Luke 8:54

"And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid arise." Luke 8:54

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spiritual Lessons


Yesterday's quote made me stop and think.

God works all things together for good to them that love Him. (Romans 8:28). The good that God gives, naturally seems good...they are undeserved blessings or things we've wished for, or things that appeal to us. Or the inevitable evils that are stayed by His hand – these seem like Him working all things for good because it is the desired outcome.

But what about the evils that do come and are allowed to dwell in our midst? What about the hurts that are experienced, the losses, disappointments, needs? How do these things fit into the “good” category?

My tenuous personal example is my health. My health is definitely not what most people consider good. In fact, not only does it not reach ideal, but it's sick, broken, bad...evil. If God is good, if He works all things together for good, than why this allowed evil?

Evils in our lives, and the lives around us, cannot be ignored. There is no sand pit deep enough in which to hide our heads. Our world is too full of sin.

Why all of this evil?

Well, for one, I know a world of sin wasn't His choice, it was ours. Adam chose evil for human-kind and so evil is inherently ours. Not to mention, thousands of years later, we still choose the same evil. But God in His great love for us chose to save us from this evil. So He paid sin's debt on the cross.

But, as a child of God, even after accepting His salvation, evil still affects me. Why? I can't escape it until I get out of this world...but there's still the settling of the claim that “all things work together for good”.

Over the past 4 years I have been amazed at this lesson. I've learned that the “evil” that reaches me actually is good. My greatest “evil” is pain. I have learned to accept that pain isn't proof that He doesn't exist, or worse, that He doesn't care – it's part of life; the believer's life as well as the lost's. Anytime I have experienced pain He was there. No, He didn't make it go away. But He made sure it wasn't more than I could handle. He stood there and held my hand. He made sure it didn't last longer than it had to. Who chooses pain's intensity and length of time? We certainly don't. If it were up to us, we would have none at all. Satan, on the other hand, would have it last an eternity. But thank God He is all-powerful and loves us enough to allow pain's benefits while making a way of escape. (1 Corinthians 10:13).

He takes the evils of this sin-sick world and changes it for my good. I wouldn't trade pain for anything; it has been my sweetest experiences of Him. “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” Psalm 119:71

Through my weaknesses and pain I have learned the secret source of perfect strength: God. “...Mostly gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Only God could bring healing through hurt. Only He could make tears cleansing and sorrow a song. There is peace in allowing Him to sing and just following his strange melody.

I wrote this while experiencing horrible pain:

Sing soul, sing
Yet when I try
a lilt of pain
Is all I cry

Sing soul, sing
I pause to hear
the tune He sings
Fills me with fear

Sing soul, sing
He sings a tune
Of unknowns dark
and gaping wound

Sing soul, sing
Oh follow me
Must dare to try
Dark harmony

Sing soul, sing
My dry lips part
It hurts, it hurts
This bleeding heart”

Sing soul, sing
Through gritted teeth
Fear not” He says
Oh God” I breathe

Sing soul sing
Praise Him and dare
To thank Hi for
All that's unfair

Sing soul, sing
I dare believe
that He knows best
And best for me

Sing soul, sing
A song of pain
A healing hurt
A hum of rain

Sing soul, sing
Until He's done
Sing on sing on
...I've finally sung.

To refine something doesn't mean to punish it, but only to purify it. Could it be that I am being purified?

Man has a claim on God, a Divine claim for any pain, want, disappointment, or misery that will help to make him what he ought to be. He has a claim to be ...spared not one pang that may urge him to be hedged in on every thwart him in any desire, foil him in any plan, frustrate him of any hope, until he comes to see at length that nothing will ease his pain, nothing make life a thing worth having, but the presence of the living God.” 
 – George MacDonald

I can claim pain as my bridge to His presence. Of course He is always there, pain or not, but in pain I need Him and through this dependence I learn who He is. I can accept pain as a way of life. There is peace in acceptance.

What is:
Freedom from disturbances
Freedom from war
Freedom from internal commotion
Freedom from agitation or disturbance of the passions, as from fear, terror, anxiety or the like; quietness of mind; tranquility, calmness; quiet or conscience.

That is Webster's definition of peace. Peace is not an absence of these disturbances but a freedom from them. In acceptance I find peace, a freedom from my pain.

Job had every earthly right to wonder at the pain God allowed in his life. And he asks over and over – “Why?” But when God shows Himself to Job, Job has no thought of his pain but on God's greatness. Job didn't have to understand anything else. He didn't need the answer to his “why”, Job could accept God as enough.

I recently read C.S. Lewis' “A Grief Observed” and something Lewis pointed out comforted me:

When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of 'No answer'. It is not a locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, 'Peace child; you don't understand.'
Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask – half our great theological and metaphysical problems – are like that.” (69)

Why do I hurt? Why is this evil allowed? Could these questions actually be like asking if yellow is square or round? Most likely. It is not disinterest in me that He is often silent, but His infinite understanding matched to my ignorant questions. Love often allows His loved ones to hurt. But only for a time...and only for their good. I have found peace in acceptance without my circumstances changing. Only God.

How hard to hold a hurt
But sweet to take and trust
Bloody, blind in my unknowns
But held by One who loves

Sleep my be coveted
But this He chose for me
There's peace in acceptance
That's all the rest I need

This sweet kind of sunshine
Is high above my fears
A Presence with a name
A warmth that drys my tears

Pain may come and impale
Emotions surge or cease
But with Him a call away
I can go on – I'm free.



  1. This was a good post. Thank you Toni. I appreciated the thoughts you had to share on pain. A subject I've come across a lot lately. I loved Webster's definition of peace. That we are free from our pain, not because the pain is not real, but because we accept it as from the hand of God.

  2. Beautifully shared and from your heart. Pain is a universal truth; knowing that our Lord is in it with us is also a truth that we are blessed to know when we know it.