"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Way of Pain

By Micky Wolf

Many of my thoughts in recent days have been of a dear friend and her husband. The Lord brought us and several others together over 15 years ago to begin a ministry which continues to be fruitful today. She and I don’t talk every week, not even every month, yet when we see one another at church or a social gathering, we delight in exchanging hellos and a few moments of catch-up conversation.

It has been less than a month since they received the awful news—he has Stage Four cancer. While it is likely the disease has been quietly ravaging his body for some time, the outward signs and symptoms have been recent. There is no cure. They are a very private couple so most of us are kept apprised of the situation through one or two of their close friends.

My head says it’s too soon for him. They are recent empty nesters in the best of their middle years. Their adult children, barely out of their twenties, are too young to experience this kind of loss. My heart breaks. The pain is palatable. The sadness oozes through every pore of my being.

There was a time in my life when I would have sought relief from the heaviness and sorrow of another person's suffering, to say nothing of my own. Not anymore. To feel fully, especially when it hurts, is to live more intimately with our Creator God.

And so, as a Christian, I throw myself on God to beg for His mercy and loving-kindness—for the whole family and for all of us who love them. It hurts, Lord, it hurts so much.

“I know,” He whispers. “I know.”

Pain is…

Pain and joy are two sides of the same coin. We need look no further than Jesus or the Father to know how that impacts us as beings created in the image and likeness of God.

We embrace the joy part, the mountain-top experiences. There will be plenty of those, yet we cannot pass through this life without pain. We do ourselves a great disfavor when we expend countless hours and resources trying to ignore or deny this Truth.

We do not have to go looking for pain. It will come, of that we can be assured.

Pain touches every aspect of life, from our first wails as we wiggle into the bright lights of the birthing room to the last exhale from our lungs, whenever that may be. Your pain may be more or less than mine, it may be physical, emotional, or psychological, but that’s not the issue. That we will suffer is.

“I know,” He whispers, “I know”

To live fully is to feel deeply…

We are mortal. We are uncomfortable accepting that reality—until we realize resurrection into new life can only occur with the death of the old.

It is human and understandable that we resist the idea our days here are numbered and known only by God. For many, accepting the truth of our finite existence is more than enough pain in and of itself.

Yet by virtue of God bearing witness to us through the humanity of His Son, Jesus, we have a Comforter who knows only too well what it means to journey through this life.

To feel pain is to feel in the most profound way the depths of our loving and being loved—and what it means when we are separated, for a season, from those we love and who love us.

To feel pain is to accompany the one who is suffering by bearing the pain with them, whether we are near enough to take their hand, or at a distance and do so in our hearts.

To feel pain is to allow ourselves to be used of God as a living sacrifice for another.

To feel pain is nothing short of laying down our life for another.

It is good to be fully alive and feel—both the pain and the joy.

“I know,” He whispers, “I know.”


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