The Ministry of Enduring Pain

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
    praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
    but rejoicing comes in the morning.

  • Psalm 30:4-5

“But there is a limit to man’s ability to live without joy. Even Christ could endure the cross only because of the joy set before Him. The strongest steel breaks if kept too long under unrelieved tension. God knows exactly how much pressure each one of us can take. He knows how long we can endure the night, so He gives the soul relief, first by welcome glimpses of the morning star and then by the fuller light that harbingers the morning.
“Slowly you will discover God’s love in your suffering. Your heart will begin to approve the whole thing. You will learn from yourself what all the schools in the world could not teach you—the healing action of faith without supporting pleasure. You will feel and understand the ministry of the night; its power to purify, to detach, to humble, to destroy the fear of death and, what is more important to you at the moment, the fear of life. And you will learn that sometimes pain can do what even joy cannot, such as exposing the vanity of earth’s trifles and filling your heart with longing for the peace of heaven.”

  • A. W. Tozer, We Travel an Appointed Way

Few people like pain, and I think those that love pain have a problem.  And I have often written about the fifth bowl of God’s wrath that it is no accident that total darkness follows a plague that leaves people in pain.

Not long after I endured a week of total isolation due to taking a dose of radioactive iodine to kill the thyroid (a treatment for Grave’s Disease), I began having strange dreams.  In the dream, I had strange earworms, songs that I did not know, and I had to know the lyrics of the next part of the song or I would die.  I know, that was weird in itself, but I was so agitated upon awakening that I refused to go back to sleep.  I have a tendency at times to continue a dream after I wake up and fall back to sleep.

That alone bothers my wife.  She used to get dreams often.  She would remember every detail of the dream.  I think she could talk for four hours about the details of a dream that only lasted thirty minutes.  She thought I was weird when I said that I rarely remembered anything about my dreams other than my sensations – happy dream, sad dream, scary dream.  I rarely remembered what was going on or who was in the dream.  But then when I told her that I had a dream, awoke from it, went back to sleep and continued the dream, then I was weird.

I wonder if you caught that pattern.  If I could not do what my wife could do, I was weird.  And if she could not do what I could do, I was weird.  I suppose that makes us a married couple.

Anyway, back to what I called night-terrors, nightmares were bland compared to those puppies.  I sat in a cold sweat after waking up.  I rolled over and stared into the darkness.  Then my eyes got heavy, and my mind said, “Don’t go back there!  You’ll die if you do!!”  I jumped out of bed and turned on the lights.  I could chase the demons away, but only if the light was on.

Of course, we cannot chase the demons away.  God can and He is the source of the Light.

So, we can have all sorts of terrors in the darkness, or night-terrors in our sleep, but in the light that God provides, nothing can hide in the shadows.  There are no shadows.  We are perfectly safe.

Accept Jesus into your heart, and trust in Him to provide the Light.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.


Add yours →

  1. Paul had the radioactive iodine procedure too. He was led into a room that seemed to have steel walls. There was a chair and a table. Upon the table was a container with a syringe in it. The nurse, whom he says was armored up, filled the container with the contents of the syringe, told him to drink it and left the room. He thought he might be glowing when he came out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I simply had a pill, but it was the largest pill that I have ever swallowed. I agree with Paul that the nurse looked armored, but the walls were probably covered in lead. The steel thickness would have to be a lot thicker for the same result. And when I was exposed to tritium in mid 80s (highest uptake in history for industrial uptakes) my wife joked that we did not need a night light, but I did not glow! Honest!!


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