Be Still Know
Romans 5:3 NLT
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.”
I remember thinking, after my wife Katey died following her long battle with MS, that at some point the pain of loss would go. I also thought I heard the same message from many people that the pain would pass; however, it had to be given time. I certainly took the advice to heart and didn’t really do very much – well, was unable to do much – for a year following her funeral. In my mind that year was to recuperate, grieve and return healed and ready for action. How naive I was!
Some six years on, I still cry over Katey’s loss of life; I’m even welling up as I craft this meditation. The intensity is not the same, yet the depth of the pain is perhaps greater. Now I discover that my memories are of Katey in her younger days, shared moments of fun and laughter. Initially all my images were of her in the final ravages of the MS, and I was unable to push back beyond these to the vibrant girl I’d wooed and wed. However, Christ is ever-present in those painful memories.
Pain is a foundational part of life. None of us seek it out, yet each one of us will confront it in different ways. Paul speaks of how such pain is, in fact, a source of our discipleship in Christ – for pain teaches us perseverance and perseverance gives birth to hope and hope consistently reminds us of Christ. Indeed, Jesus himself wasn’t immune to pain, as his crucifixion shows.
As Mary and the disciples stood at the foot of the cross, gazing upon the dying Messiah, their thoughts must have been consumed with the sadness that accompanies the grief of defeat and loss. Yet, without that death there could be no resurrection.
QUESTION: How do you perceive pain? Are you able with Paul to find the head and heart space to endure with your eyes fixed upon the hope that endurance nurtures?
PRAYER: Father, I know we live in a broken world, so when I walk through the valley of shadows, I am thankful that you are with me.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright C 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc, Wheaton, Illinois 60189 USA. All rights reserved.