Thursday, February 12, 2015

"Lingering Pains"

    Some pains linger in our hearts and minds, similar to physical wounds that cause ongoing discomfort.  We trust the Lord, submit to Him, and seek to heed the encouragement of the Apostle Peter: "Casting all your cares upon Him, for He careth for you" (I Peter 5:7).  Peace in the heart ensues, but remnants of the challenge remain, leading us to require the ongoing seeking of our loving Heavenly Father's comfort.  

    Some might suggest that we haven't cast our cares well enough.  This may be the case, and we do well to seek the Lord's searching to be sure we are genuinely committing our hearts to Him in the matters that trouble us.  Sin may also be involved.  If some matter of unresolved distrust or disobedience lingers, our disquiet may signal the need for honest and humble discourse with God in order to experience His promised forgiveness through faith and repentant contrition.  Moreover, we may also have unsettled issues with people that hinder our experience of peace with the Lord.  Loving Him involves loving people, and peace of the heart requires peace with other human hearts when at all possible (Isaiah 26:3; Psalm 51:1-8; Matthew 5:23-24; Romans 12:18).

   Still sometimes the pains persist, despite our doing all we know to do with God and with people.  Why might this be?  The answer lies in our shared humanity with fellow travelers in a fallen and often difficult world.  Without our own pain, the sufferings of others would not capture the attention of our hearts.  Our Lord thus allows portions of some internal challenges to linger, at least to the degree that sympathy and empathy grace our hearts in the love of Christ.  Indeed, our Savior experienced such a lifetime as "the Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).  He identified with those He came to save, and remains our merciful and faith High Priest who is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Hebrews 4:15).  As He lives in us, we will know this identification of love whereby our own discomforts prepare us to minister balm to others.  

    A primary aspect of such ministry involves praying for people who hurt like we hurt.  Such intercession calls us from the black hole of self-centeredness to come forth as a shining sun of light bestowed upon others.  When we feel the need for ongoing comfort, we can be sure that multitudes of others feel the same.  We likely won't know the effect of our prayers for fellow travelers along rugged paths, but we can be sure our merciful Heavenly Father readily responds when we use our own sorrows as opportunity to prayerfully administer His comfort to others.  Upon this basis, our hearts are made ready for other ministries of the others-focused love of Christ.

    Our faith began in this identification of love.  The sorrows of One became the consolation of many.  Let us therefore expect the same in our lives as lingering pains make possible loving persistence in seeking the blessing of those who hurt like we hurt.  The Lord Jesus will be greatly glorified, His balm will be administered in ways beyond our imagining, and our own hearts will know the peace of His devotion to the Father and to people.

"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ."
(II Corinthians 1:3-5)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord.
(Isaiah 2:5)

No comments: