I was sound asleep when it started. I knew I was asleep but somehow I carried on a regular conversation with myself.
“You are too asleep to do anything about this. Even if you woke Keith up, he could not hear you. Maybe you could point.” So I whacked him across the chest with my left arm. He sat straight up in bed shouting, “Hunh? What’s happening?” He turned on the light.
By then it had started. I was still asleep, but I was bouncing rhythmically and grunting, “Uh—uh—uh” with every bounce. He thought I was having convulsions and about to die.
“What’s wrong? What’s wrong? What’s wrong?!!!”
I was still asleep and could not answer him. Even if I had been awake, I probably could not have said anything. It hurt that badly. Finally I managed to point (still sleeping), and somehow—being married for 39 years maybe?—he figured it out. I had a charley horse. But which leg? He just grabbed the one nearest and started pushing against my heel and rubbing my calf muscle. He got the right leg—actually the left leg, but it was the right one.
Finally I woke up. I lifted my toes and pushed against his hand. Five minutes later it was over with, but I still had a knot in my calf muscle the next morning and it took fifteen minutes before I could walk flat-footed.
Charley horses must be the worst pain possible for something that is so harmless. They will not kill you—you just wish they would for a minute or two. Then you realize that it will soon be over and everything will be fine.
That is the way the early Christians dealt with trials and persecution. Peter says, now for a little while, if necessary, you have been put to grief in many trials. He recognized that they were grievous, they did hurt, but they were only “for a little while.” After telling his readers that they would suffer, the Hebrew writer says, For you have need of patience, that, having done the will of God, you may receive the promise. For yet a very little while, He who comes shall come, and shall not tarry Heb 10:36,37.
Sometimes that grief is tremendous. It certainly was for those Christians. We all recognize that we must die. We know that one or the other spouse will, in most cases, go before the other. That is normal. We all know that we will bury our parents. That is the natural order. It still hurts, but we understand it. When the unnatural happens, it hurts even more. I have known women who dealt with widowhood in their 30s and 40s. My own in-laws buried a ten year old daughter whom cancer had stolen from them. I cannot imagine the pain. I know one good sister who had to endure both of those things—a widow at 40 and an only child, a daughter, who died unexpectedly a long time before she did.
How did she make it? She realized that these trials are transitory. They do not last. That trite old saying is trite because it is true, “This too will pass.” Only one thing lasts—the joy we will have as we exist forever with our Father and Savior. Hang on to that hope.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, who by the power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been put to grief in manifold trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perishes though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ: whom not having seen you love; on whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Pet 1:3-9.