Sunday, November 16, 2008

Making Sense of Pain

God, Where are You? ... in my pain? my suffering?

Suffering and pain may mystify us when we are living close to God, but the Bible and many saints call us to hold on...don't give up...there is every reason to hope.

This series on "Pain" has to be God's idea. I would never devote a week of my life to pursuing the understanding of pain in the Christian life of my own choosing. Let me remind you that I'm not new to the Christian journey. I well remember Dr. Jack Taylor coming to the podium at a conference many years ago, "I should of known when I agreed to speak on Where' s God in Our Pain? that I would have a new fresh experience with pain." Poor man had a kidney stone and had passed it the day before. Miraculously he had recovered enough to fly from Florida to North Carolina in time to speak to us at his appointed time on the program about pain.

I haven't passed a kidney stone, but I have had some fresh pain as an intercessor with family and friends. I won't have to try to remember the feeling of a turkey flying down my throat and an elephant flopping on my, I have been with sufferers who brought me right back to that feeling.

I've read much in a short time to hope to give honor to this serious topic. This has even become painful!!! Hopefully at the end of this week God will shed some light to overcome your darkness where you suffer. I sense that one measure of good out of our suffering is that God ignites us to be light in our worlds. Probably the kindling of that fire is our carnal or human stuff that is not in alignment with God's Kingdom. So my prayer today is for Jesus to shine! May He shine through each of us....our world needs His light.

I surely do not have the wisdom for this subject so I'm bringing you the best of the best from all I've read.:

Tim Hansel is one my favorite authors and he writes in The Hidden Adventure:

"The Christian life is not difficult. It's downright impossible. It's designed that way. If we could do it through achievements, we wouldn't need the grace of God."

“I have refined you, but not as silver is refined.
Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.” [Isaiah 48:10]

I've suffered with such excruciating pain that I questioned everything. Sometimes the pain would come so greatly I would cry out, "God are You here? I cant' sense Your presence....God, where are You?"

Some of you may not have hurt that much. I understand that...but when your only daughter at 26 is diagnosed with an acute brain tumor and the tests don't look hopeful at goes in hyper drive. I will never forget all that went through my heart and mind and soul that day.

Chuck Colson had a similar sense when his son and his daughter were diagnosed with cancer within a short his pain,

"Faith becomes strongest when we are without consolation and walk into the darkness with complete abandon. Faith is not really faith, is it, if we always hear the still voice of God cheering us on? The gift of faith is most real when we trust even when every outward reality tells us there is no reason to do so. In times of trouble, evangelicals need more than the cheerful tunes and easy answers. And we can find it by digging deeply into the Church's treasures to find the reality of what it is like to worship God--not because of our circumstances, but in spite of them. This year, I've realized that God is not just the friend who takes my hand--which He does so often--but the great, majestic Creator who reigns forever."

I shudder to imagine how I could have made it through our daughter's brain tumors before she was totally healed and wonderfully restored had I not been a follower of Elisabeth Elliot. I listened to her radio programs daily, I read her books and I made a way to attend her conferences whenever she spoke near my home. Briefly: Elisabeth Elliot Gren, Christian author and evangelist. Her first husband, Jim Elliot, was killed in 1956 while attempting to make missionary contact with the Huaorani of eastern Ecuador. She later spent two years as a missionary to the tribe members who killed her husband. Returning to the United States after many years in South America, she became widely known as the author of over twenty books and as a speaker in constant demand.

Tomorrow I will dedicate the post to this great saint, but in closing may we all be blessed by her expensive wisdom and understanding:

"Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering....
The love of God did not protect His own Son....
He will not necessarily protect us - not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process."

Elisabeth Elliot always defined suffering as,
"Anything you have that you don't want, or anything you want, but you don't have."

I tremble as I speak on a subject so controversial. I don't wrangle over words, but many of Your children do. I ask You to come to each of us in our pain and show us what You want each of us to see at this point on our journey in life. My heart is tender to the ones who may be reading here, and I ask for light to shine in their lives. In the name of our suffering Saviour, Jesus Christ, who endured everything we may ever go through. AMEN

You know your comments are welcome and your view point gives life to this blog.

1 comment:

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Great post and great timing for me. I look forward to reading more. Lifting prayer for you.
Much love,

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.