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A Word from God, Part VII: Knowing the Sufferings that Pierce the Father's Heart

Provided below is a word I received from a very dear friend on Wednesday morning, 20 Feb 19. Below the word is some additional commentary from me.

Good morning, Dave...

I was just praying for you and thinking about the suffering you have been going through. And I felt so strongly the Lord impress on me how He's chosen you for this time to hear from Him about suffering that's on His Heart and the suffering that's going on in the world. So few know about and are able to hear about this suffering that's so important to Him. The Father has chosen select warriors to press into Him and hear Him contend for these areas that pierce His Heart so. He has strategically chosen you, for you love and hear from Him so dearly. Blessings on you, healing on you, and peace on you my warrior friend.

While I cherish the above words, they are, at the same time, difficult to hear and read. Being called to experience suffering in order to share in the knowledge of a little of the world's suffering is difficult. Not only am I to share in the sufferings themselves, but I'm to share in the piercing pain it brings the Father's Heart.

Suffering is a horrible, ugly thing. "The beauty of suffering" is a myth, created by Satan, the author of sin and suffering. It's not beautiful. Especially when it erodes a person, be it from the inside out or the outside in.

I have suffered much at different times in my life. Never, though, have I suffered like I have over the last six months. The physical compromise, the attacks from the enemy, the "not knowing" what's ahead or when it might end, the daily horror and trauma of seeing first-hand the effects of the physical compromise (wound dressing changes, etc.), the repeated experience of having the rug pulled out from under me, and the repeated crashings into the floor that follow so very soon after the rug pullings. All of it has been completely terrible, and not beautiful.

I now know first-hand what it's like to have a lingering physical erosion of one's personhood. I know, too, what it's like to suffer physically while at the same time doing my best to pay for treatment all the while wondering when God might extend forth His Hand and bring an end to it.

Where health insurance is concerned, I don't have any. In the healthcare and health insurance worlds, I'm called a "self-pay," and I have been for many years. This is due, primarily, to two personal reasons:

  1. Most (actually, I think all) health insurance plans, in order to be compliant with the law, fund abortions. And this is untenable to me.

  2. Health insurance is incredibly expensive for an individual (even with large, yearly deductibles [like $5k]), especially for one who's single and nearing senior citizen status.

I do belong to Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM), a ministry which helps its members cover significant (it is hoped) portions of their healthcare costs after a $500 deductible has been crossed. I've been a gold member (highest level) of CHM for many years. This is the first time I've sought to avail myself of the program they offer, and to which I've been contributing for many years. With any application, the typical waiting time to receive help is four months. As such, I've been scrambling to cover my many health expenses, which have been significant (at least, to me). All told, I've probably shelled out close to $10K in cash since my accident last September; the bill totals thus far are closer to $23K. As such, I'm on payment plans with five separate "health care providing" entities. Dealing with all this has been incredibly confusing, frustrating, and, to be honest, heart-breaking. I just learned yesterday that one of the entities (I don't even know which one at this point) decided that, since I didn't pay off in full the balance ($2.3K and change) at ninety days, they didn't want to be paid monthly. As such they referred my account to a collections agency. As of yesterday, I'm now on a payment plan with that entity. All while trying to get well, work, and cover my rent, food, and other daily expenses.

I now understand first-hand what happens to people (or the families of people) with medical conditions and who have a hard time paying for needed medical treatment. Good or bad, things are what they are. This is in no way my attempts to cast a disparaging word on anyone, including the health care profession, the government, etc. I just wanted to write, perhaps more for my own benefit, that it's a very difficult place to be in. I now share the feelings of (and pray for) countless individuals suffering from a physical ailment compounded by the difficulties paying for treatment. Until six months ago, I (quite fortunately) never had to deal with this personally. I had to deal with family members in such a state (my brother and my late wife), but this is the first time being both the patient and the bill-payer. I'm getting ready to head back into the OR next week, which will, most likely, add another $12-15K to my bill. I'm grateful for the care, and I'm not complaining. I just write all these things to express honestly that dealing with such things is very hard. Suffering is not beautiful. I write that again just in case there might be a lingering notion out there that it is.

God bless you...



My new book, Experiments in Prayer: Monastic Practice in Ordinary Life, is now available in paperback from Amazon.

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