About four months ago, I began feeling an intense pain in my left shoulder. This was a pain unlike any pain I’ve felt before- as if the muscles and tendons were tearing themselves apart. In fact, I was worried that I somehow tore my rotator cuff sleeping in the wrong position, or roughhousing with my boys. Whenever I would lose my balance, and suddenly extend my left arm to steady myself, the pain would be so intense that I would bend over, with throbbing aching pain shooting all up and down my left side. It was a 9.5 out of 10 on the pain scale.
I hoped the pain would subside, but after a few weeks it was clear it was not going to quickly go away. With my wife’s gentle prodding, I reluctantly went in to the doctor for a diagnosis. In this moment, there are all kinds of questions racing through my heart and mind. Will I ever be able to lift my left arm over my shoulder again- and put my arm around Camilla? Will I continue to have to live with a debilitating level of pain? Fears of what the future may hold took root in my heart- its only human to have these questions and concerns. Have you ever had these symptoms before?
If so, you may be one of the 5% of the population that have experienced a condition known as frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis). This occurs when the tendons and muscles around the shoulder become inflamed and rigid. No one knows why this happens. There are some correlating conditions, such as those of us between 40-60 are more likely to get it, but it is a mystery to doctors why the shoulder starts acting up this way.
Naturally, those of us that get it are pretty anxious to know if/when we will get better. Will I be able to experience a full, or at least partial recovery? Will I be able to sleep on my left side again? Will I be able to raise my left hand, and cradle my newborn son on my left side? After researching these questions and talking with my doctor, the answers to these questions are both encouraging and disappointing. It is likely that I will experience a full, or close to full recovery. However, this could take anywhere from 6 months to three years. There is also very little I can do to speed the recovery process.
Where this leaves me is in a lot of pain, and with a temporary disability. It is really frustrating to not have full use of my left arm. When I’m preaching. Simple tasks like putting things on shelves are now impossible or unreasonably challenging. All I can do, really, is pray and wait. Can you relate to that? I think most of us, at least to some degree, in some areas of our lives, can relate to these limitations.
We go through different pains. Physical. Spiritual. Depression. Anxiety. So many different areas of life where we experience debilitating pain and limitations. Chronic conditions that seem to not go away, or where there is very little hope of improvement.
We may hesitate to pray about these situations because it would take a miracle to cure them, or because it may seem like God doesn’t care, or isn’t listening to our prayers. But He is, even when it doesn’t feel like it. God is our Father, who is compassionate towards us, and loves to bring healing to His children. Sometimes the only thing separating us from healing is a prayer. See James 4:2.
I invite you to join with us this weekend as we look at the miraculous healing of two individuals in Acts 9, who were going through debilitating diseases that we may be able to relate to today. We see something in the heart of God in these healings, and in what He uses them to accomplish. Our socially distanced service is Saturday afternoon at 3:30, and our Sunday morning service is at 10:15, where you can join us online if you can’t make it in person. We also have excellent Sunday School classes at 9 for all ages.
Have a great weekend and I look forward to pursuing Christ, Community, and the Great Commission Together with you soon!
-Pastor Nathan Rice