Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Everyday buffeting

1:21 p.m. Today's project was an unexpected one, due to the pain I've been feeling in my right ear the last two days. I was sitting at my dining room table with my gathered Bibles and commentaries, getting ready to start writing for our annual Bible home study starting June 7, when the pain felt quite intense deep down. So, after wrapping up my review of I Samuel 31 and I Chronicles 10 concerning the death of King Saul from last summer's study, I called my doctor. Happily, they worked me in for 10:15.

The questions I was asked were: "Do you have a cold? Coughing, sore throat, flu symptoms, sneezing?" No, no, no, no and no.  I did sneeze once last night, but after taking a melting Zicam-style lozenge, it didn't happen again. Plus, I don't get earaches with colds, at least not for the last 60 years! There was some good news though--my blood pressure was a very good 113/68.

When the nurse settled me in a room, she took my temperature (normal) and looked into both ears, noticing a  very minor amount of wax in the right one. She gave me a hearing test, and I heard even the lowest, quietest tone, so that was good to "hear." Dr. Guzman came in, peered deeply into my ear, and said that the eardrum was intact, but that there was a tiny irritated spot near the top of the canal. He probed with an instrument, and asked if any of his motions caused the pain, and I replied "no". He mentioned that even a few specks of wax could cause some pressure, so he would have the nurse do a very gentle flushing.

While I awaited the nurse, I texted the kids with an update. Steven wrote me back that ear flushing would make me dizzy, so I promised to be careful driving.

The nurse returned with the ear kit, and other than feeling like my ear was full, and the collection of two tiny bits of wax, there was nothing to report. So I'm back at square one, so to speak.

When the Lord allows an affliction in the life of one of His children, we often wonder what the purpose of it could possibly be. W.H. Spurgeon writes in his devotional Morning and Evening,

These trials are for the testing and strengthening of your faith--they are the waves that wash you further upon the rock--they are winds which waft your ship the more swiftly towards the desired haven...By honour and dishonour, by evil report and by good report, by plenty and by poverty, by joy and by distress, by persecution and by peace, by all these things is the life of your souls maintained, and by each of these you are helped on your way.

The Apostle Paul asked God three times to remove his "thorn in the flesh, the "messenger of Satan sent to buffet me," in 2 Corinthians 12:7, "lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations" (of heaven).  While none of us could claim the revelations and the world-changing ministry granted to Paul, we would do well to heed God's answer to his pleas and the the apostle's response, v.9-10:

"My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Your strength, O Jesus, Your strength alone!

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