One of the downsides of turning 50 years old is the mysterious aches and pains in my body. I am getting them more often. I was out on my usual 11km desert run on Monday afternoon. About midway through, there is a small hill that I have to struggle up. Every time I hit the top, I touch a large rock that I use as a landmark, then lift my arms and give a victory yell. Hey, it’s a tough run, and it’s my way of celebrating.
Monday, I ran up the troublesome hill, panted for air, lifted my arms and, before I gave my victory yell I felt a sudden, sharp pain in my left shoulder. My victory yell was more of a surprised grunt. I injured my arm by just lifting it? You gotta be kidding me! Most runners get injured in the knees and hips. Not the shoulders!
The pain was too intense for me to get much sleep that night. I went for another shorter run on Tuesday night, just because I am a creature of habit. Big mistake. That night, the pain went up the left side of my neck, down my left shoulder blade and all the way down to my left elbow. Finding a comfortable sleeping position that night was impossible.
I hesitated going to the doctor because the pain was not severe enough to incapacitate me. Besides, I knew what the doctor would say. Just rest the arm, do not strain it, and here is something to ease the pain. Rosemary convinced me to at least get it X-rayed to see if something was torn. I went to a doctor that specialized in sports medicine. I was right. He told me, “Nothing is torn. Just rest the arm, do not strain it, and here is some good stuff for the pain.” Not a big deal. The biggest hindrance for me is getting comfortable sleep. The layoff from my usual exercise routine is difficult for me, but I was not able to run. Running hurts.
Well, it did until this morning. I woke up with the same nagging pain in my shoulder. I took a hot shower. Then, in an instant, the pain vanished. It simply vanished as quickly and mysteriously as it appeared. I rotated my arm and turned my shoulder around its full range of motion. Amazing – the pain is gone! Now 10 hours later, the pain has still not returned. I plan on running again tomorrow if I remain free from pain.
Back when I was a believing Christian, how many times did I pray for relief from my headaches, sore backs and common colds? How many times did I take aspirin, antihistamine and pain killers, and attribute any sign of the drug’s power to my all-mighty Great Physician? How many times did I thank God for His miraculous power and healing touch? I did these more times than I can remember.
If I were still a Christian, I know I would have prayed just as fervently for relief from my strained shoulder. I would have taken any mild relief as assurance of answered prayer. But a sudden cessation of all pain as I have experienced just this morning? I would have believed that to have been a miracle. No doubt about it. I admit that I have no explanation for why my shoulder is suddenly pain free, just as I have no explanation for why it got hurt in the first place. But to the Christian, no explanation is the same as a miraculous explanation. There is no explanation for why this happened! So Jesus is the only explanation! Miracles do exist, and I can prove it! One happened to me just this morning! I will stand up in church and testify when the pastor asks for a Praise Report.
Now what do I think as a non-believer? I have no idea, but I called my mom this morning for Mother’s Day, and I think she had the best answer. “Sudden aches and pains that come and go? Well, you are 50 years old now…”
Who needs miracles when you have mom?