Ten long, arduous years of more suffering than relief. Years of refining and learning every lesson that could be gleaned from each painful trial. Hard lessons that wouldn’t have been gained otherwise. That’s why they became so valuable, like goodly pearls. Ten years that saw also the flourishing of a relationship between the redeemed and her Redeemer, a love story in its highest and purest form – that of the expectant Bride to her Bridegroom who is coming again soon.
(image from Google)
Ten years that flowed and ebbed in terms of spiritual victory but always drove the redeemed running to her Savior and King and plunging herself at His feet. The relationship deepening each time. Indeed, that road between her and her merciful Savior is a road well-travelled. A beaten track. Always at the end of that road are the everlasting arms opened wide to receive her. She cannot remember a time that she was not welcomed by the kind King.
But in-between episodes of partial healing and relief is the incessant, unrelenting suffering. How could one live with it in ten long, excruciating years? Would the lessons and learning never end? Maybe they don’t. Maybe we need to be constantly reminded by this: …Offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness (Rom. 6:19 NIV).
Why is there no permanent reprieve? It’s alright to forgo understanding of the divine, of things we can hardly grasp, but when physical suffering is involved, one sometimes becomes a “spiritual zombie”. Beyond feeling. For a moment.
I have experienced a spirit-numbing kind of physical suffering. After the nth bout of the day, over an hour of wrestling with difficulties that pummelled the flesh, I am left wrung and beaten to a pulp. Spent. I try to think about the God whose name I had endlessly uttered in every painstaking incomplete breath while going through the storm of suffering. But the mind and spirit are as spent as the flesh.
Could one just stare blankly at the heavens? Could one just stand before the Almighty with silent painful questions? One wouldn’t even know how to start a prayer. If you have been pounding on heaven’s door day and night to beg God to please take away the suffering, that would He please heap up upon you His mercies and liberate you at last – but answer comes with more of the suffering, longer and more intense – what do you do then? Where do you go?
These were my questions to my husband as tears ran their course down my face. It’s painful, I told Him, to know that God doesn’t seem to hear your heartfelt pleas. But when he asked me if I wanted to undergo the “local version” of stem cell therapy for my healing that he’s been reading about, I asked tentatively, “What will they do to me?”
When he answered, I knew it isn’t for me. I mean, it isn’t for me to migrate my faith from the Greatest Physician to stem cell therapy or any other medical intervention. As I said this, I could sense the shining face of the Lord Jesus just above me. The tears streamed as I told my husband that my faith, and hence, my life, will always be in the hands of my Lord and King. And I knew for certain that He heard that one.
My fresh profession of faith has once again rekindled my fervent love for my Savior. It has brought me ever closer to Him. And I believe, that’s the greater blessing.
I hold this pearl in my hands, turning it this way and that, trying to squeeze it of its life-giving power.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)
It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. Why then do I sometimes live like Christ is dead in me? Why do I sometimes forget that His very life must give life to my whole being, therefore, I can avail of His very strength and power and wholeness? Shall we let suffering paralyze our faith and make our love wax cold? Or shall we not yield ourselves to it and let it finish its course knowing that there is nothing the Lord allows to happen in our lives that He Himself had not planned nor foreseen the end of it?
Shall we not let suffering open new avenues on which we can come nearer to God?
So, I will be talking constantly to Him as much as I want to talk about Him.
I might be linking up with these lovely blogs.
Journey with Jesus,