Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I woke up this morning with what feels like the start of a bad cold: stuffy head, queasy stomach, fatigue, scratchy throat. I probably had advance warning in that my gums and teeth were sensitive for a couple of days previous, which I had attributed to an early surge of monthly hormones. Though, being a natural paranoiac, I tend to imagine far worse causes for every discomfort--and to compensate by ignoring any impulse for off-schedule medical visits. I can only pray that should something ever go seriously wrong, the pain will be bad enough to make the problem obvious, preferably before any real damage is done. Especially now that I'm approaching 40 and will probably have to adjust to some increase in everyday aches and pains.

Certainly I have little to complain about compared with what some people endure on a regular basis. There are many for whom physical agony is an hourly companion and the best medical treatment can do little. Others suffer emotional pain that is no less severe and chronic: loneliness; abandonment; guilt; deep depression. Then there are those who live under the constant pain of discouragement from daily circumstances that seem dedicated to making them miserable. Paul was well experienced with this kind of pain when he wrote, "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life" (2 Corinthians 1:8, NIV).

Pain is among the things from which God has promised to free us in heaven (Revelation 21:4). But until then, suffering remains a part of life. The good news is we don't have to cope with it on our own; the God Who will eventually eliminate all pain will also stand by us now to walk us through it.

Pain can wrack
The mortal body
Till it seems
More than one can bear:
Till to move
Itself seems hopeless,
No strength left
To breathe a prayer:
Put your trust
In the Great Physician
At Whose word
All fevers fled:
For relief
Or strength to bear it,
Look to Him
Who can raise the dead.

Pain can wrack
An aching spirit
Till the heart
Has no will to fight:
Till the tears
Leave all sight blinded,
No strength left
To search for light:
Put your trust
In the Man of Sorrows
Who shed tears
For earthly pain:
Cry to Him,
He will support you;
Look to Him
Whose words stopped the rain.

Pain of guilt
Can wrack the conscience
Till the soul
Has no strength to hope,
Till our sin
And all its burdens
Bind us down
Like thickest rope:
Put your trust
In the One Who suffered,
Paid the price
For you and me:
Trust in Him;
He will forgive you;
Look to Him
Who sets sinners free.

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