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No Pain, No Gain

By: Beth Lyda (From: Volume 2 - Issue 3)
(Cross Training Illustration by David Lyda)

The pain was excruciating. I awoke that morning with another one of my debilitating stomach aches. They were coming more frequently; terrible pain that I assumed was brought on by certain foods that I ate. I usually would try to be careful to avoid what I considered to be “trigger foods,” like chocolate, to keep the pain at bay. I didn’t enjoy hurting for hours on end with no real relief available except vomiting.

This episode would prove to be different, though. I got out of bed and trudged down the hallway to the bathroom. My ears began ringing and my vision went black, much like the final frames of an old Looney Toons cartoon where Porky Pig appears in a small hole of light and says, “That’s all folks!” When I awoke, I was slumped across the bathtub with my face in a cloud of white, which I soon realized was the shower curtain. I had pulled it down when I fainted. A CT scan later revealed the source of my problem, and it wasn’t chocolate. It was an unusual birth defect known as a Meckel’s Diverticulum, a possibly fatal condition that I had never heard of. Put simply, it’s a pocket attached to the intestine that should have reabsorbed during prenatal development, but for some reason, it didn’t.

After several tests, I underwent surgery to remove the offending pocket. When I awoke from the procedure, I was in a lot of pain. I was surprised at how terrible I felt. For some strange reason, I had thought that having my stomach cut open, my intestine pulled out, sliced, and stuffed back in was going to be a piece of cake. I suppose that could go along with the youthful delusion of being invincible. Thankfully, the pain gradually subsided, and I have never had another of those awful stomach aches. The old saying “no pain, no gain” proved true in my situation. I had to suffer in order to get better.

Pain in the physical sense is often a mirror for spiritual pain. How often do we suffer as a result of temptation or sin? Temptation itself is not a sin. It can be very uncomfortable and cause us to beg God for relief, but if we will trust Him, He will use the testing of our faith to mature and strengthen us. Paul encourages us with these words found in Romans 5:3-5, “3 And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

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