I have a wonderful godly friend who lives in the sunshine state of Florida. She knows about pain. When I met her she was overcoming a shattered leg caused by a painful fall. With prayer, time and rehab she began to recover. Just as she was recovering, she decided to drive herself to the doctor. Through an unenviable set of circumstances, she crashed her car through a plate glass showroom window and crushed her other leg, winding up in the hospital for quite some time – yes, in great pain.
She told me unequivocally that her experience had brought her into such a state of intimacy with God the Father that it was almost incomparable.
Most of us, given the chance, would skip pain altogether. I know some faith people who think you shouldn’t have it, and God can’t use it; it’s all about choice. These folks, bless their hearts, tend to jump over mega portions of Scripture to justify a theology that doesn’t exist in the Bible, although it’s highly popular and attractive. We’ve labeled this “the health and wealth gospel.” I’m for both, believe me, but I like the whole Bible and not just the parts that suit me.
C.S. Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity, to name a few of his works, said, “Pain is God’s megaphone to a deaf world.”
Are we that deaf? Yes. For some people it may take repetitive experiences of pain to be broken enough in their souls to experience the wonderful presence of God. I’ve always related to the Three Stooges who were constantly slapping each other around to learn noting. Sooner or later (mostly later) I got it. Others will say, “No thanks.” They’d rather remain in their comfort zones with God at safe distance. I was at a large citywide business meeting recently where the invocation was given to “the God of the universe.” Wow, talk about intimacy (excuse my sarcasm). That’s about as close as some people get.
The Bible has many paradoxes. Lower yourself to be exalted, lose your life that you may find it; the first shall be last and the last first, etc.
But God has also provided a way to be healed by the hurts we suffer, particularly the deep ones that tend to withstand the most righteous people’s prayers, perseverance, scriptural knowledge and experience (ask Job). I know this firsthand, having gone through years of trial and testing with much pain to boot. “Through many dangers, toils and snares” should be on my tombstone. Paul called suffering “Our light affliction,” after being stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked, imprisoned numerous times, beaten with rods and one who faced continuous persecution within and without the church. Oh, been hurt by a church or a Christian ministry? The line forms right behind me.
It’s true sometimes that a simple prayer can heal those deep wounds, but what happens when after many years of seeking, and doing all you know to do the pain remains?
Third Day People
God has designed a means of healing all hurts that He knew about ahead of time and ALLOWED to happen. In His sovereignty He knew sin would bring great sorrow and pain, and He allowed the enemy of our souls to play a part in our suffering. Notice I write He the Father didn’t cause it, but He doesn’t always prevent it. Notice also in this incredible passage His foreknowledge of pain to bring about resurrection power:
COME AND let us return to the Lord, for He has torn so that He may heal us; He has stricken so that He may bind us up. After two days He will revive us (quicken us, give us life); on the third day He will raise us up that we may live before Him. Yes, let us know (recognize, be acquainted with, and understand) Him; let us be zealous to know the Lord [to appreciate, give heed to, and cherish Him]. His going forth is prepared and certain as the dawn, and He will come to us as the [heavy] rain, as the latter rain that waters the earth (Hosea 8:1-3 Amp).
I’ve met few “Third Day People” in my life. These distinguish themselves in their primary desire to KNOW the Lord no matter what they experience. In the South, people use this phrase to describe their salvation, but this passage isn’t speaking of this — it’s about a depth of intimacy that most will say “no thanks” to.
Let’s break this passage down a bit. Life has a way of tearing us. Face it — it is overwhelming at times. Things sometimes come at us in buckets, each laden with enough concrete to knock our brains out. Yeah, and sometimes words tear our spirits to shreds from the people we least expect to receive such treatment from. One woman told me recently that when her husband died, the pastor of her church didn’t even call. She had to find an associate from another church to do the funeral. Welcome to 2016…
That He May Heal Us and Bind Us Up…
The bottom line here ain’t about our happiness and peace. That comes later in the sweet bye and bye. I love the peace of God, but I don’t always have it. The ultimate deal here is not getting a momentary fix but a complete overhaul – a new model, if you will. Bob Mumford said this about fixing: “When God fixes a fix to fix you, and you fix the fix before it fixes you, God has to fix another fix to fix you.”
After Two Days…
You like Jesus may stay “in the grave” a couple of days, which may seem like a couple of millennia. Been there and I have warehouse full of t-shirts. One Christian brother, who was going through his share of trouble, said to me, “What tha hell is going on?” (OK, if you’re religious, forgive that reference). This dear brother, who was beyond faithful, got a virus in his body from a problem 30 years earlier and almost died. Later he died from cancer. He had so much Jesus in him that it was a blessing just to be around him. At his death he said to his son in his inimitable way, “Sorry but I gotta go.” His son Michael replied, “No, dad, 24/7 around the throne.” You gotta love it.
That We May Live…
Living for most people means they get all they can and can all they get. This life is what it’s all about, but this life is so short it’s ridiculous. Paul called it “a vapor.” My 50th high school reunion is this April. I am 68 years old, and it seems like yesterday that I was walking the hallowed halls of Vigor High School – without a pass. Somehow I got from 18 to where I am today quicker than a New York minute. Lord willing, I could go another 20 years or so… maybe, but I’m learning to “live before Him.” I’m sure I have my detractors who think little of me, but that’s ok – they don’t know my journey. Speaking of “know,” this passage refers to “knowing the Lord.” The Hebrew word here is translated as the following:
1) to know
1a1) to know
1a1a) to know, learn to know
1a1b) to perceive
1a1c) to perceive and see, find out and discern
1a1d) to discriminate, distinguish
1a1e) to know by experience
1a1f) to recognize, admit, acknowledge, confess
1a1g) to consider
1a2) to know, be acquainted with
1a3) to know (a person carnally)
1a4) to know how, be skillfull in
1a5) to have knowledge, be wise
As you can tell, this is a great deal more than acknowledgment of Christ as your Savior. You can come to know Him in “the heavy rain” or in an extremely intimate way.
Pain that Leads to Healing
The pain we experience in life can lead to healing if we will let it. The deeper pain, though possibly tucked away inside for many years – possibly since birth – can be healed because God 0can use your current pain to heal you of the pain that came in many years ago. The key word in this passage is IF – IF we go on to KNOW the Lord.
Joseph Beckham is the author of Overcoming Bipolar Disorder & Other Mental Difficulties: A Christian Perspective.
Get the print version today at https://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=overcoming+bipolar+disorder+%26+Other+mental+difficulties&type=. The print version also will soon be available on Amazon, ITunes and other book distribution websites along with the epub version, which is already available. Joe is also the author of Deeper Water for Thirsty Souls – http://amzn.com/1493781286