Elisabeth Elliot wrote in her book A Path Through Suffering about Amy Carmichael’s own suffering:
“Amy Carmichael wrote of being so weak she could not think or pray, but she took comfort from the psalm, ‘Let the lifting up of my hands be as the evening sacrifice’ (Psalm 141:2, AV). She was able simply to lift them to the Lord, a gesture of acceptance, of adoration, of faith.”
I can easily relate to that. When the onslaught of physical suffering leaves me too weak to move and I have no other resort but to yield myself to it, I think of something to hold onto until the storm is past. But unlike Amy Carmichael, during those “walks through the valley of the shadow of death”, I have only my mind to use. When my suffering batters me, I can hardly lift a finger, let alone raise my hands to worship. Sometimes, even my mind is too panicked to think straight. But I have long trained my mind to concentrate on something, as long as it doesn’t make my breathing all the more difficult.
While I wait for relief, I almost always recite this nonstop: Hallelujah! Praise the Lord in Jesus’ Name!
At other times, I can’t even do that, so I just wrap my brain around something that would strengthen me, physically and spiritually. One time, I imagined myself slumped in front of God’s throne in heaven. I imagined the floor I was laid on as clear as glass, surrounded by the thrones of the 24 elders, while before me on the altar were the beautiful colors of the rainbow, lightnings and thunderings and multitudes of angels all around. I imagined the Lord sitting on His throne, silent, as I lay before Him, unmoving. Then, I framed myself and the throne, froze and held that thought until I felt the beginnings of relief.
Another time, it was more difficult than at other times because I couldn’t even imagine the throne room, I just managed to think of myself grabbing at the Lord Jesus’ hem and holding onto it, never letting go, until I began to recover from the bout of difficulties.
These are all manifestations of my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that He alone can help me.
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Phil. 4:8, emphasis mine)
Sometimes the suffering gets impossibly hard and I could feel my heart hardening like a steel. But I don’t want to feel resentful or bitter because there is no other target of these feelings but God who could help me and deliver me if He chose to. So, I try hard to think about something in the Bible which could shed light to my hard life and make the suffering bearable. Most of all, I don’t want my love and adoration to the Lord diminished. I am shunning those Job-like complaints and bitterness of soul. Plainly put, I don’t want to feel angry at God.
One time I thought of these passages and drew strength from them:
“…and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” (Heb. 11:35-40)
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. (Heb. 11:13-16)
I emerged from the storm of physical suffering at that time not feeling resentful to God.
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Journey with Jesus,