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  • Sarah Raad

Choice

Suffering ALREADY endured and offered to God is a treasure without price!

A Study of The Good Thief (Albrecht Durer)

Last Saturday, I was officially diagnosed with a serious medical condition, which though not life-threatening – thank God – has seriously impacted my quality of life for at least the last eleven years, and which will significantly change any vision I had for the future of my life…


This condition is not something that I have left alone in some sort of martyrdom without treatment. I have seen three different specialists for this condition over a period of over eleven years and not one of them gave me the choice of investigating this matter further! Each of those doctors told me to take a medication – that I was uncomfortable taking for various reasons – and when I refused to take that medication, they simply washed their hands of me without ever informing me that there was anything else that I could consider. You see, those three doctors, gave me no choices. They made my decision for me…


Thankfully, in the last few weeks, when I finally returned to the last doctor, he agreed to investigate the matter – only because he believed that I now had cancer – thank God I do not! And from there the entire comedy of errors played out so that I finally – finally – had a firm diagnosis of my condition and I was able to understand that all the side effects that I had slowly stopped complaining about and had been attributing to hypochondria, finally made sense!


Now – though I require some extensive surgery, for which I will most humbly accept any prayers that you can offer – I now have a plan for how to proceed in my life! Thank God as of Saturday, I seem to have found a new doctor – the fourth who I have sought advice for this condition – who specialises in this particular condition, and she seems to be capable of helping with the treatment and management of the condition – God willing.


So far, I have noticed a significant difference between this new doctor and the others who I have seen over the years, because this new specialist was the first doctor in over a decade who actually bothered to give me a CHOICE in how I could manage my condition… And this choice has made all the difference.


Due to the current COVID-19 lockdown, I was required to attend most of my medical appointments over the last two weeks alone. But, fortunately, for the last appointment, my husband was able to come with me – though he was forced to wait outside the doctor’s office on the street for duration of my 75-minute consultation while I made very significant life-changing decisions about my treatment, alone – no support people are allowed to accompany patients during COVID-19 lockdowns.


I have been reflecting on both this choice and on my husband’s support as my dearest friend, over the last couple of days – after all, when we marry, we marry in sickness and in health, and so my health is really one more facet of his health, just as his health is one more facet of mine – and I have seen great similarities between this recent experience of mine and the general experience of the human soul…


After all, the human being has free will and the human being is a social creature.


In fact, the most fundamental element of the human condition is this freedom to choose and our social nature. It is this part of human nature, which makes it very difficult for many people to endure the various COVID-19 restrictions during lockdowns and social distancing, because there is something so very unnatural about them – despite the benefits they may bring to the community as a whole.


And so, as I sat alone inside the doctor’s office on Saturday – wearing my mask, as she wore hers – while my dearest friend, my husband, paced around outside the door on the street, I chose to accept a very different future for my life than the one I had always envisaged…

And it occurred to me then and I still feel very strongly that nothing – nothing at all – happens by accident.

Following this rather dreadful diagnosis, a dear one told me that she was very upset that I had not discovered my condition earlier as there may have been more choices available to me if I had correct treatment for this condition earlier…


But I do not feel upset. I feel very thankful instead…


I thank God that I had my children before I knew how lucky I am to have them!


And I thank God for my husband, who waited outside that door for me sick with worry because he loves me, and I love him.


But most of all, I am thankful to God for giving me all those years of suffering and for allowing all those doctors to ignore them. Because it was during those years that I learned to be quiet about my pain. What a treasure beyond price. For the pain is mostly behind me now but because God is outside of Time and Space, NOW I can offer that old suffering up for Him – the suffering that I have ALREADY experienced…


How awesome is my God to allow me to give Him the pain of my past, that I was too weak to offer before the moment of my conversion – which only occurred through His Grace alone…


Now, I can kneel before His Holy Cross, and try to imitate the Good Thief, who was with Him that day in Paradise.


For I beg my Beloved to accept my old suffering for the redemption of sinners.


And that is my CHOICE to make…


What a blessing to be provided such a treasure – a treasure without price – suffering ALREADY ENDURED to give to God!


How wonderful to be the child of a God who I dare not even call His Majesty, and yet who allows me to call Him my Beloved…

For He gave me a choice and He gave me a friend – what more could I ask for in this life?


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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