Grappling with God: A Test of Faith

Jacob Wrestling the Angel



Living a life of faith is not necessarily easy – but it’s worth the struggle!  Pursuing a relationship with God is like enrolling in a course that will challenge you beyond anything you could ever imagine.  And yet, isn’t it those tough courses that are the most rewarding – the ones you look back on and think about most fondly?  Choosing to pursue a relationship with God is like that.  It provides you with unending opportunities to learn, grow and be transformed.   Let me share with you an example from my own life.  I share this story in the introduction of my soon to be released book, Surprised by God: A Journey of Divine Discovery.

On November 17, 2008, I went in for hip replacement surgery. My wife Sue, and my daughter, Lauren, was with me at the hospital. I was prepared mentally and physically. I felt so good I was even able to joke beforehand with the doctors and nurses.

The procedure went beautifully. Sue suggested that I ask the nurse for some pain medication. She advised me to get in front of the wave of discomfort that was surely ahead of me. I assured her I was fine – better than I ever anticipated. I was flying high with a sense of well being and confidence once again in my physical ability. I was so certain of how well I was doing that I sent Sue and Lauren home to get some rest.

What I didn’t realize at the time, however, was that the effects of the anesthesia hadn’t worn off completely. It was deadening the pain I should have been feeling. Once it did wear off, I was plunged into an abyss of agony. The reality of the surgery – in effect having my leg sawed off and then attached to an artificial hip – began to set in.

All night in my hospital room I wrestled with the worst pain I had ever experienced. The hospital administered medication to give me some relief, but the pain was still unbearable. Making matters worse, the medication made me hallucinate. I experienced the sensation of falling asleep and then I would awaken, believing that I had been out for an hour or two. When I looked at the clock, however, only a few seconds had gone by. This happened again and again, all night long, believing I was asleep only to awaken confused three seconds later.

As I battled the pain, though, I was never alone. Throughout the night, I was sustained by the constant feeling that God was with me: I had not been abandoned. As I grappled for answers, including to the most terrifying question of all – who was I in the physically debilitated state? – God was on the other side of my struggle.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:37-39

How about we go on this journey together?

8 Responses to “Grappling with God: A Test of Faith”
  1. Kathy Calvert 12 September 2015 at 1:24 pm #

    Amen, Rich. Have experienced that disorienting pain in the past. It is a frightening experience!
    But, God is faithful. He does enable us to go through anything and everything, and He goes with us.

    • Rich 14 September 2015 at 6:45 pm #

      Thanks Kathy for your support. Yes, pain is a powerful instructor–many important lessons learned through our hardships and challenges. Yes, God is good and we are so blessed.

      I am so excited to have SBG being published. I should be getting books delivered in 30 days. Can’t wait to send you a copy.

      All the best,


  2. Sue Blue 12 September 2015 at 3:34 pm #

    Wonderful! I love the way you bring God into our daily life and help me see His ever-present involvement in our lives.

    • Rich 14 September 2015 at 6:45 pm #

      Thanks for your ongoing love and support.

  3. Phil 12 September 2015 at 3:44 pm #

    A story of courage and understanding–thanks for sharing the inspiration! Life sure does seem to teach us a lot.

    • Rich 14 September 2015 at 6:46 pm #

      Thanks Phil. I treasure how you walked through those times of testing by my side. You are a good man.

  4. Lauren Schifferdecker 12 September 2015 at 8:28 pm #

    It’s such a comfort to know that even when our bodies strength give out, we are not separated from God’s love. You have always been one of the strongest people I know. It’s no accident that God spoke so strongly to you in a physical way. So cool!

    • Rich 14 September 2015 at 6:48 pm #

      Thank you Lauren. I too am grateful that God knows how to get my attention and keep it! I think it is quite clear I am a kinesthetic learner.

Leave a Reply

You are currently reading "Grappling with God: A Test of Faith"

Published: 11.09.2015 / 11:37 PM

Category: Uncategorized