Ten days ago I was awakened in the middle of the night with excruciating pain in the lower left quadrant of my back, searing pain that shot me straight up out of bed. Now, if you are a member of my family, you know that I have a high pain tolerance and, as my husband eventually told the ER nurse 19 hours later, I am “very stoic.” But ladies and gentlemen, there was not enough “stoic” to go around for this pain. Saturday night at 10:30, I ended up walking doubled over into the emergency room – NO MAKEUP – yes; it was that serious.
After it was determined that I had kidney stones, sneaky little buggers, and hooked up to my blessed relief (morphine was my new BFF), I was taken to my room…a double room, which I have never experienced before. Of course, my two surgeries since childbirth have been drive-through, so I didn’t realize that unless one specifies upon admission that one prefers PRIVATE, as in no-else-and-their-family-in-the-room-with-me then one is automatically placed in a double room.
Fortunately for me, when we arrived in the room around 2:30 a.m., I was roommate-free …until 5 a.m. Then in rolled a loud, incessant-talking, red-headed, 78-year-old grandmother with her granddaughter. Oh, I discovered LOTS of details about that family, details I had no desire to know, believe me. She talked to me through the curtain; she talked to me when I was almost asleep; I knew every detail of her health problems. The television came on at 6 a.m. and did not turn off until she left to go to another room some time during the next night because there ‘wasn’t enough room for her family to sit down’ in there. Besides, her adult son said, she paid her premiums; she deserved a private room.
I didn’t even have to ask. The nurse brought me ear plugs.
Dear God, I said, I know you love this woman and her family…I realize you have a design and a plan for her. I want to love her, too, but right now, I’m not feeling it. Help me to love her.
So, she disappeared while I was asleep. SHOCKER. But the worst was yet to come. The next day, Monday, another elderly lady came in who, from the moment they put her in her bed, began moaning, “Ohgodohgodohgod” over and over. I looked over at Gary with raised eyebrows and he was looking back at me the same way. “OOOHHH, I’m in sooo much pain,” she wailed. The nurse came in and talked with her soothingly, and told her that the doctor wanted her to sit up for a while. She said she needed pain medicine first and then, after 45 minutes, she would get up.
Then she began the “Ohgod” medley, again. She apologized to us, and said in a whining voice, “I wish I could be a silent sufferer, but I just can’t.” I was glad the curtain was closed because Gary and I almost lost control at that statement. She told us we were so lucky to have each other. It didn’t take a medical doctor to understand that this dear lady needed lots of attention.
I whispered to Gary, “I am OUT OF HERE whether those stones come out or not!! I can’t bear this!” Fortunately, my doc came in and had scheduled me for surgery, and I did go home that evening. However, my thoughts and prayers returned to that woman several times afterward. Her loneliness and neediness were palpable; I wondered at what point she had turned to the healthcare system to meet it.
Also, what kept repeating in my mind was her mantra of “Oh God.” I do that, too, sometimes, when I am overwhelmed with sadness or some type of pain, whether emotional or physical. I wonder why so many of us cry out to God during times of trouble or pain? Even unbelievers do it, but do we, as believers truly believe that God is listening? That He cares and has compassion on us when we suffer?
David did. The Psalms are full of ‘Oh God.’ I love Psalm 25:2, (KJV) “Oh my God, I trust in thee; let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.” Don’t we all think that at times? ‘Don’t let me be embarrassed or ashamed for trusting You in this thing, God!’
Then there is Psalm 59:1 (KJV) “Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me.” Can we trust God to deliver us from our enemies? Well …can we? David thought so. Is He not the God who delivers?
What about Psalm 63:1 (ESV)? “Oh God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
Oh God! You are MY God! Yes, I seek you; I thirst for you! It isn’t vain babblings to say, “Oh God” in this case. He loves it when we yearn for Him.
Oh, and there is the passage that Jesus spoke from the cross: Psalm 22:1-4 (KJV): My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? (2) O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. (3) But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. (4) Our fathers trusted in thee; they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
I imagine there are times when we have all felt that we cry and He doesn’t hear; we cry and are not silent, but where is He? Why doesn’t He answer me?? I wonder if that is how my roommate felt…yet, God is holy. When we trust in Him, He does deliver. Oh my God, I trust in Thee.