Friday, November 21, 2014

A Place of Healing

Joni Eareckson Tada is one of my heroes. She wrote A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty (2010) when she was in a difficult season of chronic pain. Her words have ministered to me in a similar way that Amy Carmichael’s have in her book about pain, Rose from Brier (1933). Here is a passage from A Place of Healing:

Who can understand the ways of God? As Solomon noted, “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?” (Proverbs 20:24) The truth is that you and I –if we see anything at all—perceive only the dimmest outline or shadow of God’s plan and purpose. His ways are often mysterious, and it’s beyond our capacity to analyze His actions or predict what He might do next.

As the prophet Isaiah asked: Who has understood the mind of the Lord, or instructed him as his counselor?

The answer: no one. Not ever. But even with our limited understanding, with time and with much prayer, the daylight dawns, and we discover what Jeremiah told us so many centuries ago: God’s plans for us really are full of hope and a future.

Even when that path leads through pain…

There’s nothing like real hardships to strip off the veneer in which you and I so carefully cloak ourselves. Heartache and physical pain reach below the superficial, surface places of our lives, stripping away years of accumulated indifference and neglect. When pain and problems press us up against a holy God, suffering can’t help but strip away years of dirt. Affliction has a way of jackhammering our character, shaking us up and loosening our grip on everything we hold tightly.

But the beauty of being stripped down to the basics, sandblasted until we reach a place where we feel empty and helpless, is that God can fill us with Himself. When pride and pettiness have been removed, God can fill us with “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Joni's words make me think of Laura Story's song  Blessings:

What if your blessings come through raindrops
What if your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

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