Thursday, May 1, 2014

Jesus is Enough – The Sweet Presence of Jesus in Pain ~ by Jana

Be strong, be bold, don’t be afraid or frightened, for Adonai your God is going with you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.  Deuteronomy 31:6

The stabbing pain of grim news was brought to our ears through the doctor’s gentle yet concerned voice, “There is an exceptionally large tumor on the kidney.  It is serious.  You will be admitted to hospital now. We must do surgery immediately.”  My husband and I sat close on the tiny couch.  We looked deeply into one another’s tear soaked eyes and were dumbfounded.  The numbness quickly began to set in.  This was OUR little five-year-old boy, Ben, our only son.  Our world immediately began to narrow.  The blur of activity, appointments, surgery, recovery, radiation, chemotherapy, endless, long hospital stays, medical appointments and family separation had begun.    It was all coming at us like bullets from a gun.  Yet, through it all, there was a distinct peace and tangible presence of our LORD Jesus.  We never needed Him like this before.  Our valleys had never been this deep.  Strangely, we questioned whether He was able.  Could His mercy meet us here?  

Less than 24 hours before these trials began, we were sitting as a family in church.  Although we didn’t know it at the time, the sermon was a gift of preparation for us.  The pastor was speaking on living with pain and suffering.  One illustration he used was an earthly father who received the gut wrenching news of his son’s cancer diagnosis.  The message was to lean hard into God’s goodness during trials and trust that no matter how painful the road ahead is God is underneath us bearing us up during it all.  I thought, “great message, but that’s NOT us!  Thank God it’s not us!  Things have been going well in our lives.”  Oh, but it WAS us!!  Our merciful LORD was preparing our hearts to receive the news.  Even at that moment He had a tight and loving grip on us, His beloved children.

Ironically, our son’s cancer birthed for each member of our family a new and tender relationship to our merciful LORD:  one of utter dependence.

Valleys, sorrows and despair are all around of us.  We receive news that stirs despondency in our souls.  It might be a fatal accident, word of another fallen Christian leader, discord in our fellowship with other believers, personal physical limitations or failed health, or as it was for me, dreaded news that my little boy had an extremely rare, cancerous tumor.  We cannot escape these places the LORD Jesus allows in our lives, but the undeniable, comforting truth is that those who belong to Him cannot walk deep, dark valleys alone.  

There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides across the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.  Deuteronomy 33:26-28

HIS everlasting arms.  He is holding us and providing peace that ONLY He is able to give.  Our family instantly and fully experienced His comfort.  It has not let us go.

Jesus was the propitiation for our sins.  He took our punishment on the cross.  Without this sacrifice on our behalf, we would not be His children, have our eternal hope of salvation and a place in heaven.  But wait! There is MORE.  Have you ever thought about what else Jesus bore as He lived among man, suffered, hung and died on the cross?  Look at a familiar passage with new eyes:
Who has believed what he has heard from us?
    And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
    a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:1-5

In the tragedies of our lives, we long for answers.  We seek comfort.  The One who bore our sins and gave us new life also willingly bore our all of our griefs and carries our sorrows.  We BELONG to Him. When we rest in that, we experience HIS living presence through the pain and trials.  We are not alone.  We have Him who is acquainted with it all.  What comfort!

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.  

Psalm 56:8

The time of intense cancer treatment and major life change for our family is past.  We are through that valley and slowly our lives are returning to “normal”.  That is what we seek – but will never find.  We cannot forget how the LORD Jesus was present with us for He continues to comfort us and cause us to remember His goodness to us during our darkest times.  Our lives are filled with memories of His hand on our lives and we will never be the same.   

Other trials will surely come and because of His sweet promises we can be assured that we will not lose heart for He has promised, "God himself has said, “I will never fail you or abandon you.” Hebrew 13:5b  The literal translation is:  I will never ever, no not ever fail you nor never, ever, no, not ever abandon you.  Isn’t that amazing?  A doubled-triple promise!  There is constant nearness of our loving LORD during every valley, during every joy.  He is there comforting and reassuring us.   

He is reminding us that we have a greater hope and greater future, always nestled in His everlasting arms. 

It is my prayer that you will experience His presence and His comfort each day, especially during trials in a way that causes you to rest peacefully in the Man of Sorrows who was acquainted with grief.

1 comment:

  1. What an incredible encouragement. Amen...Jesus is right there to comfort and even carry is through our trials. He knows our every weakness and feels our sorrow more than we ever can. What a Savior!