I'm turning back to Joni Eareckson's book, "A Place of Healing" for today's "thoughtful" post. I've posted several times previously about Joni, including last Thursday. In addition to her quadriplegia, Joni is now battling chronic pain. Of course, in the passages below, she is referring to physical pain, but I believe everything she says can also be applied to emotional pain, such as what we experience when we lose a loved one, go through a divorce, or go through a period of severe financial strain.
Here's what she says...
"For pain is a bruising of a blessing; but it is a blessing nevertheless. It's a strange, dark companion, but a companion -- if only because it has passed through God's inspecting hand. It's an unwelcome guest, but still a guest. I know that it drives me to a nearer, more intimate place of fellowship with Jesus, and so I take pain as though I were taking the left hand of God. (Better the left hand than no hand at all.)
In the meantime, these afflictions of mine -- this very season of multiplied pain -- is the background against which God has commanded me to show forth His praise. It's also that thing that I am to reckon as 'good and acceptable and perfect,' according to Romans 12. God bids me that I not only seek to accept it, but to embrace it, knowing full well that somewhere way deep down deep -- in a secret place I have yet to see -- lies my highest good.
Yes, I pray that my pain might be removed, that it might cease; but more so, I pray for the strength to bear it, the grace to benefit from it, and the devotion to offer it up to God as a sacrifice of praise."
Wow. I love her attitude. She fully understands and accepts that she may never be healed from her physical pain, so she seeks to find the good in it. In the same way, our emotional pain may never be fully healed (at least on this earth), but there is good to be found in it. I love the phrase "a bruising of a blessing." It's so true.
She closes this section of her book with this statement ...
"To this point, as I pen this chapter, He has chosen not to heal me, but to hold me. The more intense the pain, the closer His embrace."
"He has chosen not to heal me, but to hold me." What a beautiful statement of faith, and something to really think about on this Thursday afternoon.