An Authentic, Sometimes Gritty, and Always Hopeful Blog for All Who Live with Severe Physical Pain

Monday, August 29, 2011

An Earthquake and a Hurricane Four Days Apart

We dodged two bullets this week here in Richmond. The first one occurred last Tuesday, when we experienced a small earthquake, that shook our lives for about 30 seconds.  Although there were a few homes that were slightly damaged and a couple of people required medical treatment, mostly the earthquake became fodder for a few jokes, my favorite one of which I have posted on the right for you...

Four days later, Hurricane Irene blew across our state, bringing up to 40 mph winds and torrential rain.  The wind began to blow at around 2 p.m. knocking out our power at the same time.  It was a long day and night as we watched and listened for what was happening outside.  We woke up to a damage-free home, and a yard littered with brush and leaves that would easily be cleaned up with a good raking.  Our power came back on in 24 hours, so all we lost were our refrigerated foods; our freezer foods were fine since our freezer was so packed.  Others around us weren't as lucky, like the person to the left in the photo, however, we were only slightly brushed by the storm and feel thankful that it was not worse.
Soon after the hurricane came calling, I stood at the storm door of our house, mesmerized by the sites and sounds outside our door.  The trees appeared to be dancing from the waist up as they waved and twisted their arms, first one way, and then another as the wind rapidly changed courses and velocity, reminding me of some kind of mythical multi-armed goddess.  The wind roared, and moaned, coming from every direction, even screaming its way into our front yard, as it squeezed itself through every tiny crack through which it could raise a pitch.  I watched in awe of the storm's surreal beauty and awesome power, recognizing that at any moment one of those "arms" could be tossed off like a cast aside piece of clothing, and sent sailing towards me.  I reluctantly retreated, closing the inner door and joining my family.

And then it struck me.  Something had changed in me, and I had not even noticed it until its work had been completed.  I am no longer afraid of what bad things might come my way, neither for myself, nor for my family.  I have come to pay little attention to fears that once caused me great anxiety.  Christ has used illness to work a good change in me.  Partly because I have pretty much run out of human options for ever living without pain, I have been forced to rely on my belief that God is in control and will work things out.  Having been required to do so has allowed me to see that he is and he does

I still have lots of places that need to be changed in my life--too many to note here for sure!  However, it delights me to share with you that pain has worked something good in my life.  Where once I spent much time trying to control situations and people for the benefit of myself and my family, I no longer am inclined to do so.  And where once I feared the wind and the flood, I can now look at them in awe.  I praise God!

I wonder about you?  Where might you have experienced change because of your own illness?  Has it been for good or for bad?  What circumstances might God be using in your life to reveal to you where you need to be changed?  

I used to write a newsletter for people who had neuropathic facial pain, and often closed it with "We're better together."  I still believe that.  I have enjoyed the emails that many have sent me about what my postings have meant to you,  and the sharing of your own insights.  But, I wish that what you share with me could be posted on the site for others to read, to give them encouragement, or to perhaps ask questions that others may want to ask as well.  Please consider doing so as a "comment" so that others may gain from your experiences.  Will you begin to help create a community here at Great Pain Greater God?  It would honor me to participate in one with you.  I have created a tab to walk you through the process of leaving comments, and you may make comments as anonymous as you'd like to do.

Until Next Time,remember, 
"We're better together!"



  1. I'm intrigued by change. I think repentance is an underrated gift God gives us for change. Recently I realized how much I'd begun to idolize my work. I wanted more than anything to succeed in my work, and I wasn't loving my wife or other people well as a result. In truth, shaming behavior from parents and other people early in my life helped cause my tendency to idolize work. However, the beauty of repentance is the power of choice. While other people helped form sin in me, I have a choice how I respond. I have a choice to turn from my trust in my work and turn back to my trust in a God. My confidence in this choice is my faith that Jesus died to forgive my sin and enable God to receive me back with open arms any time I realize I've begun trusting in some "god" other than him (like my work). Repentance invites me to change, and Jesus is my confidence that God is always joyfully and lovingly working to enable that change.

  2. Nelson--How I admire your honesty and courage to admit such a struggle. Others who read your comment, will be given similar courage to do the same. And how awesome that you see repentance as a gift! What a priceless thing indeed, that it would come from our loving Father (God) who doesn't force us to change, but who makes the way for us to see the need for it. And when we do, we find that not only is the change better for US, but it is better for EVERYONE!