Devotional THought of the Day:
2 He has sent me to proclaim That the time has come When the LORD will save his people And defeat their enemies. He has sent me to comfort all who mourn, Isaiah 61:2 (TEV)
13 I will comfort you in Jerusalem, as a mother comforts her child. 14 When you see this happen, you will be glad; it will make you strong and healthy. Then you will know that I, the LORD, help those who obey me, and I show my anger against my enemies.” Isaiah 66:13-14 (TEV)
“Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” (1)
It lies on my phone in wait for certain messages, just sitting there, a ring tone tied to email’s, text messages and fb messages.
I put it there originally tied to a name or ten, whose messages usually herald some kind of suffering. Now, faced with the truth, it heralds all messages. (btw – if you think you name was the one it was attached to, that probably means either that it wasn’t or was…)
As I approach fifty, I am more and more convinced that “the man in Black”/aka Wesley/aka the dread pirate Roberts was correct, Life is pain. Or as Buddha is credited as saying, “Life is suffering”.
Some of it is physical, like my body is wracking me with pain presently, because I worked out this morning, or because of the health issues I have faced all my life. Some of it is spiritual/emotional, like the grieving that I went through 2 weeks ago, as I walked along the shoreline where my dad and I walked so many times. Or the anxiety that comes from being a father and pastor, as I worry about those who I have been given the responsibility for shepherding towards God.
Some of the pain is second hand, which doesn’t mean it is any less, thought it is different. The pain and suffering that occurs naturally when we encounter people in our familes (biological, communal, church) that are suffering. Paul wrote about this to the church in Rome, “Share the happiness of those who are happy, the sorrow of those who are sad. Live in harmony with each other. Romans 12:15-16 (Phillips NT) That harmony means we do suffer together, though the notes we sound are different, they resonate together.
Life is pain…..
And The Man in Black is correct, many will try and sell you something to fix it. Some things will be dreams, or distractions that addict. Some will sell the promise of ignoring the pain, which is ultimately more painful.
LIfe is Pain….yet, as Princess Buttercup desired, it should not be mocked.
Even if we think it isn’t that painful, or it is exaggerated, or they are just whiny, pathetic people who don’t know what real suffering is, because they haven’t been in the pit of despair. There is a reason life hurts, and while we may say this is what pains us, it may be something much deeper.
The answer to life’s pain isn’t found in the latest self help book, or in the latest drug, or this or that relationship. It won’t be found on the other side of the continent (as I often wonder ) or in that perfect job.
It is found in an instrument of pain and suffering. It is found at the cross. For there, we find healing, we find the promise of God’s love fulfilled. We find God bringing comfort to us, That is why the first quote above was read by Christ in the synagogie, and the reason He could confirm it’s fulfillment. He is our comfort, He is the assurance of our peace.
In Him, suffering becomes something different. I have a hard ime explaining that, but I’ve seen it to many times, in hospice patients, in church members lives, in my own. I can’t call it nobility, but there is a quality of endurance and courage as we find sustenance and peace that is more than that. It isn’t inner strength, for while we barely endure, we are all to aware it isn’t by our strength.
I know no other way to describe it than to say, it is grace. It is a gift of God to us, to those around us, to know He is there, sustaining, reconciling, bringing healing beyond belief to our souls, and the hope of eternity in our lives.
This isn’t for sale, and we would discount it in this life because it isn’t so easily found. Yet this peace we know of, and in Christ experience, knowing its value, because life is pain.
Lord have mercy upon us, Christ have mercy upon us, Lord have mercy upon us.
(1) from the movie, “The Princess Bride”