Please forgive me for sharing the miseries in my life that are consuming me. Misery loves company and I don’t want to be alone. This note was triggered by a series of circumstantial realities that have culminated in a moment of frustration as I was laboring to put my socks and shoes on because my body aches. I heard myself saying as the second shoe was tied, “What a pain in the butt!”
I just got home from the office. Somewhere during the drive my thoughts wandered off, seeking some medicine to address the pain in my soul. “No guts, no glory. . .no pain, no gain. . .if it doesn’t kill you it’s good for you.” “God will not give you more than you can handle. He will never leave you or forsake you.” It didn’t help.
My body is acting its age. My thoughts, which I cannot control are condemning me and presenting circumstantial evidence that I have not prepared for the future. . .reminding me of every foolish decision I have ever made that has authored this miserable moment. . .and playing in my mind is a litany of every sin I have ever committed. My head is hanging low right now, weighed down by guilt and shame and a profound sense of worthlessness. I have been searching for something redeemable about myself and have come up empty. My scarlet letter is a capital L ( it’s not the word ‘Lucky’). Fear arrives waving a sword in its hand, promising a death blow.
Clients and sometimes friends who share their lives with me, apologize for constantly whining (as they put it) and they wish their attitude could be more positive. I know the feeling, all too well. I wish I could flip a switch and turn the Light on. Yet there are certain facts of my life that can Bless me in an Extraordinary way; but I am unfortunately deaf and blind to them in the moment.
There are the people who love me, who would do anything they could to hug the misery away. . . my family and friends who know in a very personal way, what this feels like and so share in the misery and love to keep company with me. God is so Good to me. What do I have to complain about. My difficult and painful life circumstances seem incidental in comparison to those around me. I have what has great value; but I’m imprisoned in my thoughts and feelings. I’m not free yet, because it’s not time.
I was on the phone today with my daughter Jessie and she told me about a memorial service that was being held tonight. A friend of hers was in her eighth month of pregnancy and during a routine checkup, there were no vital signs from the baby. The pain for the parents and their family is unthinkable to me.
This morning I talked with a good friend who is going through a divorce. I love both him and his wife. . .and their young child. The misery they are going through is unbearable to me.
A couple of days ago, I sat in my office with a young teenage girl whose parents are separated and at the final stages of ending their marriage. Both parents have serious drinking issues and the girl is forced to be the responsible one for her parents and her younger brother. The destruction of all of their lives, with the sadness and pain of it all, is unbelievable to me.
Last week I sat with a woman whose husband kissed her and said, “I love you” when she left for work in the morning. When she came home later in the day, she noticed a note on the table next to his wedding ring. The note said in part, “I can’t be married to you any longer. Don’t try to change my mind. I need to move on.” Events like this no longer surprise me. Nothing surprises me any more. Just more pain in the world. A pain that sends the soul into labor. . .a labor that either brings forth death, or a Perfect pain that brings forth Life.
I just took a little break and looked at Facebook. There was an Easter photo of the three crosses at Cavalry with a beautiful sunrise behind them, with the caption “It’s not about a bunny. It’s about a Lamb.” I would add, “It’s about a Perfect Pain. It’s about the Miracle of a Life Born from Death.” It’s about our Substitute. It’s about the One that has gone before us to open up the way to God. It’s about Forgiveness and Unconditional Love from the Father. It’s about the Sacrificial Love of His Son, Jesus. It’s about the Creative Love of the Holy Spirit, Who brings the new birth to the soul of those who are poor in spirit and laboring deeply in life.
“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. . .surely He has borne our griefs and carried our own sorrows and pain; yet He was smitten and afflicted. He was wounded for our sins and He was deeply bruised for our own morally evil thoughts and actions. The punishment was administered to Him, not us. He was as a Lamb led to the slaughter.
We all like sheep have gone astray. We have wandered away from what is Right and Good. We have become self-centered and self-seeking and perfectly self-deceived to it all. Yet in spite of this, His Father laid on Him the punishment for it all. . .He was oppressed and in great pain, yet He did not open His mouth. He endured the Cross and embraced the misery in a Perfect way to bring about the birth of Life from the very womb of pain and death.”
As for God, His way is Perfect and He makes my way Perfect, in the best and worst of times. Though we walk through this valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no fear. He will renew our Strength. We will soar on wings like eagles. We will run and not be weary. We will walk and not be faint. When He rose from the dead with Resurrection Life, we rose with Him and this Life is born from the very pangs of death in the soul.
“God demonstrated His Love for us in this: though we are rebels and sinners, He carried our pain and sin, and died for us. . .and He who spared not His own Son but gave Him up for us all; how will He not also freely give us all things.”