April 24, 2011
When dying seems preferable to living
Those of us who have experienced the torment of trigeminal neuralgia know there are worse things than dying. Intense and unrelenting suffering can cause a person to lose hope in living, but we must hold onto it.
When I was ill with trigeminal neuralgia, I longed for death. My own suffering caused me to think about the violent death of Jesus and how His pain surpassed mine. If anyone understood that no one really understood, it was He. By "no one understanding," I refer to how our friends and family may think that we can overcome the pain if we want to, if we try, if we think positively. All those things can help, but they don't stop the pain. The stings, strikes, and electrocution-type pains simply wear people down.
Let's shift our focus back to Jesus and think about someone whom He loved, Lazarus. Lazarus was dead, in a tomb, and stinking when Jesus showed up. And we see in John 11, that Martha (brother of the deceased) was not happy with Jesus because He had not been around to heal His friend. But Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. A moment later, Jesus called for Lazarus, and he came out of the tomb: alive again.
After suffering so long, I remember changing my mind about wanting to die even when pain had spiraled out of control. My mother prayed for me and comforted me and through prayer, I got close enough to Jesus to "hear" Him calling my name. Like never before, I believed in His resurrection power. I began to ask Him to help me live.
Jesus gave me my life back. That was six and a half years ago. I've endured pain from another cranial nerve since then, and I have had some terrible neuropathic facial pain because of a jaw procedure that has gone awry. But Jesus has helped me through it all, helped me reclaim my life each time.
I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I owe my life, my health, and every good thing that is within me to Him.
Have you read With Great Mercy?