All Posts Tagged ‘pain

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Pain isn’t meaningless

portrait of crying dirty girl holding rose

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. (Psalm 147:3-4 ESV)

There is One who tenderly heals those who are suffering in the most hidden of places. When pain tears you apart within yet there is nothing external for anyone to see, nobody understands your despair, but God knows.

He knows and He heals. Jesus will bandage the wounds that are hurting now, He has no intention of letting you haemorrhage where you stand. From there God will follow through with healing – not just first-aid, full healing.

What I’ve just written could be passed off as the shallow words of a prosperity preacher – I’m not claiming God will make our lives pain free.

What Psalm 147 tells us is that God’s will is to heal the broken hearted, and He has the power and authority to do so. God placed every star in the universe (and stars are rather big!), they exist because God wills them to exist. So we can be assured of ultimately being healed – Jesus said himself this is why he came (Luke 4:18-19).

Knowing that God both desires our healing and is able to make it happen means the pain we currently experience cannot be meaningless. God knows about it, and has for some reason chosen not to fix it right now. We cannot know God’s reasons, but we can know that there is a reason. Small comfort when you are in pain, yet a lot better than meaninglessness.

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Love in pain

Recently I have been a bit stuck for what I should be writing about. There are some topics I’d like to address, but I’ve felt as though this is not the correct time for me to venture my as yet partially-formed thoughts on certain issues.

Then this morning while my son trashed our house and I enjoyed a cup of tea, God reminded me that the greatest thing I can do is to know Him, to meditate upon the perfections of Christ and to share the glory of this with you.

Perhaps the most obvious of Christ’s perfections is his love. I want to consider the love of Jesus even in His pain.

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
(John 13:1-5 ESV)

Jesus loved His disciples not only through many weary miles of ministry on dusty roads, He loved them through their betrayals and in His deepest times of agony. He loved them to the end.

At this time when He knew His betrayer had ‘gone over to the dark side’ and He knew that His disciples would all scatter and run from Him, Jesus continues to love. He does not retreat into being wrapped up in His own trials and misery, He does the opposite. Laying aside the clothing of a man, Jesus takes the place of a servant and voluntarily undertakes the most demeaning of tasks.

The act of washing feet introduces Christ’s final discourse to His disciples. Jesus has much to communicate to them, but the overall message is “love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). The ultimate example of His love is yet to come, this command is given knowing that He indeed will not shrink back, that He will love them to the end.

Jesus is fully God. He is also fully man. This means that the pain of following through on what love required hurt Him every bit as much as it would hurt me. I have no grounds to dismiss what Jesus endured as being impossible for me because I am not God – He experienced the pain of it just as much as I would. In that pain He continued to love. Through pain Jesus made good His promises. In agony He forgave. While being tortured He refused to call upon angels to take the easy way out.

When I am in pain you see me at my worst. I will be irritable, short tempered, selfish, unkind to others, refuse to forsake comfort, impatient and withdrawn. What I will not be is loving.

This is sin.

It is dishonouring to Jesus.

Such behaviour reveals my lack of trust in God.

Paul proved that it is possible for a man to love through pain (2 Corinthians 4:7-18), the cost is high but the gain to everyone is beyond our usual ability to measure things:

For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (2 Corinthians 4:11 ESV)

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV)

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Headache in a hailstorm

Christians have various ways of spending time with God, trying to engage with Him and experience His Spirit in their lives. Some find a quiet place and meditate upon the Bible, or pray, some write in a journal, others sing, listen or play music. There are many other means to cultivating an experience of God’s presence in our lives also, many folks are very creative in worshiping Christ.

One of the ways I get some time out with God is by taking our two dogs for a walk up the hill near our house through a reserve of scrub and pine trees that is criss-crossed with mountain bike tracks. The combination of fresh air, being out in a natural environment, the view across the city and hills and some time alone to think, often enables me to notice God’s presence with me more than I normally do in the busyness of life. As the weather warms up I will spend more time ‘up the hill’ with the dogs, so hopefully the musings and ponderings from there will result in a few worthwhile blog posts. Sometimes (like on Sunday) I take my camera so there may also be some pictures of what catches my attention, other days it will be seeing with the eyes of my heart through the window of words alone.

Part of my motivation to get out for a walk on Sunday was the headache which was brewing, the result of too little sleep and being inside too much over the weekend. So despite another spring storm I made an effort and was much better for it. A walk in the cold wind helps me to appreciate simple things, such as a warm jacket and woolly hat, especially as the hail came down.

Something I noticed was that the storms a few weeks ago had toppled some trees, including one that had been killed by fire. This poor lone pine had stood stoically for several years after the fire, seemingly solid until it finally came down with a resounding crash. So I had a closer look at where it had broken off.

What became clear was that despite it’s solid-looking exterior (albeit somewhat charred), the inside of this tree was rotten. Dry rot and insects had been eating away from the inside, weakening the structure of the wood until it became inevitable that it would fall. A strong wind hastened it’s demise, but the end of this tree had begun whenever that rot had begun deep inside it.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
(Matthew 23:27-28 ESV)

We all have rottenness inside our hearts, it is there festering and growing unless we combat it actively to prevent it destroying the very fabric and structure of our lives.

Unlike this unfortunate tree, there is a way to redeem the rotten core of our lives if we will commit ourselves into the mercy of God.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
(Romans 12:2a ESV)