Have you ever experienced desperation in the true sense of the word?
Most people despair when their well-being or the well-being of their loved ones is compromised. I had the privilege to help someone in despair recently. It was woman with history of chronic pain who just woke up from surgery and who was in severe pain.
Patients who become tolerant to narcotics can be very challenging to manage in the peri-operative setting because pain medications do not work on them like they do in a narcotic-naive person.
Despite large amount of medications already administered during the surgery and immediately afterwards, she was in tremendous pain. I looked in her eyes and I saw desperation. She told me something no patient ever told me:
“I will pay whatever it takes, just take this pain away”
Since large doses of intra-venous narcotics were not helping, I resorted to an old, rarely used drug that is classified as a muscle relaxant. The result was that it relieved the muscle spasm around the surgical site and the patient felt much better.
It was a striking experience because we rarely observe sheer desperation in everyday life. When was the last time you someone utterly desperate? The thing that comes to mind is a parent whose child has been hurt or someone whose life is in imminent danger.
As powerful and scary as desperation can be, it cannot be compared to the feeling that many people will have one day when they realize they will spend eternity apart from God in the place called hell. In the parable of the ten virgins, the five unwise ones desperately went out to buy oil for their lamps, only to return too late. The bridegroom had returned and the wedding feast had begun. Jesus had returned and taken his Church, and the unwise virgins (the compromised “Christians”) received the shock of their life:
‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Matt 25:11
Imagine the despair. The regret. The anger. To be enlightened, to know the truth, to share to some extent in the experience of the wise virgins, but ultimately to be left outside…
There can be no greater failure.
The honest desperation I saw on my patient’s face will be nothing compared to what the fallen Christian will experience when he will be left behind.
I would like to use this example in order to exhort Delight in Truth followers to a life of holiness worthy of our salvation. We must raise our awareness for this spiritual truth, that salvation belongs to the Lord but we are active participants in the process!
Avoid regret and desperation on that final day and instead be ready for your glorification!