Ministry Resources

Where’s the Anesthetic?

Author: Nancy A. Stevens

“I didn’t know that it would hurt so much!”

I told the dentist shortly after she began working on a tooth. “Can’t you give me something to knock me out, so I don’t feel the pain?” Just the sound of the drill vibrating in my mouth was enough to awaken every nerve ending in my entire body.

Fortunately, my dentist appreciates the distress that pain can cause for her patients. So, she quickly administered enough of a local anesthetic to completely deaden that side of my mouth.

Whether we’re having a root canal or an appendectomy most of us don’t want it done without an anesthetic. After all, who enjoys pain?

Spiritual Pain

When it comes to our spiritual lives we probably feel the same way. Let’s face it: When God does spiritual surgery—excising wrong attitudes, stitching up spiritual and emotional wounds, reconstructing thought patterns—it hurts, sometimes a lot. It would be so much easier if He just gave us a general anesthetic and put us to sleep. “Wake me up when it’s all over, Lord.”

However, since spiritual surgery is an ongoing, lifelong process we would have to be unconscious our entire lives!

I must admit that in times of great stress, when I feel overwhelmed by problems, the thought of being unconscious and oblivious to it all sounds very appealing. But sleepwalking through our lives was never a part of God’s plan for us. Our loving Father wants us to face life’s challenges head-on . . . with His help.

So, He offers us His analgesics—reassurance, strength, and peace—for the pain. We have to keep coming to Him over and over again for His guidance, and we must continually rely on Him for His grace. Occasionally He does prescribe the local anesthetic of supernatural intervention, but not as often as we would choose. His miraculous removal of our problems the first time we pray about them is the exception rather than the rule. He knows that if we had no difficulties and challenges, we would not grow strong spiritually and develop greater intimacy with Him. So, you might say that spiritual growth and development is the flip side to problems.

Growth and Cooperation

A person who undergoes a particular type of brain surgery for epilepsy must remain awake and cooperate so that the surgeon can successfully perform the surgery. As the surgeon touches a particular area of the brain, the patient’s response shows the connection between that body part and that area of the brain.

We must be conscious of what the Lord is doing in our lives and cooperate fully with Him. When we realize that He is working in a particularly painful area of our lives, instead of resenting it and becoming angry, we might simply ask, “Father, what are You trying to show me? What do You want me to learn from this? Please show me how I can cooperate with You, so that I can get through this difficult time as quickly as possible and allow You to fully accomplish Your plan for my life.”

Someday when all the surgery is over and we see the Great Physician face to face, we will say, “It was worth all the pain.”

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