Night Whisper | PAIN |
Isaiah 26:16-18 |
Lord, in trouble they have visited You, They poured out a prayer when Your chastening was upon them. As a woman with child is in pain and cries out in her pangs, when she draws near the time of her delivery, So have we been in Your sight, O Lord. We have been with child, we have been in pain; We have, as it were, brought forth wind; We have not accomplished any deliverance in the earth, Nor have the inhabitants of the world fallen. NKJV
The whole context of these verses is the response of some of the people of God to His hard and present chastening, even His judgment upon them for their personal sins and the sins of their nation. Yes indeed, that is the context. However, also in these verses, is the summary of a million prayers of despondency in the light of the failure of righteous plans and of the gaping emptiness left by the absence of laudable and delightful, God glorifying but unfulfilled desires. This prayer then, these statements, also echo our hearts ignorance’s of the dark providences of God, especially in the light of loved ones who have been snatched away from this life, and often at that point when their much prepared for race has seemingly only just begun.
Yes, the unexpected termination of loved ones, seems to make life seem to be but a few moments of madness bathed in a few milliseconds of mystery and misery. Indeed, the brevity of this life and the methods of our departure from it often stun us, for it seems that we are birthed into a cemetery with a badly built and poorly maintained and monitored pleasure park at its center, where all the rides have a warning of death, and carry but two guarantees: 1) There is a piece of dug land waiting for your body. 2) One of the rides WILL have a catastrophe when you are riding on it.
Rev. Jonathan Edwards, who, having just arrived at what would become Princeton to take up a long prepared for, and I think well deserved and much needed position there, was killed by taking a new smallpox vaccine to prevent him from catching and dying of the same. Apparently, over the painful month of his passing, when his departure from this life was put in order, one of his last sentences on his death bed were: “Where now, is Jesus of Nazareth, my most intimate, most faithful friend?” It seems to me that the desire to meet with the Lord and to be with those we love who have gone before us, are the only things that make any sense in this life. Everything else, in the end, often seems to make no sense whatsoever. It is as the preacher in Ecclesiastes states: ‘a striving after the wind.’
A young man with no desire to change the world and prosper himself in it is iron deficient, weak, sickly, and lacking. So, a healthy young man’s plans for this life should be full, effervescent and expectant. However, a healthy man that does not take note of the place in which the pleasure park resides, nor of the danger of the rides, nor of the small plot of ground with his name on it, is unwise and badly taught. Therefore, the unknown time of the expected end, should be prepared for, and prepared for with joy, and in the meantime, all the providences of this life should be also met with the same prepared for joy, for each one has but a single purpose.
The purpose of all things is Jesus. The point of all things is Jesus. The end of all things is Jesus.
Heaven therefore, is not so much about the reuniting with our loved and long gone humans or of the petting once more our beloved dead dogs and cats, nor of mansions nor of gardens, no, heaven is about Jesus and I tell you, for the Christian, even this earth, and all things in it and our time upon it, is also about Him and our relationship to Him. Therefore, all providences of light and darkness, are allowed and utilized in bringing us experientially closer to Him. Oh yes, often times our deliverances might be great, but to make this so, our afflictions, of necessity, are therefore many, but even in these God is doing His work in bringing us closer to Himself.
God is no sadist, therefore it is right to say that even these terrible tools are not only useful for our sanctification but necessary for our deeper communion.
It is Rev. Austin Phelps, reflecting on what he calls ‘the angel of sorrow’ who says: “God shakes to pieces the whole framework of our plans of life by which we have been struggling to build together the service of God and the service of self; till, at last, He makes us feel that Christ is all that is left to us. The truth is, ” he says, “is that we never feel Christ to be a reality until we feel Him to be a necessity. Therefore, God makes us feel that necessity…..”
Avoid the ever smiling and untouched ‘Christian.’ He is probably a charlatan, for even our Master was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Meanwhile, if you are ‘feeling the necessity,’ rejoice, and I say again rejoice! For you can and should expect a closer encounter with the Most High God, one that will most certainly more than compensate for the troubles of this present and passing world. Remember: “we never feel Christ to be a reality until we feel Him to be a necessity. Therefore, God makes us feel that necessity.”
Listen: Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 NKJV
Pray: Lord, let Your loving eyes be upon me for good. Let Your ears be always open and attentive to my cry. Set Your face against those who do evil, but in caring smiles, set Your loving gaze upon me. Cut off those who do evil in the earth, but prosper me, and lengthen my days according to Your good and perfect will. Though my afflictions be many, may my deliverances be more, though my troubles be tripled, let Your graces be quadrupled, and m ay my testimony be that my Great Friend was found in and through them all. Amen and let be so.