Thoughts on Pain (second posting)

Lamentations 3:12-15

12 He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow.
13 He hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins.
14 I was a derision to all my people; and their song all the day.
15 He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood.

Ezekiel 24:16-18

16
Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with
a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy
tears run down.

17 Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead,
bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy
feet, and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men.

18 So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded

In
Ezekiel 24, God brought a severe request for the man of God. God would
remove his beloved wife through death and then demand Ezekiel not shed a
tear. Yes, not one tear was to be shed. Is this possible? In 1
Corinthians 7, Paul told men “…time is short, it remaineth that…
those who weep be as though you wept not, and they that rejoice as
though you rejoiced not” Is this possible? Where do those emotions go?
Quieted yes, but how?
 
At
the point of realizing he would die in prison camp, instead of staying
strong and making it through, Victor Frankl, decided he could never
think about his wife and family ever again. In his book he said he
blanked out their memory. Why? The answer here, plain and simply
summarizes in the word, “pain.”
 
There
exists a moving, penetrating, irritating, woe-producing, soul phenomena
related to gall, to bitterness, to sorrow, and anguish. Where does it
take place? Mind, will, conscience, emotion, self-consciousness, absorb
or manifest the negative in their own way, but are they equipped for
this?

Well, the soul’s use of repression, denial, or
ignoring, used long-term, becomes an infection for a believer. So, a
self-defensive mechanism for grief and pain cannot continue endlessly,
though they are triggered unconsciously. In addition, emotions are
translated by and displayed, in the central nervous system, and cause
the peripheral nervous system to react. One response causes a
redistribution of blood flow in the body. Farthest areas from the heart
may not get much blood now, as it is re-directed to the self-defensive
response, and protective bodily posture.

Next, soul/emotional
pain inhibits mental relaxation and also the body’s ability to rest.
When repression techniques take over, they may produce some temporary
soul-rest. Medication can cause physical rest also but may do nothing to
alter the unconscious defensive positioning negatively affecting the
soul..
 
What
does a person do? He is pressed into a very daunting place. He feels he
must continue in a defensive-repressive mode for relief, which, to a
degree, ignores, denies, or stifles the pain. This is often the chosen
road, in order to continue in life’s callings and demands,

We
have all been in the above dilemma. We may live there every day. What
am I saying? Ezekiel, Victor Frankl, and Paul’s exhorted people in
Corinthians —all had to, in some way, stifle a painful emotion, in
order to function.

So, in review, their options were to
posture a defense mechanism which could result in an infection that
would result in psychosomatic negatives if left to continue, or take
medication with its known side effects. Or— frankly, drugs, alcohol,
sublimation in its many forms are the very common answers people use for
pain.
 
The
other option is a radical one as well, however, this one causes no
peripheral damage, but instead heals. That option discovers God’s way of
escape through taking and crucifying the whole darn innards. See, God
roots out pain, at the source of the pain. Prodigal son comes to
himself, Job faces his source of pain, David faces Nathan. All of these
men found a deliverance through something only God can do.

Folks, God shoots the root-affecting arrow of pain to get us men out of
our soulish manipulations and mechanisms. This is Lamentations 3 above.
He now readies to heal em, when they approach Him.

So, God
essentially removed each of these men from their circle of anguish, and
brought them into a new world, in which pain exists not. They each
discovered a way that had been made for their very unique circumstance, a
way of dying to the old and discovering the new. It was a radical
change of existence, a radical change of identity, a shocking
transferring of worlds, a deliverance that finds not solution within its
self-made defenses, but by the hands of a Deliverer in removing them to
true safety, with all attaching strings disappearing in a merciful and
compassionate liberating love sphere.
 
God’s
answer activates itself, as the verses that we already know in the
Bible become our true and living experience, today! No, I am not my old
self, as Paul says “put off the old man” and “lie not.” Do we mean,
enter into some kind of dream world? No, enter into your only true
world, and leave the world of emotional exchange with a fallen universe
behind.
 
Well,
how can it happen? It happens by grace, and we receive it by faith —
we may think faith is an inferior way, but Oh —now you are so prepared
for faith’s operation. Your world of empirical (sense observation)
evaluation is full of pain, you must leave it —why not try God’s
mechanism now; something radical. Why not consider God’s grace, and
experimentally let’s discover if God is indeed real. Will He catch us?
Is their really a safely reposed restful world for me? Yes, yes, yes a
thousand times over; yes.
 
Friends,
we are thinking “band-aide” and God is thinking total healing. We are
thinking immediate, but God is thinking long-term etc. We are thinking
knee-jerk, but God has something wisely thought out, planned, founded
and established which solves pain for real.
 
Deuteronomy
33:27 teaches us that underneath are the everlasting arms of God. He
will keep us, hold us, and uphold us with the right hand of His
righteousness. He is able to keep us from falling in Jude 24. He will
hold our hand and walk with us through pain.He will minister to us on
our bed of languishing.

Finally, will drawing near to God and
His way take away all manifestations of pain immediately? Maybe and
maybe not. Pain, unfortunately may be the only thing that moves a
dormant soul. When it happens, and thankfully it does, we have an
opportunity to rush into the arms of God. See, our enemies are
passivity, apathy, carelessness, disregard and a determined effort to
skirt reality. Maybe pain will help us draw near to real protection and
safety, which are only found in the ultimate realist, God Himself.

5 Comments

  1. Yes, how sweet it is to draw near to God, to have Him touch us and all other things vanishes, even if it is just for a moment that all burdens seem to disappear.

    March 3, 2014
    Reply
    • Karen said:

      There is a beautiful mystery here, one that challenges us to think witha radical, supernatural perspective of grace. Love your blog, pastor Tom.

      March 21, 2014
      Reply
    • tsliva said:

      Thanks for your comment, I agree, it is a mystery. PTSL

      March 25, 2014
      Reply
  2. […] Courage deflects fear, gives consistency, withstands danger, endures pain. […]

    July 7, 2017
    Reply

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