I've been debating what to write here, with so many thoughts mulling through my head... here goes...
Today my friend "Leo," who is really Robert (it's a Facebook thing), is undergoing a 20 hour back surgery of all back surgeries. Assuming that goes ok, he will then have probably 5 days of the most excruciating pain one can imagine. He tells me that even with all the pain medications that leave a person semi-conscious, the pain will still be excruciating. Without the surgery, he will die. Without his current antibiotics, he will die. He tells me this so bluntly. He needs everything to go right. He needs to defeat some odds.
I visited Robert this past Monday. It's hard - "he looks so good" - how can things be like this? I'd prefer we were meeting to handcycle. I love the memory of our last handcycle ride this fall - so beautiful. I thought it was the first of many rides and he was making a comeback, not that it would be his last. But it was great to see him on Monday. He asked me "So, if you were to be in the worst pain of your life for 5 or so days, how would your faith help you with that?" My answer: "I don't know."
I don't know many things - from where my faith came (there was no real defining time), why I have it and others like Robert don't, how it would help me through various situations - I just don't know.
So I thought about the previous week and told him about that. MS can cause my legs to ache, and sometimes it is very painful, though nothing like what Robert has and will experience. Last week my legs ached badly. One night I propped myself up on the bathroom sink for 30 minutes(standing position - putting the pressure on them helps a bit) and that helped. The next night they still ached badly. I tried to stretch in bed. They just hurt. The pain was not easing. On my nightstand I have a little saying which includes "when in pain, trust God." So I was trying to use that. But I hurt, badly. So, to be honest, I cried and said out loud that God, I am putting my trust in you, that you will help me with this pain, but I am not sure how, because it really hurts, and with MS, one never knows whether something like this will get better.
So I told Robert that maybe, somehow, thinking that his pain from surgery was temporary, would that help? Although he cannot find faith, can it help him to know that others are praying for him? We are praying that his surgery is successful, that his pain may not last too long, that he has a successful recovery and is able to find happiness in life, and much more.
This is it, he has said. His last surgery. He is not going through this again. For me, knowing this is hard. I want him to get better. May God be with him. May God give him strength and take away his pain even without his faith, but with the faith of others. May our trust in God help Robert with his pain. Thanks be to God.