Why do you now cry aloud—
have you no king?
Has your ruler perished,
that pain seizes you like that of a woman in labor?
Writhe in agony, Daughter Zion,
like a woman in labor,
for now you must leave the city
to camp in the open field.
You will go to Babylon;
there you will be rescued.
There the Lord will redeem you
out of the hand of your enemies.
- Micah 4:9-10
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
- Joel 2:28
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
- Revelation 21:3-4
As for the photograph. My left wrist is in a brace, and underneath the brace a lot of liniment, and my hand is holding a back scratcher, purchased after the doctor insisted that I do so. More on that to follow.
This may seem to be an odd collection of Scripture verses, but they connect, sort of. The first talks about extreme pain, like the pain of childbirth. The second talks about old men dreaming dreams. It could be old men and women, but I have no dreams to talk about anyway – the pain has kept me up at night. And the last verse talks of an eternity without pain or crying, because the “old order” has passed away.
I would like to know who ordered all this pain?!?! I know; I know. Our sin nature carries the curse of the sin with it. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He washes away the sin, but part of the package deal is to take up our cross and follow. That is painful. So, we should not feel entitled to a pain free life. Even the heathens will suffer. They just will not have God within them to give them strength.
What brought this on? A couple of months ago, my back was itching (still does), and I needed it scratched. It was not that my wife refused to scratch it, but after she did, it would become itchy again within an hour. There is an old line from a Cub Scout song that I remember – just not the song – and it goes, “Itchy, itchy, scratchy, scratchy, ooo, I’ve got one on my backie!” The itch is probably dry skin, but lotions just mean that my back is itchy while oily or greasy. So, I found that I could reach the itchy spot (most of my back, but…) between the shoulder blades with my left hand. A little contortion, but never a painful exercise. But a few weeks later, I awoke with a swollen and painful wrist, overnight, without warning. After a week of topical ointments, liniments, salves… Yes, I can remember helping my grandparents by going to the medicine cabinet and getting the tube that said “liniment” or “salve” on it. Or was salve usually in the tin? After a week of home remedies, I went to the doctor.
Let me go into a rabbit hole before continuing. Many years ago, we visited my parents. To irritate my mother, my Dad would ask for a butter knife by saying, “Could you please pass the salve spreader?” (meaning something to spread the mayonnaise onto the bread, although my folks always used salad dressing.) My mother would lecture him on what a horrible image that conjures up. Then she would lecture me on ending a sentence with a preposition. She never just said something. It was always a lecture. But ever since then, my wife and I call the butter knife a salve spreader. Never did I spread whatever it was on my painful wrist with a butter knife. That would be disgusting.
Back to the story, the doctor had an x-ray taken and I have a “negative ulnar variance.” When I told the Sunday school class that after they saw the brace for three consecutive Sundays, they told me that what the doctor said was gobbledygook to cover up for the fact that the doctor had no idea why I was in pain. The class may be right because that was a few weeks ago. But my annual wellness appointment is approaching, and the doctor will get an earful.
The problem with the pain is that it is not just in the wrist. My tennis elbow is back, having sympathy for my wrist. My left shoulder suddenly remembered, after being pain free for twenty years, that I had a cortisone shot to heal an injury sustained in Thailand in 1997. More sympathy for the wrist!! And a new pain emerged, probably carpal tunnel in the middle of my left hand. When all of those hit you at the same time, all self-inflicted, every morning, all morning, you do not just hurt, you feel sick – like you want to throw up, but not really – like you have a fever, but you don’t.
And since it has been over a month and even the doctor’s “cure” did not work, I wonder if this is just old age.
As my wife says, if you endure the pain a little longer, your brain will get tired of it and block it out. You cannot continue to endure, so the body takes care of it.
I am feeling a little better today. Everything hurts, just not bad enough to feel like I am ill. Maybe my wife is right!!
But as I endure this, I think of the young generations that scream that someone injures them by saying something that they disagree with – not aggressive words meant to harm, just a different point of view. These same youngsters believe that there is no universal objective truth, which of course is a contradiction, in that if that were true then there would have to be exceptions to the rule, since there can be no objective truth, like a rule (known as objective truth) that there is no objective truth. As the professor told the children in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, they just do not teach logic in schools anymore. In fact, they dump propaganda and teach children not to think – for the most part. “Do good on the standardized test, and we could care less if you ever think.”
But if a different opinion than your own is hurtful and painful, wait until you experience real pain – like child birth, kidney stones, or rotator cuff rehab. It hurts. You will not think a statement like “God loves you” is painful after you experience real pain. You might even cry out to the God that you do not believe in for some pain relief.
And why can we old folks endure pain? We have had pain all our lives, and we know what to do about it. If liniment does not work, then we see the doctor, and if the doctor cannot help, we learn to live with it. And if it is pain that the doctor would not be interested in, we pray. At least, true believers do. But we do not go crying to the chancellor of the university that we think the sky is blue and someone said the sky is brown and that caused us to have pain.
When you endure such “pain” which is no pain at all, you get to a point where your brain can handle the fact that someone disagrees with you. (Now if one of my sons got in my face and disagreed with me, it would be painful for me due to disrespect, first, and then knowing that what I had said was for their good and going the other way would be painful to them.)
In fact, with everyone having their own personal truth and ignoring the real truth all around you, EVERYONE will have a different opinion than your own on at least one things, but probably most things. This is another contradiction in the secular way of “saying” things, for they do not “think.” Two thoughts that cannot coexist are the thoughts that “everyone has their own truth” and “your truth has to be the same as mine because if not, it will cause me pain.”
And I am reminded of a conversation that I had a few weeks ago with my only surviving uncle, who is in his mid-90s and got married about six weeks ago after being a widower for a couple of years. He talked about getting another book published, God’s Physical Record of Creation. He is a PhD geologist. I want a copy, but I do not think it is out yet, Trilogy Publishing, connected to Trinity Broadcasting. He also talked about walking three laps around his assisted living facility, a distance of just over a mile, about three times each week. And then he said that he was doing well for a man of his age, but what gets you when you get old was that you have a lack of strength.
My wife may be right that even with my injury, the pain will eventually be blocked out. But my uncle is right also. I am having difficulty turning the faucet off in the bathroom and turning the doorknob.
But I endure. Jesus Christ endured much more, and it will not be much longer until I am in that place with no crying and no pain.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.