paul suffered from. I wonder how he endured once God told him his strength was sufficient. I wonder if he ever questioned God's strength or asked Why Him? I suppose I wonder because I personally do not suffer well and these questions haunt me from time to time.
10 + some years ago I had my first bout with headaches. They were overwhelming. I had read an article about migraines and was convinced that is what I had. When I told my parents, they were under the assumption that I was creating symptoms from having read the article. I took a lot of ibuprofen in those teenage years.
In college the headaches seemed to return with a vengance. There are nights I remember laying on the floor of my dorm room. all the lights off, towels covering the crack under the door because even that little bit of light hurt. I didn't have much for health insurance so I didn't feel that I had options.
After college I worked at a chiropractic office and was able to get free treatment. Those years were some of the best in terms of finding some type of cure - though not always fool proof.
I am sure I prayed throughout these years - but I imagine my prayers were "why me" and "please heal". In my mind, I didn't deserve to suffer like this.
Over the years I have seen more doctors and have hodge-podged different medicines together and sometimes I find relief and sometimes I don't.
In my mind though, I suffered well. Looking back, I realize that because I had the luxury of being selfish, I didn't suffer well - I escaped well.
My headaches (or migraines, depends which doctor I see) have been returning more frequently. My prayer still tends to be "take this away". It doesn't occur to me to ask for strength or God's sufficiency. I see that more clearly as I try to interact with Paul while having a headache. Well, more like my lack of interaction. I am mean, impatient, avoiding, etc. I'm upset because I don't want to feel minimized. I want attention and care, I want to be number one. My character truly shines when I suffer.
God wants to be number one. Mine, and Paul's.
Anyways, long story short - I have really realized lately that I don't suffer well, I suffer selfishly and impatiently. This is something that I am still wrestling with. I get what I need to do... I just cannot seem to get myself to do it in the midst of the pain. Prayer welcomed.