An Accidental Treasure

“What if God healed you tomorrow?” my daughter asked me one morning. “Would you want to be healed?”

“Hmmm…no, I don’t think so.”

Six years ago, in one brief April moment of skidding tires, shrieking metal, breaking glass and side-impact airbags, a green Toyota minivan slammed into the side of ours at 50 miles an hour, and instantly changed our lives.

Within weeks, my kids’ injuries healed. Mine did not. For three years, I journeyed through tests and procedures, medications, specialists, occupational and physical therapy, and multiple surgeries. I alternately hoped for, prayed for, begged for healing, and God said, “No.”

“But why, Mom? Why wouldn’t you want to be healed?”

“Well, it’s not that I like living with pain, but I know me, and I’m not sure I’d stay this close to God without it. What if God healed me and I suddenly slid back into old, familiar habits – hurried and impatient and stressed with no time for people, no time to notice God in the moment, no time or desire to stop and breathe in His incredible beauty? Honestly, that would be worse in every way than this.”

“But how do you know it wouldn’t be different now?”

“I don’t know for sure, but when the pain is less I still feel a pull to do more, to be more. For the past six years God has proven He’s sufficient, more than enough, yet somehow on the better days I still feel that old tug to fight Him for control.”

“Why?” I wondered silently. So I can be harsh and impatient and critical and rushed and judgmental? Really? Who would choose that? And yet…I do.

Aloud, I answered my daughter, “Maybe God is choosing not to heal me, because He knows my injury is better not only for me, but for everyone around me. I might not like the pain, but I do like the person I’m becoming because of it.”

Over the years, I’ve been asked a surprising question, “Don’t you wish the woman who hit you would know all the pain she’s caused?”

No! Not once, not ever in these past six years have I wished that. It was an accident – just an accident. For one brief moment she looked away. It could have been me. How often have I looked away, distracted?

I can’t go back and undo what’s done, but even if I could, I’m no longer sure I would, because through the pain I’ve discovered a treasure – an accidental treasure – the incomparable beauty of God, grace in the moment, strength for each breath, mercy and love paving each new step of the way. How humbling to see myself through the filter of pain as God’s Hand carves away my independent, critical spirit, hewing off harsh judgment, chiseling away at my foolish pride, sanding off raw edges, and slowly, methodically day-by-day, grain-by-grain, polishing my soul, till His Spirit living in me begins to brilliantly shine through me, becoming, one day, a worthy vessel fit for the King.


16 thoughts on “An Accidental Treasure

  1. “But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” ~ C.S. Lewis
    This is, hands down, my least favorite Lewis quote.
    I spent most of my life trying to dodge emotional pain, to the point of near deafness. Only as my heart and life have been ripped and raw have I been still enough to really listen.
    You continue to be an encouragement to me and present in my prayers. Thank you.


    1. Debbie, thank you for your honesty. I love the C.S. Lewis quote! Hard, but true. Perhaps if we weren’t such stiff-necked people, God wouldn’t need to shout to get our attention. We can be so much like the Old Testament Israelites sometimes, can’t we? I wonder sometimes how they could continue to whine and complain and demand something different than what they had — and then I look at my own life and realize I’m not all that different — different demands/desires/wants, same attitude. Praying for you today, writing friend!


  2. God does have a different view point. What looks like the worse thing, often turns out to be the best – for our relationship with Him, which is really all that matters. You are living proof that He will never leave or forsake us. He is there through every challenge. Lifting you in prayer.


  3. Thank you, Cindee, for sharing this. I have lived in pain for more than 15 years … a car accident and 2 work-related injuries, none of which have been able to be repaired. I came to the same conclusion — I would rather have this pain than go back to where I was before. It has brought me closer to God, and I thank Him for it. My two favorite verses for this part of my life: “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word….It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” Psalm 119:67&71 Prayers for your continued strength in Him.


  4. Honestly – that was great. I’ve known others who came to the same conclusion. I pray I will be all God is calling me in the midst of the busyness, and thoughts like these encourage us all. Thanks.


  5. Barbara

    Inspirational! I would never have thought about an illness in that way, but it’s true. Having to slow down and take stock of your life is bound to be beneficial. God makes something good out of something bad. AGAIN :))


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