by Duane Bemis

Embracing Personal Pain and Suffering
Duane Bemis

I was in high school in 1968 when I first broke my neck. I was at wrestling practice. I should have been listening to my coach but I was watching the cheerleaders. Hence, the coach called on me and I acted as though I knew what was happening. I stepped out onto the mat and failed miserably. I landed on the top of my head and fractured one of my vertebrae.

They took me to the doctor and he thought I was suffering from a bad neck strain. Three weeks later and I was still in pain the doctor decided to take x-rays. He came out into the waiting room and told me I have fractured the fifth vertebrae in my neck. I was sixteen when I began my journey with my friend pain.

In 1973 I survived a 45 m.p.h. head-on-automobile accident hitting the steering wheel and breaking my nose, neck, and many ribs. Once again I did more damage to my vertebrae in my neck. I spent time in traction and rehabilitation.

Since that time I have lived with personal pain and suffering as a daily routine. I can echo with the Psalmist when he wrote:

I have been afflicted and ready to die from my youth; I suffer Your terrors; I am distraught. Your fierce wrath has gone over me; Your terrors have cut me off. They came around me all day long like water; They engulfed me altogether. Loved one and friend You have put far from me, and my acquaintances into darkness. (Psalm 88:15-18)

At times it has felt as though even God does not care how much I hurt. This thorn in my flesh has taken many productive days right out from under my feet. I never knew this would be a part of embracing my cross. I never knew this was on the road to the miraculous, the blessings, and His favor. But I have found just that, I found His favor, His blessings, and His miracles.

I have undergone three neck surgeries since 1973. Right at this moment I have a metal titanium plate installed in my neck and it is held in place with 6 titanium sc ...

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