I've got a friend who recently had shoulder surgery and wrist surgery on the same day. I was able to visit with her just yesterday and inquired about her recovery.
She shared how the shoulder has mobility, but still is quite painful. Lifting is difficult, but a necessary part of mothering a young child.
When I asked her about her wrist she said something that was interesting. She said that before the procedure the surgeons explained that, even though wrist surgery is painful, the pain is trumped by the shoulder pain and she most likely would not notice it as much.
She happily told me it was true. As bad as the pain from her shoulder was, it had drawn nearly all the attention away from her wrist. It was a blessing in disguise.
I thought about that concept in a spiritual sense. Afflictions aren't a lone breed. They usually come in pairs, or even packs. When when ball drops, so does the next. When a domino falls, it knocks down the others.
Sometimes we are so bombarded by trials that we just feel pain.
But, maybe that is wisdom in God's plan. Part of the purpose of life is be tested and tried. Salvation has a cost, and it isn't cheap. If we experienced each affliction, each trial, each pain or discomfort in a string of individual experiences, our lives would probably be filled with a never-ending stream of troubles, problems, adversity and pain. Each individual trial would receive our full attention, and we would experience all the pain and frustration associated with it.
But, God in His infinite wisdom, has taken that string of trials and combined and spaced them into clusters of manageable afflictions. (When I say manageable, I mean that we will never be given more than we can handle.)
As we experience multiple difficulties, the harder, more painful ones, trump the lesser ones. We can experience them and endure them without the full affect of their pain, and yet still be beneficiaries of the blessings that come from enduring them in faith.
Not that I'm a big fan of pile-up trials - or any trials for that matter. But the trials in this life are what allow us the opportunity to learn and grow, to stretch and choose who we will be.
I've had a few in my life- but as I look back at those times, I can see that this principle rings true- at least in my life. As I am going through something big, smaller trials pop up the seem unimportant, even trivial in comparison. But, if I would have experienced them alone, they might have caused me a great deal of discomfort, even pain.
One of the greatest blessings of these cluster trials is the sweet relief when the healing begins and the trials and pain lessons, and the lessons and blessings of peace and growth take their place. We have more spiritual strength and mobility, and we are better for the wear.
It just goes to show that, truly, we can see God and His wisdom in nearly every aspect of our lives. Even a shoulder/wrist surgery. I'm grateful to my friend for inviting me into her home, sharing a fun afternoon and giving me such great food for thought.