Friday, October 3, 2014

Life is Pain, Highness...

Name the movie... come on... I know you know it...

"The Princess Bride" is one of my all time favorite movies, and this scene contains one of the best lines in the movie... 
'life is pain, highness. anyone who says differently is selling something.' 

Cynical, but with a nugget of truth.

As I was thinking about pain, and the relief that I've already felt from my pain after only 16 days on the AIP diet, I began to think about the origin of pain.

Where did pain come from?

In a way, 'life is pain' isn't far from the truth, although this isn't how we were created. 

In Genesis 1 & 2, we read of God creating all things good, we read of the perfection of life at the beginning. But then, sin came into the world and marred that perfection as Adam and Eve took life into their own hands and disobeyed their creator. One of the punishments we see for that first sin was pain (specifically pain in childbearing). And from that moment onward we all feel the effects of sin - pain, suffering, death and ultimately separation from God because of the sinful rebellion of our hearts. Life in this world is full of pain. Life apart from Christ is pain. Thankfully, Genesis 3 isn't the end of the story and there is hope for the end of the pain. This pain isn't forever.

Let me be clear, I'm not saying that the physical pain you're dealing with today is a direct result of your sin. That's not what the Bible teaches. But, instead the truth is that because of sin, the world is broken and decaying and our bodies are part of the world. Death, sickness and pain are all now natural parts of of life in this fallen world. 

For those of us following the AIP diet, we've come to this place because of pain of some sort. We're looking for relief from pain, relief from sickness. Many have tried numerous options to rid themselves of pain, only to wonder if it will ever end. 

Then, someone holds out a solution, it is as if someone throwing a life preserver to a drowning man and there is hope. 
Hope of relief. 
Hope of pain free mornings. 
Hope of feeling normal. 

We all have a pain story and mine is like many others. My pain story begins in my junior high years with lower back pain that just wouldn't go away. Doctors said that it was because I spent too much time in a land rover on bumpy roads while having a major growth spurt. 
One doctor told me not to exercise at all. 
One doctor told me there was nothing wrong with me. 

Over the years I learned to deal with it. I learned that walking made me feel better and in high school would be seen wandering around campus in the evenings. I learned that standing made me feel better, so in university I would stand at the back of class if the lecture was more than an hour long. I was even known to stand in the back of movie theaters. And, ibuprofen became by best friend. Eventually, back pain became my norm. I thought it was normal to always feel stiff in the morning. I thought it was normal to have back pain most of the time. I thought is was normal to stand in the office. This was my life. 

Then, on December 20, 2013 I had my second flare up of Uveitis. I felt like I'd been punched in the face, and my doctor insisted this time that I go to a rheumatologist to find the underlying cause of the inflammation. It was a relief 2 weeks later to get the diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis or spondyloarthritis. Finally there was a name to put to my pain. I'm also thankful that my symptoms are minor and I've been able to find relief from diet and exercise.

Trying the AIP diet was a no brainer. Here was a possibility of pain free mornings. And, in 16 days I have to say I'm convinced. My pain is greatly decreased. I haven't had to take any NSAIDS and I feel great, with lots of energy.

But, as good as I feel, my ultimate hope for pain relief isn't in the AIP diet. My hope isn't in healing my gut. My hope isn't in the relief of physical pain. 

My hope is in the fact that this life is not my home. My hope is in eternity with Christ. My hope is in the truth that we see so clearly in Revelation 21:1-5 - - Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new! Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

This world, this life, this pain is but a mist! 
He is making everything new! 
Now that's real hope!