I had a real battle to take medication today. I hate the fact that I need it, but when pain becomes as unbearable as it was this afternoon, I just have to reach for the morphine again. The doctor tells me it's fine to use it. apparently when opiates are taken for severe pain like mine it does not become addictive. I certainly wouldn't want to take it for any other reason - it makes me feel sick anyway! But why do I struggle so much to take the stuff?
Partly, it's because of my sense of shame. I know I shouldn't feel this way but I can't help feeling guilty that a so-called 'charismatic Christian leader' and pastor needs to take morphine. It makes me feel less of a 'man of God' to do so. I remember being really embarrassed once on the hospital ward when I was in agony and needed a shot, and the nurse who brought it to me was a Pentecostal christian and a member of a church where a friend of mine is the Senior Pastor. The pain of my shame stung even more severely than the intra-muscular jab! The need for medical relief makes me feel that I am letting the Lord down. Surely if I really trusted the Lord I wouldn't need opiates?
Then, today, God spoke to me through a Bible verse that Diane shared with me. Romans 8:1 just hammered my shame and made it skulk away. 'There is now, therefore, no condemnation for those in who are in Christ Jesus!' Shame makes us hide from God and others. 'No condemnation' brings us out into the open again. God knows I need pain relief. He created the poppy, that like so many good things such as sex and wine, has been hijacked by evil and used or rather misused to bring people into slavery. But it was created to be our servant, not our master, and there is no shame in that.
I still seek God for my healing every day, as I share in my book Braving the Storm (www.bravingthestorm.com) but until that healing comes I am going to take the pain relief medication and give thanks to God as I do. Now that should put my shame to shame!