The Catholic Blog

Pick Up Your Cross

Posted on 10/27/2016 by Stacy Mal

The single most powerful prayer.... and the great gift of pain.

So it's been an interesting week. Yes, I'm here in the hospital. I had some major stomach pain Monday that just wouldn't let up. It turned out to be a very large ruptured ovarian cyst mixed with some intense appendicitis. Surgery and "clean out" went well though. Now I recover.

Which should be interesting. Since this comes on the heels of our 3 year old contracting Lyme disease, and our 7 year old being diagnosed with a neurological issue called Visual Snow. I am homeschooling both of them now too so that we can administer strict nutritional regimens and get them healthy. So, yeah, my own recovery is going to be interesting.

What's also interesting is that several other family members have been recently admitted to the hospital and/or diagnosed with other serious issues too. There are SOOO many other family members needing prayer right now... It's almost unbelievable just how many. It's almost like we're on Candid Camera or something.

I have been thinking A LOT about this as I lay here wrestling my pain and frustration, talking out loud to God. "Ok, Lord, you got my attention. What's the message in all this?" Well, here it is. Here's the message: PAIN.

I have been given a great gift in my body. The gift of pain. We tend to run from pain, like the plague. (Well at least I do.) We do anything and everything to avoid it in most cases. But it's actually a very priceless gift. It can be an OFFERING... something very valuable in the eyes of God.

In fact, pain is perhaps the most powerful prayer that can ever be prayed. If you look at the passion and death of Jesus.... every whip, thorn, nail, and step He endured was a prayer He offered to the Father for us. Pain then is transformative for souls, life-changing for the people you're praying for. It can be used by God to convert hearts, save souls, heal bodies and untangle confusing situations. And it's transformative for us too. This is an opportunity to "pick up your Cross and follow Me" like Jesus asked us to.

Sometimes situations are so dire and so messed up that God needs more than prayerful words. Sometimes He needs prayerful hearts and bodies. Sometimes He needs us to dig deep, to endure, to sacrifice, and give our "all" for the sake of another. Remember: "No man has greater love than this, that he should lay down his life for a friend."

So when something bad like this happens... when a cyst bursts and an appendix swells.... I can lay here and complain, or I can see it as God sees it: as POWER. I can whine and moan or I can harness it, channel it, and send upwards to the Heavens. I can let it be useless or make it priceless. Now, I have by no means perfected this yet, mind you. You should have seen me whining and moaning during my last injection into the belly. Buuuut...I'm trying. I'm grateful for the chance to practice this invaluable lesson in God's school of hard Knox.

So, yeah, this is me. Hospital gown and all. I haven't brushed my hair or showered since Monday. (Yes I know it is Thursday.) But ya know, sometimes selfies aren't pretty. Sometimes the message is "rough" and worn. Sometimes life is just stinky. But oh how powerful and purposeful is every single moment we give to God out of love for another.

To those of you who have situations and people you're praying for--don't fight the cross when it comes. Embrace it. Offer it. Thank Him for it. For in it lies the very healing you seek. Trust me. I'm absolutely sure of it. If you're praying for an answer, God just might have sent it in a Cross.