This is my 5th or 6th, maybe even 7th, consecutive night of disturbed sleep with increasing degrees of pain.
As I write, approaching midnight on Tuesday, October 26th 2021, my left foot/big toe is in agony. Despite strong painkillers, pulsating pain persists that I’m certain I haven’t experienced before, even with a badly thrice-broken leg or dislocated shoulder.
Doctors will tell me that too much uric acid has accumulated in my blood (through no fault of my own) and created minuscule, razor-sharp crystals that are spearing my joints with hereditary force.
But in reading something of C.H.Spurgeon’s battle with gout, I am reminded of the potentially unique gift that pain is for the sojourning Christian and the transcendent ‘dropping’ of His propitiatory life into ours: for every sharp crystal of gout there are infinite beads of His blood.
Despite the Pain
God’s grace is not always a cool drink. God’s grace is not always a soft pillow. God’s grace is not always circumstantial deliverance. I think there are very many times when we’re crying out, “Where is the grace of God?” and we’re getting it! But it’s not the grace of relief and release, but it’s grace.Paul Tripp
But I also wince (including earlier today) when I think of the pride and fear of man that sometimes still cripples me.
What! What agony is this in not leaping at the chance of ensuring my Bible was with me at the hospital this morning? What clawing, betraying fear?
What grace is this that loves me still?
What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.Paul’s incredulity in 1 Corinthians 11:22
Oh, that my ways were steadfast in following Your decrees!David’s longing for wholeheartedness in Psalm 119:5
Oh, precious Yahweh, please forgive me for fearing man and neglecting You; please fill me with the boldness of Your Spirit to be Your fool.
Yes, I do note my pain – the pulsating, agonising pain – but I also rejoice that you promise to always equip me with strength. Not merely the kind of strength that comes at the expense of the pain but, rather, the kind of strength that comes in spite of it. You build your kingdom perfectly in glory and power despite the fragility and weakness of our frame.
Please allow me to find your peace and joy in the midst of suffering; please allow me to know the sufficiency of Your grace with these pressing thorns; please allow me to know Your sweet Presence and shepherding voice; please equip me with the strength of the cross, becoming like You in Your death.
Please heal me from the clinging ways of this world.
That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.Philippians 3:10-11
Dead to this World
I understand that you want me to be dead to this world and this world to be dead to me. I understand that you want me to know the resurrection living of Philippians 1:21 and Philippians 3:10 and, however horrendously it was to be slumped unconscious on the bathroom floor in the early hours of this morning, that I do dwell somewhere very thinly – and urgently – between the perishing order of this world and the increasing realms of the one to come.
We all do.
Please help me to truly know and not merely memorise: “…for to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Thank you for the sufficiency of Your grace that is modelled and imparted so beautifully and powerfully to me in and through the life of Mairi – what a gift of Your grace she is to me!
Please hedge her about, above and beneath, with her every heartbeat; please fill her with Your Spirit that she might be overwhelmed in Your love; please help us to love you more and more together, as we should.
Please have your perfect way with us, in us, through us. Please be glorified. Please bless your people.
Please heal me, heal us, and cause this pain to result in my holiness and intimacy with You, Yeshua! That Psalm 18 and 91 would be our story.
…the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.Psalm 18:32-33
In the Name of Jesus, I pray.
Amen and amen. Maranatha.