“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17
It took three of us to hold my daughter down in her hospital bed.
Nothing prepares you to see your child, delirious with fever and lethargic with an unknown illness, writhing around as a nurse struggles to place a needle in her vein.
Your heart is never ready to hear a doctor say, “Leave this office and go straight to the hospital. There will be a room ready when you arrive.”
You don’t know what to do when tests are inconclusive and your child isn’t getting any better.
She looked so tiny in the big hospital bed, and seeing her face flushed with fever nearly left me undone. The bunny she slept with since birth lay limply in her arms, and the IV pole beside her bed only confirmed what we already knew.
My baby was sick – very sick.
A high fever was the first clue we had that something was wrong, and an initial doctor’s visit diagnosed a simple viral infection. But an ever-increasing fever and loss of energy suggested something worse, and blood tests began to show the true story. Some sort of infection was ravaging her small, fragile body, and a simple antibiotic wouldn’t provide the answer.
She needed to be hospitalized.
I’ll never forget leaving the doctor’s office, praying one thing on repeat:
“Jesus, please heal her. Oh, God, please fix whatever’s wrong. Heal her. Please heal her.”
It’s true that a mother would die for her children. In that moment, I begged God to take her illness and give it to me. I begged him to let me take her pain, and I promised I’d do anything if he made her well. It broke me to see her suffer, and it broke me to have no answers as to why.
The doctors drew blood, did ultrasounds, gave intravenous medications, and kept saying, “We’re not sure exactly what’s wrong.” It took a few days before they found the source of the infection, and it took a few more days before treatments began to work.
The first night, when we had to hold her down to get the IV into her arm, she developed an intense fear. Whenever someone came into the room to check her vital signs or give her medicine, she began to shake. She believed they were going to stick her with more needles, and she was terrified. She equated doctors and nurses with pain.
She grew terrified of needles.
What my daughter failed to understand, though, is that her healing only came through the pain of the needle. The medication had to enter her body through the IV, and without it, her infection would continue to spread and she would never get better.
Pain preceded her healing, and the same is true for us.
Whenever you and I are hurting, we want one thing: to get better. Regardless of whether the pain is emotional, relational, spiritual, or physical, we look for the healing. We wait for the healing. We beg for the healing.
But we never want more pain to come as part of our healing.
We want to move straight from sick to well, but the path to wellness often isn’t linear. It’s often through more pain, and it often means facing what we’d rather not face.
Take, for instance, the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. Jesus approached this sinful woman, one who had had multiple husbands and currently had a lover, and He spoke to her. She was sick spiritually, and she had sought healing in the arms of those who could never heal or satisfy her.
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (13-14).
Naturally, she wanted this water. Jesus offered a solution to a problem she had, so she said, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water” (15).
In her mind, the solution Jesus offered was the next step in the progression of her life. But Jesus first demanded she face a problem – the sin in her life. Jesus said, “Go, call your husband, and come here” (16). He knew the truth of her situation, that she did not have a husband. But before she could accept his gift of living water and eternal salvation, she had to face her sin. She had to walk through a painful admission before walking in the freedom Jesus offered.
Pain preceded her healing.
You and I are sick, daily, with a spreading infection. Our sin ravages us, leaving us unwell and spiritually lethargic. There is a solution – a medication to cure our illness. But pain will always precede our healing.
The pain is in the admission of guilt. The pain is in facing our inability to heal ourselves. The pain is in the confession. The repentance. The surrender.
Yes, there is pain. But there is also healing.
Psalm 30:2 says, “O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.”
Crying comes before healing. Pain precedes wellness.
Today, my daughter is healthy and whole. Her infection is gone, and she has been made well.
Our God wants health and wholeness for us, and He can remove our infections. He can make us well. He can restore to us fullness of life. But we must be willing to submit to his cure and to face the pain of true healing.
Health is available – if we’re willing to pay the price.
♡ Jennie Scott is a Christian author and writes for Proverbs 31 Woman.
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