Nothing Touched It
Aug 9, 2020 | by Nancy Newbrough
I thought the pain on the upper left side of my face must be a sinus infection. But it quickly became unbearable and excruciating, and a rash appeared in the area. It did not take me long to figure out that I had shingles. Albeit my shingles were not your normal shingles that most people have on their stomach or side. Oh no, I do things to the extreme! They were on the left side of my face, my scalp, and worst of all -- in my eye.
Oh yes, the doctor prescribed medications, but nothing touched the abominable pain! Praying, oh I was praying every waking moment, which for the first three days was 24 hours – well, maybe 23 hours a day. Sleeping was impossible! And I was so nauseated from the pain that eating never entered my mind as the entire left side of my head felt like it was going to explode at any minute. Gatorade sustained me for two days, then Gatorade and tiny amounts of mashed potatoes and saltine crackers the third day. My doctor said several times at his office, and in subsequent phone calls checking on me, that I had shingles in the absolute worst possible place. Again, I never do anything, good or bad, half-way!
Still, the most dangerous part was yet to come. My sight was becoming so blurry in my left eye that I could barely see, much less read. Off I went to the recommended eye specialist to try and save the sight in my left eye. Visiting this super ophthalmologist every other day for over a week was not my idea of fun, nor was it easy on the pocketbook, but I wanted to do everything I could to save my sight ... and God answered my prayers!
I am very thankful for modern medicine and the breakthroughs that happen almost every day, but it will never replace the power of prayer, the power of our Lord! As a Christian, I fully believe our Heavenly Father is a sovereign, loving God. However, being in so much pain, I just wanted Him to instantly take it away., I know that is not how God works. Though we usually do not like it, He has His own timetable.
I remember so well when my daughter was about 5 or 6 years old and we were talking about prayer. As I was suffering through this painful event and begging, pleading with the Lord to take away the pain and heal me NOW, her sweet words that reflected our discussion so many years ago kept going through my mind. She said, “Mama, God always answers our prayers … sometimes He says, Yes; sometimes He says, No; and sometimes He says, Wait.”
We all love the Yes answer! And we can accept the No answer, though we usually do not like it very much. But … Waiting has become almost a curse word in today’s world of instant everything. Why would God want me to wait? How long do I have to wait?
Our loving God has the wisdom to do for us what is best. He wants us to rely on Him and to understand that He is with us through everything … the good, the bad, happy times, healthy times, and yes, very, very painful times. Some of those painful times can be physical and sometimes they are financial or facing death of loved ones or a difficult relationship, but what He wants us to know is He is there ... ALWAYS.
I know a great number of people were praying for me during this difficult time, many of them I probably do not even know! But I could truly feel the comfort that those prayers brought and are still bringing. And I know God was in the middle of all of this, though it is hard to see that until we are on the other side of the pain. I am so grateful for every prayer!
I have one final word that I would like to share. If you have ever had the chickenpox, if at all possible, please, please, please go get the shingles vaccination!
And the God of all grace, who called you to his
eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a
little while, will himself restore you.
1 Peter 5:10
If you had chicken pox as a child, there is as much as a 20% chance that you will get shingles. The virus that causes chicken pox can enter the root of one of your nerves and lay in wait to be activated decades later, causing shingles. When the virus is reactivated, it travels along the nerve towards the skin and causes unbearable pain followed by a rash. Anything that weakens the immune system can cause reactivation. This includes cancer, illness, stress, or trauma. Those over 50 years old most frequently get shingles and the probability advances with age. Also, for 10 – 20% of people, pain can last for months or years after shingles has cleared.