Skip to main content

The Presentness of Pain

I think of a physician whose son was born with an incurable birth defect, leaving him crippled for life. I asked the father how he felt when he, who had dedicated his life to treating the illnesses of other people, was confronted with an incurable condition in his own son. He told me his biggest problem was the tendency to capsule the next twenty years of his son’s life into that initial moment when he learned of his son’s condition. Viewed that way, the adversity was overwhelming. God does not give twenty years of grace today. Rather, He gives it day by day. As the song says, “Day by day, and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here; trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.”
- Jerry Bridges
(Source: Trusting God)

Bridges captures very well the challenge of pain and suffering. The challenge is simply that in the moment of pain the future is infinitely distant. Pain is in the here and now. The past no longer matters and the future becomes irrelevant. Pain forces us to face the reality that all is not well now. The presentness of pain is what made Job curse the days of his conception and birth. It is very difficult to think of the future when you are in that moment of pain. I think that is why prayer is so difficult when we need it most - in that moment of pain. Prayer calls us to turn to God and his ordained future. Pain works in the opposite direction.


What makes it doubly challenging is that everyone else around us is obsessed with the blessings of today. The world is about living the moment. It does not live with an eternal perspective in mind. So when pain and suffering knocks on our door there's very few places we can go to be genuinely reminded to live with forever in mind. I remember some years ago I was in a prayer meeting when to my disbelief some lady started offering prayers on my supposed behalf which were completely off tangent. Of course often such praying is merely seeking gossip, but at the core of it is an obsession of the present. A preoccuption with having our needs met today rather than asking what God has in store for us eternally.

Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2013

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Prayer of Anselm

Come now, little man, turn aside for a while from your daily employment. Escape for a moment from the tumult of your thoughts. Put aside your weighty cares. Let your burdensome distractions wait. Free yourself awhile for God and rest awhile in him.  Enter the inner chamber of your soul. Shut out everything except God and that which can help you in seeking him. And when you have shut the door, seek him.  Now, my whole heart, say to God, ‘I seek your face, Lord, it is your face I seek. ANSELM OF CANTERBURY

A Faith of Contradictions

I want a faith that can fully credit contradictions, and that can prove the darkest night to be perfectly light, and the greatest of trials to be perfectly right, and to be evidences of unbounded love. Yea, I want a faith that can fully rely upon a promise with a rational prospect of the promise being fulfilled...I thirst, pant and groan, for the faith of which Christ is the Author and Finisher. WILLIAM GADSBY  William Gadsby was a 19th Century  Particular Baptist who experienced acute sufferings in his home life which exerted a heavy burden on his faith and ministry. He ministered for 25 years while nursing his wife, who suffered with acute mental illness.  Gadsby died before his wife did and before she gave most encouraging signs of not having lost the faith she embraced as a girl, the faith Gadsby had been so confident that the Lord would preserve in her.  The strain for him, though, was at times unbearable, as her illness led her to erratic and destructive behaviour, including atta

Jesus Never Fails

Many a times in my life, the words of this childhood hymn has been a tremendous encouragement. I pray this may encourage you too. Keep looking to Jesus! Jesus never fails, Jesus never fails The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails. Your mother will let you down Your father will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails. Your husband will let you down Your wife will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails Your brothers will let you down Your sisters-will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails Your church will let you down Your work will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails Your friends will let you down Your country will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails Your wealth will let you down Your health will let you down The man of the world