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.
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.