Monday, October 22, 2012
Today’s Topic: The Pain is Gain
Today’s Text: Galatians 6:17 (ESV) From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
I know, I said last week that I was going to be studying the one-hundred-nineteenth Psalm, but that was my plan. God interrupted it already.
For the past several weeks some very serious circumstances in people’s lives have become very heavy to bear. They have not only caused deep hurt and pain on behalf of those involved, but they have reminded me of the pain of my own sin and selfishness. It is an intense time of inner reflection that has become the battlefield of the enemy forces that wage war against my soul. Self-pity, self-degradation, and self-devaluation have raised their ugly heads wearing masks of beauty and hope in an attempt to convince me to travel down their paths.
Then on Saturday night, during a period of sleeplessness, the Holy Spirit of my Savior Jesus Christ delivered a clear message: “Does not Jesus still have the holes in his hands and feet and side? They are there not only as a reminder of the sin that He bore in His body, but more so they are a reminder of the indescribable and indiscriminate grace of God to turn pain into gain.”
WOW! God’s grace turns pain into gain. As a result, every demonic reminder of the past becomes a connecting point to the grace of God.
The picture of my Lord’s hands, feet, and side was forefront on my mind when I arose this morning. As I opened my emails from overnight another e-devotional from Pastor Daniel Henderson arrived. One would have to be spiritually dead to not see that God wants this truth to sink deeply into my soul. His devotional was entitled “Leading and Living with a Limp”. At the end of the devotional he shares a poem he wrote, and it is powerful. May it bless you today as you discover the strength to embrace your pain and your failures and use them as a connecting point to God’s grace.
They didn’t warn me about the wound in seminary So it has come as quite a shock to my unsuspecting heart. At times it seems so deep – beyond the repair of stitches. Even divine sutures seem insufficient and vain;
The breadth of the wound overwhelms me at moments: All-consuming – defeating – debilitating. Then, some days the wound is inconsequential. I busy myself with administrivia to anesthetize its presence. I try to enjoy my family and hope it doesn’t surface.
After the well-delivered Sunday sermon, I forget it is there. But by Monday, its stench and pain has reappeared, Creating a noticeable limp in my ministerial gait And a dullness to my vision and faith.
I would like to ignore it; just pretend it’s not true. But its dull, sometimes sharp prompting won’t leave me alone. It goes with me – following me everywhere – Within me at all times, reminding me constantly.
It has become the unwelcome mirror of my weakness and vulnerability. The wound is a grinding present memory of my failures; Its reality shoots through the nervous system of my inner-man, Calling out for attention, at least a fair estimation.
So now, in these quiet moments, I sit – face to face with my woundedness. Oh, my wound – my horrible wound – you unwelcomed intruder. Why have you come? Why won’t you go?
Perhaps I have no recourse but to make you my friend. You must know that I would not have chosen you as a companion, For in so many ways you are ugly and troublesome to me. But now, I must love you, embrace you – integrate you gladly into the very fabric of my being.
What? What is that you say? You are the intimate friend of my Savior Jesus? You found your discriminating way into His life? His hands, His feet, His brow, His side are marked by your presence? His heart, too, wears your brand?
Oh, wound – precious wound. Forgive me, for I did not understand. It is you that gave my Master the privilege of suffering for me. By you I was forgiven and healed, in Him. So I must welcome you, beloved wound.
Yes, make yourself a part of me. Offer your touch to the hurting world around me, that they too may see your wonder – and know your healing grace.
Oh, wound, you are my enigma. But you are my friend. Without warning you came. Now, without question – please, please – stay.
© 1999, 2010 by Daniel Henderson
Copyright © 2012 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.