Practising Pain

I have this tooth at the back of my mouth where the enamel hasn’t formed properly and so sometimes, little bits will chip off of it and I need to go back to the dentist to get it refilled. And one day I was at the dentist and she was advising me about flossing. She told me that when you first start to floss, your gums will bleed. It’s part of the process. When your gums start to bleed, in fact the dentist won’t tell you to stop flossing, the dentist will encourage you to keep going. It’s of utmost importance for your teeth that you keep flossing them, even if they bleed a little bit, because flossing removes the plaque. Flossing keeps your teeth healthy.

I think that sometimes we as humans assume that when something like that happens, we stop. When your gums start to bleed, stop flossing. When your legs start to ache, stop running. When your soul starts to hurt, stop singing.

Sometimes pushing through is simply being. Accepting that the pain is there and not trying to change it all on your own. Accepting the hurt and not backing down, not giving up. Pushing through the pain is continuing when you long since feel like you’re past your point of pain tolerance.

Jesus in the garden of gethsemane – crying tears of blood. He didn’t turn around. He did however cry that God would take his cup of suffering from Him. But he paid the price, he felt the pain. He knows what your pain feels like. He’s felt it too.

 

Matthew 26:36-46  New International Version (NIV)

Gethsemane

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” 

 

There are several interesting things about this portion of scripture. Firstly, Jesus is about to die. He’s about to put to death. He is about to be betrayed, about to be beaten and what is He going to do? He is going to pray. He is not going to have a hysterical meltdown, He is going to pray.

Secondly, notice the words with which Jesus prays. He knows what is coming for Him. He knows that Judas has already betrayed Him, He knows where He is headed and He asks God (paraphrasing here), if there’s any other way for this to go down, hey, I’ll take it.

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

He gets personal. If it is possible, let this cup be taken from me. He wasn’t pleading to die, but He was willing. He wasn’t pleading to be drenched in pain, but He was willing. The prayer we hear Him pray isn’t fancy or complex, but it speaks His heart deeply. He is willing, was willing, to be put through immense pain so that we may have less pain. Wow.

Three times, He prays this prayer. Not once, not twice, but three times. Please Father, if you will take this cup, please do, but if not, let your will be done.

Do you think we could pray like that, when we are surrounded by situations that are less than wonderful, situations that are painful. Father, this hurts me, this is painful, please take this from me, please let this not happen, but let your will be done, let the storm rage on. I trust you.

 

Matthew 26:55-56    New International Version (NIV)

55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.”Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Jesus disciples fled from Him when he was going to be taken away to die an excruciating death. Would that not cause so much pain? Your own flock abandoning you when it is then that a bit of support would be well appreciated?

Sometimes in the midst of pain, it is easier in the moment to push people away, to have a bitter heart because they aren’t there for you in the way that you need them, but we cannot expect our fellow humans to fill a void in us that they were never meant to fill. When all is said and done, I want my relationships to remain intact. I want them to be strengthened through painful situations. I want to grow closer to the people around me and not lash out at them. I want to grow closer to God. I want to take time to be in pain before Him, to rip open the wounds that plague me long enough for Him to reach out and place His healing hands upon my hurts, I don’t want to hide them from Him. Because He knows. He’s felt it, and worse. I believe that as many gripping situations as we have ahead, we have as much of an abundance of restoration in store for each time our heats are beaten down.

We get to run into the sweet embrace of a God who cherishes us deeply, and these are not just pretty words that I am writing. I believe this fully fledged and whole-heartedly. I have seen God move and I will see Him move again, and when it seems like He is silent, I will ask Him for the strength to declare His goodness regardless. Our God is vast and wonderful. I cannot understand Him, I am learning. My mere human form cannot comprehend Him, but what snippets He does reveal to me, I am completely in awe of Him and His gracious love. God can heal you, but in the process, it is inevitable that you will hurt a little. I have learnt to not view this pain as a lack of progress, but rather as a wound opening up so that it can be cleaned and healed. Our God is faithful and He loves you. As you continue your day, remember one thing; you are loved and you can live in freedom!

Lots of love, Laura.

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