THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS I HAVE LEARNED SO FAR / by rebecca keating

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I know these things to be true. I have for most of my life: “Your grace is sufficient for me." "I have all that I need." "You do not withhold any of your love from me.” But I am learning these things in a deep, gut wrenching way this week. 

I had oral surgery last Thursday. I got my wisdom teeth out and a bone graft to prep for an implant. The recovery process has been infection free and supposedly smooth, but the pain will not cease. It’s relentless, unceasing, excruciating, definitely the worst physical pain I have ever experienced. There has not been a single night in the past seven days where I have not woken up in the middle of the night, kept awake for hours crying out to God begging for Him to ease the pain so I could sleep. I wish I could learn resilience and endurance by listening to a sermon or someone else’s story — not my own physical pain. I keep asking God why I have to learn this way. I have this theory, though. God loves me too much to let a hard experience come and go, so He uses trials even like this ache in my mouth to teach me about Himself. He cares for my growth too much to let this disappear into another journal entry in the stack of notebooks under the bed. 

There are new words that this trial is giving me to worship with. God is taking this experience from pain to suffering. From physical to emotional to spiritual. So these are the prayers that have been inspired within me. They are being sewn deep into my heart. 

If you are in a trial — whether it be seemingly meaningless like a toothache or visibly tragic and totally life altering — I invite you to pray these words with me. Pray them until you believe them in your gut. Pray them even if they roll right off your tongue. I am realizing my need for these words in my every day. Let them become a new liturgy in my life. 

Lord the pain is severe. The pain is excruciating. Let the pain to be what I need to know deeply and truly in my heart that no matter what I lack, no matter the unfulfilled need, your mercy is active over me and sufficient for me.

I have your fullness right now. You are not withholding grace from me. Healing does not dangle on a stick before me saying “pray longer” “ask for one more person to lift you up” “obey me better”. Your heart is good. Your love for me is complete, it is not fractured, and it is fully present. 

I give you permission to use every physical pain in my body and every emotional and mental pain in my mind to draw me closer to you.

In my lack, show me your complete love, abundant grace, total mercy. I will take the pain if it teaches me more about your love. 

If you want this message of your sufficiency to sink deeper — if you know the fight will increase my trust — then I trust that you will let it stay if it’s forming my heart. 

Please do not let my suffering go to waste. I will worship you here in it. I will worship you for the things I struggle to believe. And after, I will sing even louder. On that day, when the pain is gone, it will be easy to sing of your faithfulness. But I know I’ll forget. I’ll forget how much wrestling it took me to get to this place. I’ll forget my desperate cries for healing. So please help me to not forget. Help me not forget these moments when the true words felt so foreign to my lips. I always forget when it is good. Come Lord. Help me not forget what it is like to feel so far from fullness. The memory of this desperation will fill my worship with even more belief. 

And lastly, throughout all of this, I have been meditating most on the Lord's Prayer, given to me for the days when I have a million beautiful words and the days when there are no other words. 

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Yours is the kingdom,
the power,
and the glory
Forever.
amen. 

This is my daily bread. This suffering is not the bread that I asked for, but it is what You have allowed for me. So I will take it. I receive it with willing hands and a faith filled heart. This bread fills me with the most satisfying grace -- I will not let it go to waste. 

 

pic by my babe boy noah