Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life… For if we have been united with Him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.
~paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Romans 6
Oh beloved, it is true.
Each has our own journey. And for each of us, our pain is sacred, even holy. So please know that each of you who read this, you are in my prayers and I honor your willingness to look to Him for help.
Walk on down through the dark with Him, He will not leave you. Let Him take you back through the memories, and pain – but this time, see Him as He truly was / is / and will be. G_d is with you, and caring for you in the midst of it all.
This entry is an attempt to explain why pain can be a very good thing. Pain is like the flux of a Master Welder, cleaning the space between us – to draw our being into complete union with Him under the fire of His Holy Spirit at work within us.
Him in us, and us in Him.
My brother-in-law was a Master Pipefitter. He has gone home to be with the Lord. But, he was the best welder I ever met. I have seen a lot of finished welds in my work, and very few of them were better than what Steve could lay down.
However, Steve showed me something else one time when he was over to my house to help me with a gas line installation (gotta love having a brother who likes helping on projects!). I was asking about the difference between soldering, brazing and welding… I guess I had missed it before.
Proper welding of metal pieces, makes them one. The area of the weld is a true union of the two separate pieces. All of this starts with some intense cleansing. Then there is the application of a fluxing material, or gas, that augments the environment right around a weld-point. The flux enables this thermal / chemical reaction to complete properly.
Can we see it?
Pain is the flux G_d uses to make us one with Him. The pain of His Son pouring everything out for us, and bearing all of our sins on Himself. The pain we feel over our own sins, along with the losses, and disappointments.
With no competition, I simply say that I understand pain too. The depths of some of what I experienced took me to the edge of sanity. I lost everything, including family, career, health, and four kids about 12 years ago (they live in this world but are lost to me)… I was absolutely coming apart from the betrayals and loss.
By the way, I started out horribly, by trying to ‘put things behind me’ and manage my own pain, which only left me dying from drinking and isolation, and pain. Oh GOD! The pain… Years of putting everything into my life – and it was all gone. All. of. it.
I can’t fully describe what happened to me over a nine month period starting in October of 2010, but it started with me utterly surrendering all of me and my circumstances to Him. It was a grinding, very non-religious prayer that included cursing – but I said to Him. “Ok God. F– this. Just fix me. Do whatever You gotta do. Kill me if you have to, but just fix me.”
The nine months of being made new continued on a path that included multiple states, a crazy amazing stay at the Colony of Mercy, thousands of miles of travel, and me learning to dwell – and STAY – in His Presence.
This period was consummated during one of the wildest few hours of my life. Sitting in the sun on the side of a mountain, looking off into hundreds of miles of forest, He met there, and sat with me as I wept more deeply than I knew I could. I sat on a big flat rock for about two hours and just poured it all out to Him. I could not see Him with my eyes, but His near Presence was tangible, and it seemed I could feel His hands on my shoulders a couple of times.
But at the end of all of this, He took me even further.
He said, give Me your children, Mak. Give Me your hopes. Give Me your desires. For you to live, you must leave everything on this mountain. It was disorienting; even dizzying.
I left the mountain with nothing. Nothing but Him. But this was just the first weld. Plenty more flux (pain) would be needed to keep the process going over the years, that I might learn that He who walked off that mountain with me was enough, very enough indeed.
There have been periods of pain so crushing that it feels like I am not going to make it. But, here is what I learned in all of this: The old me has to die, that the new creation I am in Christ may burst forth and become preeminent.
I am learning this too: Pain is just pain. It is a beautiful tool that He uses to make us real, alive and whole in Him. And sometimes, in our most purpose-fulfilling moments, we can actually hear Him moving towards us through the pain. He is using it to scrub away the space between us. He is weeping with passion as He tears down anything that would keep the two of us apart. He calls out saying, OH friend! It’s OK! I AM here. There is no other way right now. Will you trust Me? I really do have this under control. It’s just going to hurt. That’s all, nothing else has changed.
So, are you feeling some intense pain right now? All is well. In fact, you may be going through some of the best times of your life in this very moment.
Death is only painful to him who resists it. The imagination exaggerates its terrors. The spirit argues endlessly to show the propriety of the life of self. Self-love fights against death, like a sick man in the last struggle. But we must die inwardly as well as outwardly… Our great care should be that the spirit of self dies first. For then our bodily death will be but a falling asleep. ~François de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.