Herniated Discs and The Delight Of The Father

Turns out herniated discs are about as fun as a fart in a wet-suit.

On and off back pain from the past few months culminated this past weekend with sharp stabs to my lower back when I walk and a dull firm ache even when I sit still. When I went to the Dr. today I was informed a slipped lower disc was the cause of my considerable chagrin. The Dr. signed me up for an MRI but when I calculated how much I’d be paying out of pocket for it I respectfully declined.

Though I have two little boys who demand regular WWE Smackdowns and I coach two sports I have no clue as to how my back got into such a predicament. This past week I’ve been walking like an arthritic 120 year old trying to do the robot. I’m glad my source of pain has been entertainment for someone somewhere, maybe.

Herniated disc pain usually goes away on its own after a few weeks; only 10 percent require surgery. I’m praying mine won’t. I’m thankful for the health God has granted to me over the course of my life. After years of competitive football and being a reckless manboy I have never broken a bone, had major surgery, or incurred any major medical expenses.

I am especially thankful for familial blessings God grants that seem to be healing agents in and of themselves. After the particularly tough day at work (mainly due to the severe back pain and unforeseen medical expenses) I sat down on my recliner with my almost 1 year old son, Gideon, in lap. My three year old, Josiah, crawled up with us and my two lover boys commenced to laugh and kiss one another for the next 10 minutes or so (see my site banner photo for a sample). As their father I delighted in the whole experience. My son’s birth an irrepressible joy in me.

A little discomfort pales in comparison to such amazing graces.

I am also thankful no matter how bad, good, wise, dumb, weak or strong we may be or feel at any given moment, this is true: In Christ, we are never more or less than a son or daughter of Father God. If Christ’s blood was shed for us then the Father looks at us, in spite of all the entanglements of sin and selfishness, and sees a perfect spotless Son whom He is eternally pleased in (1 John 3:1).

God delights in His own glory, amen! He delights in Christ, absolutely!. But here is the biblical reality that makes me supremely uncomfortable almost daily. If I am in Christ, then…God…delights…in me (Zep 3:17). Yes, it is through His grace. Yes, I deserve wrath on my best days.

But the work and person of Christ has now replaced eternal disdain with Fatherly delight. Sworn arch enemies have been made adopted sons and daughters (Gal 4:6).

And a million bad days and herniated discs can’t hold back the contagious joy God has over His own children.

Bryan Daniels

My Lack of Gratitude: From Natural Fatherhood to Supernatural Adoption

I’m not one to gush too much about personal matters.

But I am becoming more of softie with age I guess. As I sit and type this in my living room I have a healthy three-month old boy to my right in his swing peacefully sleeping like a hibernating polar bear. To my left I have a healthy three-year old boy chomping down on turkey bacon and watching the adventures of talking bugs on “Sunny Patch.” In the bedroom my beautiful wife is recovering from successive sleepless nights taking care of the aforementioned three-month old. I have a job that enables me to sow a great deal of my time into all of them. I’m able to sit back and enjoy a steaming pot of black gold/Dunkin Donuts Coffee.

I’m not pretending it is usually this serene on the home front (two hours earlier I endured a two diaper diarrhea attack), but the few moments it is give ample enough time to stop and reflect.

Not only do I have a healthy family with a roof over its head and food in the fridge, my extended family stands together to support the boys with lots of love, support and impromptu babysitting. Mimi and Paw, Mickey and Papa and everyone in between are quite liberal with their kisses, hugs and undivided attention.

God has incomprehensibly blessed me with the most important things in life. I’m not sure why. I am sure it has to do with His grace. But why it would fall on me in this way is a mystery. I know the American social landscape is tattered and torn with broken families, divorce rates, and tragic storylines.

This temporary circumstance of blessing will probably last for only a sliver of time.

But instead of nervously waiting for the other shoe to drop I will thank God for this moment right now. Sometimes we miss opportunities of simple gratitude by fearing Job-like sufferings to befall us at every glimmer of goodness we experience in life. I am sure there are ordained points in life we must learn the hard truth of the stricken man’s words in Job 1:21:

“Naked I came from my mother, and naked I will return. The LORD has given, and the LORD has taken away! May the name of the LORD be praised.”  

As the Sovereign Creator and Ruler God may take away what is rightfully His anyways. This includes family, health, wealth, and comfort in general. In some ways, Job preaches the non-prosperity gospel. In the end, God doesn’t have to give an explanation or apologize to anyone for the mysteries of Providence.

But there are gracious twin truths stressed here (Job 1:21). We need not neglect one to highlight the other. God gives; in fact He regularly does exponentially more giving to us than we deserve. He has absolute ownership rights on every molecule of oxygen we breathe, parcel of food we eat, penny we earn, and familial relationship we enjoy. And He grants those things every day regardless of our reciprocating praise to Him.

Yes, God takes away. But our limited understanding will never begin to comprehend this until we see the day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute and second by second graciousness of this God who also takes away.

It is He who upholds and sustains life as we know it.

Amazingly, He grants much more than that. In Christ, He grants forgiveness of sins to enemies, adoption as His children, and eternal life enjoying Him as Father forevermore. He does this to display to us the highest good imaginable: His own glory in person and work of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor 4:4,6)

He grants all this to me despite my general sinful propensity to laziness, lust, and license.

Wow, my level of daily gratitude is sickening.

Regardless, thank you Father for the common and special graces in this life you give. From natural fatherhood to supernatural adoption may “the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21).

Amen.

Bryan Daniels

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