“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Friday, September 23, 2011


A friend of mine was recently admitted to the hospital. Even though a relatively young man, perhaps about 30, he has been struggling with hip pain for several years. To hear the medical description of the condition of his hip would make a brave person curl up in a fetal position and cry. I knew he was in pain, and was looking forward to a hip replacement. Well, he has had the replacement and now is in the hospital recovering. "The pain is the pain of healing!" he tells me which is much different then the pain of the past and I am very sure is encouraging to him as he knows that pain will soon stop.

When my wife visited him yesterday, she noticed that he had the number "428" on his hospital wrist band. The blessed life we have led as a family has not provided the need to be in the hospital, other than to visit others, very often. Kathi asked his mother, "What is the 428?" "That is the number of times he has been admitted to the hospital" she casually replied. How do you respond to that? To have been so ill over your life that you would have been admitted so many times, in a young life. I quickly realized once again, that I don't know what it is like to be a person with chronic health problems.

My friend (who I have only known for a short time and who has been unusually healthy by his standards) has had about 15 hospital stays per year. I have had 1 every 27 years. Are there words to say to understand this difference between two lives?
It is easy to talk about the sovereignty of God when you are on my side of the hospital stay equation.
I have another friend who recently related that she had lost 3 children who had not survived to birth, being miscarriages.
With two wonderful adult children, it is easy to talk about the sovereignty of God when you are on my side of the birth of children.

I am reminded once again of the John 9 passage. Man born blind, disciples ask who sinned, Jesus responds “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work." When the sovereignty of God is difficult in another person's life, is my response, "It sucks to be you." Is it, "There but for the grace of God go I." Could it be, "My pain is less so that I can help you to bear up under your pain." "My time has not been spent in the hospital so that I can spend time with you in the hospital." I experience my life so that the works of God might be displayed, in my life and through what I do in the lives of others.

"To whom much is given, much is expected!" (Luke 12:42)



Anna said...

this speaks to me LOUDLY. Thank you for sharing this thoughtful post.

wpitman said...

A great reminder -- thanks for your insights Jeff!