There is Joy in the Pain

Written by Denise Sjoberg, Easter Member

My husband Mike has been struggling for the past year with an ankle injury that won’t heal, due to diabetic neuropathy. It has been a long, often difficult road, with four surgeries, a boot, a scooter and a lot of pain. The most recent surgery has failed, causing his whole ankle to collapse. It barely even resembles a foot anymore.

Recently we have decided, along with a phalanx of ankle surgeons, that the only remaining option is amputation and a prosthesis (artificial leg). It was shocking to hear those words. Amputation. Prosthesis. What? This is not how we planned things. This is not what we expected out of life.

We have been thinking about this over the past two plus weeks, and have settled in to the inevitability of the surgery, and have begun looking forward to a life full of possibilities – walking, fishing, golfing, COACHING, and all the things that come with having two good legs.

All through this process, it has never occurred to me to wonder where God is in this mess. Never. I know that God is with us, in us, before us and around us as we go through not only the trauma of what is going on, but all the little every day things. We still stop to appreciate God’s work in a beautiful winter sunset, or in the hoar frost and sun dogs that can accompany a very cold morning. We still marvel at how wonderful, smart, friendly and faith-filled our kids are.

But we are most amazed and joy-filled at the outpouring of support this week as we let people know what is going on with Mike and what the future holds for us. Mike has received dozens of calls, emails and CaringBridge posts from people near and far. Those we see daily and others we haven’t seen in 20 years. Offers of help and prayers, jokes (especially jokes) lift us up and remind us even more of how there really is joy in the pain.

The pain isn’t the only thing. It never is. God is in the pain, joy is in the pain. Friends are there, prayers are, too. Everyday life is in the pain, and that doesn’t ever end – even if you are facing surgery to remove a leg, you still have to unload the dishwasher sometimes!

I woke up with this song in my heart. It is beautiful and filling. Google it and listen if you have a moment.

I Am Not Alone
By Kari Jobe

When I walk through deep waters
I know that You will be with me
When I’m standing in the fire
I will not be overcome
Through the valley of the shadow
I will not fear

I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

In the midst of deep sorrow
I see Your light is breaking through
The dark of night will not overtake me
I am pressing into You
Lord, You fight my every battle
And I will not fear

You amaze me
Redeem me
You call me as Your own

You’re my strength
You’re my defender
You’re my refuge in the storm
Through these trials
You’ve always been faithful
You bring healing to my soul

Mike’s surgery is scheduled for Friday, March 6. You can follow his journey at

2 thoughts on “There is Joy in the Pain

  1. denise,
    i saw your FB post about mike’s surgery – then followed the trail to this post – thank you for the beautifully written update – admiring your choice of perspective and sending up prayers…
    meanwhile, may you receive encouragement in this promise of blessing:
    Numbers 6:24-26
    24 ‘May the Lord bless you
    and protect you.
    25 May the Lord smile on you
    and be gracious to you.
    26 May the Lord show you his favor
    and give you his peace.’
    because it matters, jayne


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