As a child growing up in one of Florida’s rural communities, a lesser favorite memory of mine is the excruciating headaches I seemed plagued to endure. They were so painful that they brought on nausea and even vomiting. Somewhere in my transition to adulthood they subsided. While I still have occasional headaches, they are manageable with over the counter medication; until this past Monday that is.
It’s been over thirty years since having one of these debilitating episodes, but as the pain worked its way up the back of my neck and into my left temple, I remembered them as if the most recent had happened just yesterday.
I soaked in a hot tub of water and probably neared overdose limits of headache powders, but the pain only increased. I wished desperately that my wife wasn’t traveling with the horses.
I made my way to our bed and lay there with eyes watering from the intense throbbing that came with every beat of my heart. I prayed for sleep, sleep that would take consciousness away.
At some point it came, and a new morning followed. My new morning brought an answer to the only immediate and the only urgent prayer I went to sleep petitioning my Father for; relief from the pain.
In just the few hours of night my agony became worship and praise for the grace of deliverance, but it also yielded a call to repentance.
This episode has made me realize something monumentally important. I endured only one evening of this intense pain, but I know there are many who have been enduring it for months and years.
What I became aware of is that it is too easy to be careless with the precious gift of prayer on the behalf of others when I’m experiencing good health myself. Being blessed with good health should instead persuade me to be on my knees pleading for those who are suffering and facing trials.
So today I am in prayer for my friend who has been on our prayer list for a long, long time. She continues to hope that the doctors will receive the wisdom needed to identify and diagnose her chronic pain.
Today I am in prayer for my friends in a faraway country dealing with illnesses, severe living conditions, and cultural hardships.
Today I am in prayer for you. I may not know you, but I have the privilege of lifting you before the One who knows everyone, exactly what you are enduring today, and holds all of the grace needed to get you through it.
Father, I thank you for the gift of good health. Good health is indeed a precious gift, so thank you for reminding me it is not a right to possess in this sin-stained world, and because there is no guarantee that I’ll possess it tomorrow. Please give me the strength and desire to make the most of my good health for your glory. Thank you for Jesus whose own suffering and stripes brings healing. Keep me humbly in prayer for the suffering of others.