I wanted to write a series of blog post on pain that not only would comfort those who are physically or emotionally going through pain, but would move those in distress to embrace their suffering for the medicine it can be. I mean no disrespect or lack of empathy.
Mark Twain once said, “Write what you know.” After becoming disabled in my late 30’s, and being declared fully disabled at 42, I know a bit about pain on a personal level. Pain and suffering don’t just affect us; it affects everyone around us. Like Miriam, the camp was stuck seven days while she was placed outside due to her tongue. Like Jonah, who was on the run, the passengers of the ship lost all their cargo due to him running away from his assignment. This too is painful.
Pain is a topic every person has experienced in one way or another. Not just physical pain, but pain that comes in colors of grey. Weighted down pain that keeps you awake at night. The pain of feeling invisible, not good enough, or unloved can be excruciating. Loneliness, heartbreak, depression, fears, and yes, a body that no longer functions as it used to, all evoke PAIN.
I believe when we are dealing with pain of any nature, we must first accept our circumstances and feel every ounce of it. Let me explain.
How can we reach a point where we feel loneliness with all its shades of barrenness, nakedness, and an emptiness that causes us to ask of it, “Loneliness, who am I? Loneliness why am I here? Alone. What am I created to do? Loneliness, will anyone ever love me?”
Can we reach a place where we drink loneliness like a hot herbal tea with honey and allow it to do its complete work without calling someone on our cell phone, leaving the house, or getting on social media to drown out the sound of silence?
Silence is LOUD.
It rushes into a room, and it takes it over. It can suffocate us. The walls lean inward and ask us where our friends are? Family? Mate? Anyone? The echoes of loneliness chill the bones.
With this empty place, we understand what Out Father feels like when we don’t commune with Him, or we bring empty words instead of a heart longing to know Him in the secret place. A heart that wants His breath to fill our empty dead womb—our empty rooms. Instead of chasing knowledge and noise, our soul becomes silent like a weaned child. We wrap ourselves in the comfort of His Light. His love. We become still and Know He is YAH! We embrace ourselves and feel every bit of the emptiness. The silence.
Or take fear as the subject matter for pain. Losing everything in my life due to my health brought fear. How could I keep my home with no income? I couldn’t. Who would provide for me? Abandoned by my husband and even many of my friends due to my health taught me to trust The Father. Each day was met with Him showing up and providing for my needs—food, shelter, clothing, a vehicle and so forth. The loss of all my material possessions reminded me to consider a prophet who lived by a brook and birds fed him. Soak in the pain and see what He is doing underneath. What type of medicine is your pain providing?
When life is hard, we journal–we meditate, and we often discover the root of our pain, and it’s not at all what we thought it was or who we blamed for it. It’s deeper.
Have you ever embraced pain like an old recliner and sat in it while meditating on a passage like Psalms 22?
“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. O, my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest.” 22:1-2 (NASB).
Further, into the passage, we feel all the suffering of a Servant named Yeshua.
I am a worm and not a man, a reproach of men and despised by the people.
All who see me sneer at me. . .
“I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death.
For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me;” 22:6, 7, 14-17.
The imagery makes us feel as if we are right there in the story looking down at our bones. And we are, but can we drink the cup?
They stare at me.
They pick me apart.
I’m in such agony and suffering that one cannot tell if I am human.
They cast lots for my clothing.
Do people desire your clothing? Your gifting? Your knowledge? Your fan club? Or has your coat been stripped from you like Tamar’s prophetic mantle she tore after being assaulted? Joseph’s bloodstained coat? Are you scraping your oozing sores with a piece of broken pottery? Are dogs salivating around you in this season? Are you encircled with men who despise you?
Another sickness not mentioned much at the doctor’s office is pride.
Can we count our bones or is our flesh fat? Are we murmuring or finding fault with everyone but ourselves? Is quail meat coming out of our nostrils or has our heart melted like the light of a Sabbath candle? Slowly pouring out, dripping, and bending into the flame, like a humble servant.
“The psalmist cried, “My heart is like wax.”
What type of circumstances causes us to fall on our faces and seek His Face?
A winning lottery ticket? A title of prestige? A successful business? A bestselling novel? No. But receive word that your spouse has Cancer, your sibling just took their life, your prodigal child’s off sowing wild oats, or you find yourself financially strapped, to the point you’re losing everything you own, and BAM, the knees bow. The cry comes forth. Be not far from me, Adonai! Come quickly and rescue me! Hear my cries Oh Father of LIGHT!
I am humbled by Psalms 22. I am reminded that there is no pain that our King has not felt. He knows us personally and the fellowship of our suffering, but do we know Him and the fellowship of His suffering?
Is suffering a good medicine?
“Therefore, since Messiah suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. . .” 1st Peter 4:1 (ISR).
Paul said, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:10-11 (NASB).
Can we be conformed to death of self, flesh, our stinking desires and complaints of lack and just break open a vial of oil and bathe Him in it? Oh, Abba give us the grace to DIE and feel pain as a medicine!
“Then Miriam took a pound[a] of very expensive oil of pure nard and anointed Yeshua’s feet, and she wiped His feet dry with her hair. Now the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.” John 12:3 (TLV).
Shemen is the Hebrew word for oil. This word also has Shem in it for The Name.
“For fragrance your oils are good. Your name is oil poured forth, Therefore the maidens love you. Draw me! We run after you.” Song of Solomon 1:3-4 (ISR).
A house filled with the fragrance of oil sounds amazing. Ponder our own temples and The Body of Yeshua in one accord, fragrant and smeared in oil. A bird bath of oil. Oh, Anointed One come save us! Smear us! Wash us! Save us from being fat with health and wearing pride like a necklace and stopping the oil from coming forth. Make us as One and as little children.
How does the passage in Psalms 22 end? It ends with a great proclamation of what happens at the end of suffering and it’s sweet. It’s fragrant. It’s oily. The crushing of a flower—an olive, a soul.
“ For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the lowly one. Nor has He hidden His face from him, but when he cried to Him, He heard.
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to Adonai. All the families of the nations will bow down before You.
For the kingdom belongs to Adonai, and He rules over the nations.
All the rich of the earth will feast and worship. Everyone who goes down to the dust will kneel before Him— even the one who could not keep his own soul alive. His posterity will serve him, telling the next generation about my Lord. They will come and declare His righteousness to a people yet to be born— because He has done it!” Psalm 22:25, 28-32 (TLV).
HE HAS DONE IT!
In part #2 we will look at health and what a person suffering might need from others. I will also touch on Torah and Science and how knowledge of pain can actually bring more compassion and empathy to those we love who are suffering, not less. This series will also inspect those around us and how they can affect us for good or infect us with a taint in the anointing or worse, sickness and dis-ease.
If this message ministered to you in any way, please feel free to share.
Photos by Tekoa, and beautiful bird bathing by Andrew (Andy).