Skip to main content

The Invitation of Pain

I came across this short piece by Joni Eareckson Tada which puts captures in an evocative way the way God uses pain to invite us into a deeper relationship with Him: 
When a broken neck ambushed my life and left me a quadriplegic, I felt as though God had smashed me underfoot like a cigarette. At night, I would thrash my head on the pillow, hoping to break my neck at a higher level and thereby end my misery. After I left the hospital, I refused to get out of bed; I told my sister, “Just close the drapes, turn out the light, and shut the door.” My paralysis was permanent, and inside, I died. 
You don’t have to be in a wheelchair to identify. You already know that sad situations sometimes don’t get better. Problems don’t always get solved. Conflicts don’t get fixed. Children die, couples divorce, and untimely deaths rock our world and shake our faith. 
We try to manage, like jugglers spinning plates on long sticks. When we feel utterly overwhelmed, we try soaking in the tub, sweating on the treadmill, splurging on a new dress, or heading to the mountains for the weekend. We smile and say we are trusting God, but down deep we know it’s a lie. We’re only trusting that he doesn’t load us up with more plates. 
That’s how I felt. But after weeks in bed, I got tired of being depressed, and I finally cried out, “God, if I can’t die, please show me how to live.” It was just the prayer God was waiting for. From then on, I would ask my sister to get me up and park me in my wheelchair in front of my Bible. Holding a mouth stick, I would flip this way and that, looking for answers—any answer. I sought the help of a Christian counselor-friend who took me directly to the book of Lamentations. He showed me the third chapter: I am the man who has seen affliction . . . surely against me [God] turns his hand again and again the whole day long. (Lam. 3:1, 3).  I marveled, thinking, that’s me! 
I was amazed to learn that God welcomes our laments. I would eventually learn—mainly through Lamentations and Psalms—that nothing is more freeing than knowing God understands. When we are in pain, God feels the sting in his chest. Our frustrations and questions do not fluster him. He knows all about them. He wrote the book on them. More astoundingly, he invites us to come and air our grievances before him.
The quote is part of a foreword Tada wrote in Mark Vroegop’s helpful book Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

I am what I am by Gloria Gaynor

Beverly Knight closed the opening ceremony of the Paralympics with what has been dubbed the signature tune of the Paralympics. I had no idea Ms Knight is still in the singing business. And clearly going by the raving reviews she will continue to be around. One media source says her performance was so electric that "there wasn’t a dry eye to be seen as she sang the lyrics to the song and people even watching at home felt the passion in her words" . The song was Gloria Gaynor's I am what I am . Clearly not written by Gloria Gaynor but certainly musically owned and popularized by her. It opens triumphantly: I am what I am / I am my own special creation / So come take a look / Give me the hook or the ovation / It's my world that I want to have a little pride in / My world and it's not a place I have to hide in / Life's not worth a damn till you can say I am what I am The words “I am what I am” echo over ten times in the song. A bold declaration that she

The Humility of Newton

Thou hast honoured me. Thou hast given me a tongue and a pen, many friends; (Thou] hast made me extensively known among thy people and I have reason to hope, useful to many by my preaching and writings... It is of thine own that I can serve thee. And if others speak well of me, I have no cause to speak or think well of myself. They see only my outward walk; to thee I appear as I am. In thy sight I am a poor, unworthy, unfaithful inconsistent creature. And I may well wonder that Thou hast not long ago taken thy word utterly out of my mouth and forbidden me to make mention of thy Name any more! JOHN NEWTON ( Source : Wise Counsel) Newton wrote these words addressed to God in his diary in 1789. In that year, Newton’s fame had grown significantly because of his publishing ‘ Thoughts upon the African Slave Trade’ and his appearance before Her Majesty’s Privy Council appointed to investigate the slave trade.  I find Newton’s words quite challenging. The words reveal a heart truly shaped by t

I Am Mother

I think it is true to say that the Netflix film I Am Mother is one the most disturbing movies I have watched for a long time. The film is set in a near future. Human life has been wiped out. An artificial intelligence (AI) called Mother is living inside a bunker where thousands of embroyos are stored. It selects an embryo and initiates a program to grow a baby within 24 hours. The AI then goes on to raise the child as its mother over the next few years.  After 16 years, the girl, who now goes by the name of Daughter (Clara Rugaard) is a teenager. She has never been outside because Mother has told her that the air is toxic. Her time is spend being home schooled in science and ethics so that she can become a perfect human being. The bond between Daughter and Mother is unusually strong. To our surprise there does not appear to be any mental or pyschological trauma of having a machine as her mother.  The strength of the bond between man and machine is tested when a nameless Woman (Hilary