Posts tagged ‘chest pain’

I Prayed in my Distress

In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free.  (Psalm 118:5)

It is time for me to get back to work! I have taken a few weeks away from my usual responsibilities to refocus on God’s plan for my life and find the best path forward to deal with my recurrent cardiac symptoms. As I have previously blogged, I found it very discouraging to face recurrent chest pain less than two years after bypass surgery. The easiest approach was to ignore my problem as I focused on the issues in the church. But this caught up with me when it became clear that my cardiac condition was only getting worse, and that it was affecting my relationship with God.

And so in my distress, I prayed to God. Such prayers, however, take time. Such a prayer requires specificity, reflection, and listening skills. There are times when 10 minutes each morning may be enough to stay connected with God. But I have discovered that I require much more time than that if I want to deal with my heart issues. When I take the time to open my heart up to Him, I find in Jesus a friend who loves my unconditionally and accepts me when I feel too flawed to be acceptable. When I take the time to pray in my distress, He takes the time to listen, ask questions, and point me in the right direction. 

We live at such a fast pace today that most of the time we don’t even realize we are in distress. When we do realize it, we rarely take the time to understand our distress. Where is it coming from? Why do we feel the way we do? What misbelief do we have that is preventing us from experiencing God’s peace? How can we overcome it? These are questions God answered for me when I prayed to Him in my distress. I simply needed to take the time to focus on God and seek His guidance.

God revealed to me the source of my distress. It wasn’t my chest pain. It was my belief that my self worth is tied to my physical health. So as my health deteriorated, this belief drove me to ignore my symptoms rather than face them. The emotional pain due to my misbelief was greater than the physical pain. But Jesus set me free as He corrected my misbelief. He assured me of His unconditional love. All it took was a willingness to voice my distress and listen to His response.

Distress is nothing more than an opportunity to experience peace and freedom in Jesus. All it takes is time with Jesus. We read in John 8:31-32, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'”

Are you abiding in His Word? Are you taking the time to pray in your distress? Are you willing to discover your misbeliefs and allow Jesus to set you free?


Have You Recognized Your Opportunity?

Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes.  Isaiah 30:20

The kingdom of Judah was afraid of the Assyrian army. Instead of turning to God for help, they looked to Egypt. They saw the chariots and the vast army Egypt had amassed over the years. It was so tempting to rely on their power rather than look to God for help. After all, they were in trouble. The fact was that they were facing adversity and experiencing suffering as God’s chosen people. Why not look to a tangible army to save themselves?

When I developed recurrent chest pain less than two years after my bypass surgery, I became discouraged. I had been eating well and my cholesterol was under control. So what else was I to do? Rather than immersing myself in God’s love and grace, I gave up on the entire plan. Like Judah of old, I turned to Egypt for answers. I decided to choose a dietary plan that catered to my own culinary likes. After all, there are hundreds of plans out there, each claiming to heal whatever is wrong with you. And so I enjoyed the “healthy” culinary delights of the finest restaurants around. No surprise that my cardiac symptoms worsened.

Then I heard God speak to me through my physician as he revealed my true condition. I was reminded once again of the opportunity afforded me in this adversity. I realized that God loves me and is with me in every situation. He may even feed me adversity and suffering so that I can hear Him. It reminds me of James 1:2, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” This can seem like outrageous advice. Skeptics would say that it’s not even healthy to think this way because you are ignoring the facts of your circumstances. But neither James nor Isaiah are telling us to ignore our circumstances. In fact, they are telling us to understand them for the adversity they are. Look adversity in the eye, feel the full impact of the suffering. Then you can lean into God, look Him in the eye and feel the full impact of His love and power.

I have discovered again that they joy comes in rising above my circumstances, mastering them rather than allowing them to master me. The joy comes in knowing that God is with me, loves me, and is more powerful than any circumstance on earth. The joy is in knowing that I live in a bigger story that is not completed on this earth, but in His kingdom. The joy is having the kingdom of God in my heart today. The joy is living in His will. The joy is experiencing His love in my heart that supersedes in heart pain caused on this earth. The joy is in knowing God, really knowing Him.

I am thankful for the opportunity a little chest pain has given me. What opportunity has been given to you? 


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