Well, it’s been quite an adventure since my last blog post! That CT scan I mentioned showed two 7mm stones stuck in both my ureters. I had my scan last Tuesday, they called me in to the office on Wednesday, and I was in surgery last Thursday morning. Just that quick. Doc broke up 6 kidney stones altogether. Then I spent a week with stents in – arrrrgggghhhhh (worse than the stones!!), followed by another X-ray which showed that I still had blockage in my right ureter tube. Nooooo… But, in good news, they took out the stents anyway. That night I passed 16 (yes, 16 – crazy, huh?!!?) smaller stone fragments, which I’m hoping was the blockage they saw earlier that day on the X-ray. I’m still having some pain on my right side, though, which is a bummer. Next Friday I’ll have another X-ray and an appointment to evaluate what’s what and decide what to do next. If I’m stone-free, I can go on my merry way. But if there’s still blockage, I’ll probably have to have yet another surgery.
So, since I’ve been dealing with loads of pain, I thought it would be appropriate to share a little excerpt from WRESTLING WITH WONDER, which is due to release in just a few weeks (and is available for preorder on Amazon right now!!).
This is from Chapter 6, The Soul-Piercing Sword (you can see why I was drawn to this chapter this week!), which discusses Simeon’s Song in Luke 2:22-35:
A haunting question. A frightening one. Are we supposed to suffer? Is pain a part of our blessing from God? We don’t think so. We approach it as if it’s something strange, something foreign that sneaks past God’s protection. We behave as if we think that if we just do what’s right, God will reward us with a life of ease. Then we act as if hurt and difficulty and struggle proves either our sin or that God has turned away. We cry out:
What have I done to deserve this?
Why is God punishing me?
Why can’t I just learn whatever it is he’s trying to teach me, so I can move on?
Or we say:
Has God forgotten me?
If God is good, why is life so hard?
Maybe God doesn’t love me after all ...
But then, in the midst of the cries and queries, comes Simeon’s song to Mary. As we approach the temple with soaring hopes, crashing doubts, and questions that will not be answered, we see a woman who is declared favored, a girl called most-blessed. And we hear an old man’s song. A song that sings in harmony, yet in counterpoint, to Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55):
Mary sings: “He has helped his servant Israel … just as He promised our ancestors" (1:54-55).
And Simeon sings: Yes, there will be glory for Israel, but first the Messiah will be a light to the Gentiles. The first will be last, the last will be first (2:32).
Mary sings: “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble” (1:52).
And Simeon sings: Yes, he will cause the rising and falling of many. Many in Israel. He will be opposed. Oh Mary, it won’t look anything like you expect (2:34).
Mary sings: “He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts" (1:51).
And Simeon sings: “So the thoughts of many will be revealed” (2:35b). Not only the proud will be scattered. Not only the mighty will fall. He has come to reveal the hearts of all of us.
Mary sings: "From now on all generations will call me blessed” (1:48b).
And Simeon sings: And that blessedness will be through the soul-piercing sword (2:35a).
And as I listen to the song of Mary and Simeon, woven together in harmony, I find my world shaken, my suppositions exposed.
Maybe I’m wrong when I think the blessed life is the easy life.
Maybe I’m mistaken when I believe favor is when everything goes right.
Maybe God intends for my very soul to be pierced.
A startling concept. A scary peek into the intentions of the Spirit himself. Maybe pain is part of the plan.