"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Suffering Makes Perfect

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121)

Walking in pain today... not excessive pain, just "reminding" pain... I often lifted my heart and voice to the Lord, What will You do Lord? Lord, please, how will You solve this? My help comes from you, Maker of heaven and earth! How will You heal this in me?

I believe God is shaping in me a deeper "theology" of suffering.

I see Him thrusting me forward in faith, asking me to believe that He will "sort it". He is pushing, pulling and inviting me to believe that He is my Good Shepherd, my Keeper, and my kind Father.

And, I am believing that in His time and in His way, He will heal. How? I don't know. When? I don't know. But, I don't have to worry. I just must learn to talk with Him about it and walk with Him in it.

I am learning. ...not learned, but learning.

So we talked many times today. Father and I, we talked.

Walking through the grocery store, while feeling that reminder of pain, I talked with Him. Making muffins in my kitchen, we talked. What will You do, Father? How will You deliver me?

C.S. Lewis says, "Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free-wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself."

I think I understand Lewis' statement now more than I ever have. My pain and suffering are a significant part of my life itself. It has shaped me and is shaping me. I can see His work through the suffering. The work He is doing in my heart, I see; and I can't imagine that divine work without the pain.

Last week, my husband sent me this poem. It was inserted in an email with the subject line, "for you, my love". What a gift of love it was!

Made Perfect Through Suffering

by Samuel Johnson

I bless thee, Lord, for sorrows sent,
To break my dream of human power;
For now my shallow cistern's spent,
I find thy founts, and thirst no more.

I take thy hand and fears grow still,
Behold thy face and doubts remove;
Who would not yield his wavering will,
To perfect Truth and boundless Love?

That Love this restless soul doth teach,
The strength of thine eternal calm;
And tune its sad and broken speech,
To join, on Earth, the angels' psalm.

Oh, be it patient in my hands,
And drawn, through each mysterious hour,
To service of thy pure commands,
The narrow way to Love and Power.

*********************************

"Those who have gone before us have left a clear witness: We may seek God or we may seek ease, but we cannot seek both. The road we travel is anything but easy. It is true that God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives, but it equally true that the plan is often fraught with tension and uncertainty, and with emotional, spiritual, and physical pain." ~Gary Thomas

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