He has chosen not to heal me,
but to hold me.
The more intense the pain,
the closer His embrace.
-Joni Eareckson Tada, A Place of Healing:
Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering,
Pain, and God’s Sovereignty
Well, it’s that time of the year again up here in northern Arizona. Monsoon weather is hitting me hard as usual. The storm systems that build up each day combined with the fluctuating barometric pressure cause horrible migraines with nausea. My body is constantly fighting these pain and nausea attacks and that leaves me with a bone-deep exhaustion that no amount of sleep seems to relieve. This means I need to cut back on all my activities, so I’ll be mostly sharing blog posts from others, plus the wonderful devotionals from my sweet friend Pat Knight. These take me much less time, which helps me conserve energy.
Beloved, I’m not sure how long this siege will last, so please bear with me. I covet your prayers. As always, I will be praying for all of you.
Let love be without hypocrisy.
Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love;
give preference to one another in honor;
not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit,
serving the Lord;
rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation,
devoted to prayer,
contributing to the needs of the saints,
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity. —Hebrews 2:14
When we are hurting, if there is one thing that eases our pain or grief, it is this: We want someone to understand. We want somebody to really identify with us, to have some idea of what we’re enduring.
It is certainly like that for me. I hate feeling alone and alienated in those dark times when my paralysis seems overwhelming. On my really rough days, it helps to remember what the Bible tells us about Jesus identifying with us in our sufferings. It says that He was tested and tried in every way like us. That helps! When it comes to suffering, the Lord Jesus has gone ahead of us, and has intimate, experiential, first-hand knowledge of the pain, the weight, the frustration, and the struggle. He appreciates. He understands. He connects.
But it works both ways! Not only does Christ identify with us in our suffering, we identify with Him in His suffering. He identifies with us, and we identify with Him. He appreciates all that it means to be human, and we appreciate all that His divine grace supplies. Through suffering, He participates in our humanity; through suffering, we participate in His divinity.
So why do we struggle so to escape our suffering? Why do we look so desperately for release? I suppose this is why I’m not earnestly seeking to be healed and raised up out of this wheelchair. I see this trial of mine as a window into the heart of Jesus. Suffering is a connecting point between my Savior and me. And when I see His great love on the cross, it gives me courage to take up my cross and follow Him.
Do you want someone to understand what you are going through today? Turn to Jesus. When you do, you will better understand what He has gone through for you.
Lord Jesus, sometimes in my grief or suffering I just want to run away and hide. Help me, Savior, to run away to you, and to hide in you.
Joni and Friends: Taken from Pearls of Great Price. Copyright © 2006 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530