God Reveals His Mercy, Even With Pain
I have finally reached the point where I am able to post on a daily (almost!) basis. This new category reveals different thoughts that I ponder over during the span of a day, which could include things that happen directly to me or even possibly something that I simply observe. The main idea here is that I am sharing an abstraction between the visible and invisible worlds, and in doing so I am strengthening my own awareness and practicing virtue in the quest to move closer to Him. I encourage you to do this at least once a day. How much stronger would this make you, by looking past your misfortune or another difficult experience, and gleaning into what possibly could be what is best for you in all His glory?
Yesterday I was drifting off into the past. I don’t typically do this, as I actually perceive there being no such thing as the past or future. There is the now, what happened to the now, and what may happen to the now. But the now is for us to take care of, and the rest is for Him to decide. Anyhow, I drifted. I am still a part time nurse and I was thinking about pain and discomfort that many of my patients go through or have gone through. Pain is something very challenging for us to reconcile with. We know that Jesus died for us in the most horrible of ways, and that by doing this he was able to in the most mystical of ways take this to pay for our sins and so the door to salvation had been opened. We know that what we are experiencing when we hurt is purely temporal, which in terms of time pales in comparison to the wondrous eternity we will reach through our struggles. And so I come to this: “Help Christians to struggle.” What does this mean?
During a reader service, known as the Small Compline, this is chanted during A Prayer to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, this is an Orthodox Christian example I am using, because this is the path I am on in order to grow closer to Him. Do not be uncomfortable in this; it is simply an example I know that I can use to get the message of this post out. So, when this is chanted, or if it were to be chanted before you, what would you take this to mean? I take it to mean that in struggling we become closer to Him, because we are not only humbled but we can experience a grace to a much larger degree in that we faithfully still love Him with all of our hearts through all trials and tribulations. Additionally, it is quite often the underlying message in the pain that is most important to abstract and through practice you too can do this.
Yes, it takes me sometimes months to realize what really had happened. So I am probably forced a bit to look at the past of now. Here is where my thoughts yesterday led me to. I remembered an experience where my hours at work were cut drastically. I could not understand this, and felt it to be unfair and of course I felt a bit sorry for myself. But then something soon happened to me. I woke up one morning with excruciating pain in my neck and upper back. I could no longer exercise (taking care of the body I have been given is part of my daily routine, and you can read about being a Christian and exercise here). I could barely wash my hair, eat, let alone lay down free of pain, and this lasted for quite some time. I was needless to say very nervous about how I would manage working as a nurse. And yesterday, it occurred to me: the job that my hours had been cut back for was the most physical of my nursing work. I did not have to work there for another month, and so, I did not have to worry about explaining why I could not show up for a shift. I was able to heal, without compromising my job by calling in sick. Yes, the pain was horrible. Yes, I begged for mercy. But God, all knowing as He truly is, gave me a blessing in disguise, and in advance, that I could not see the true meaning of or purpose at the time. I had been blind-sighted, as I was caught up in my own needs and desires and self-centered behavior.
Sometimes it takes discomfort and suffering to bring out the grace through Him. This is how God reveals His mercy, even with pain. Through the Trinity this is manifested. The Father of plans, the Son of salvation and the Spirit of implementation. All was present in my experience above and I too encourage you to look at your situation. Whether your pain brings you true empathy to help others, or it brings you closer to Him in other ways, or it leads to something much brighter: Hang on to your faith during the now and the now to become will be handled according to His will in what is best for you. As J.R.R. Tolkien speaks through Gandalf, so eloquently in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Or, as he also writes, “I will not say, do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.” No, they are not bible quotes, but God does inspire and empower us through the Holy Spirit to say things that may indeed be more than an earthly, secular expression. Of course, the overarching meaning of The Lord of the Rings has been up for debate.
I hope this post will serve you well, as I too hope that in what I say I am not steering one from the path but simply bringing a gift to others through my pain and suffering.
Love in Christ,