O Lord, do You stand far off? Why do You hide Yourself in times of
For years, my mother has suffered from
severe neck pain, with headaches that emanate from the neck pain. I
have gained some insight into her suffering, during the past year.
I have had a year of the most irksome neck pain that just won't go
away. It hurts constantly, and I now understand something about her
Here's some of what I note in relation to
pain that simply will not end:
It's tiring - your energy diminishes.
It reduces your ability to concentrate.
There is an increased need for sleep, coupled with
a perplexing inability to sleep through the night.
Depression becomes difficult to avoid.
Chronic pain can be non-physical, such as
that which stems from the loss of a loved one. The blow can be so
great that it does not seem possible for life to continue. Simply
rising from bed takes enough energy to leave no strength for
whatever you got up for in the first place. You know what needs to
be accomplished, but it seems impossible to do it, though a part of
you wants it done.
You might wonder, "Where is God?" when such
things occur, or, as the Psalmist cried out, "Why
standest Thou afar off, O Lord?" (Psalm 10:1).
In the book, "Streams
in the Desert," we read, "'God is a
very present help in trouble' (Psalm 46:1),
but He permits trouble to pursue us, as
though He was indifferent to its overwhelming pressure, that we may
be brought to the end of ourselves, and led to discover the treasure
of darkness, the immeasurable gains of tribulation. We may be sure
that He who permits the suffering is with us in it. It may be that
we shall see Him only when the trial is passing, but we must dare to
believe that He never leaves the crucible… It is dark - the bandages
blind us so that we cannot see the form of our High Priest; but He
is there, deeply touched. Let us not rely on feeling, but on faith
in His unswerving fidelity; and though we see Him not, let us talk
to Him. Directly we begin to speak to Jesus, as being literally
present, though His presence is veiled, there comes an answering
voice which shows that He is as near when you journey through the
dark tunnel as when under the open heaven."
Though we may not perceive Him at the
moment, He is WITH us in our pain.
I received an email a few days ago, in which
the question was posed, "Would you take a million dollars for your
eyes… Your arms? Your legs?" The point of the email was that we
should REJOICE in what we have, instead of always grumbling about
what we think has been denied us. But sometimes, that is very hard
We have been privileged to become acquainted
with wonderful people from what you might call the "paralyzed"
community. Those who have usable arms and legs, tend to take such
things for granted. Those who don't have them, often become people
of great courage, who discover God in their need.
In our church (www.fridaystudy.org)
we have wonderful musicians, who have blessed us by sharing their
music. One of them is Renée Bondi, and you can hear her by visiting
Friday Study Ministries. While you're there, read her wonderful
story in the section we call, "Especially For Women". Use the link
provided and visit her website. You'll be glad you did.
Renée is a quadriplegic who was told by
doctors after her accident, ten years before, "You'll never sing
again" (her diaphragm muscles were paralyzed), and "You'll never
have children." The first time we met her, we loved her singing
voice and can personally testify that God has somehow compensated
for those paralyzed muscles in an amazing way. In our second
meeting, we were again blessed by her music, and then touched, as
her (then) five-year old son ran up the aisle of the church to greet
Right now, she is suffering from what they
call a "pressure sore", which is dangerous to a quadriplegic. It's
a sore that is very slow to heal and can actually be
life-threatening. Renée has now had surgery to promote healing from
within, but she must remain face-down in a bed, for at least the
next several months. Perhaps for the next year, she will be denied
even the relative freedom of a wheelchair. Her neck and shoulders
hurt and she is suffering from sadness. (Please pray for Renée
Try to imagine not being able to use your
body in any way, except your head, and then see yourself strapped
face down onto a gurney or hospital bed, for months. We've seen it
repeatedly, that God will allow "deficiencies" in life and then
compensate wonderfully for them in other areas. But, He may, for
whatever reason, remove the compensation and leave the person to
wonder, "Where is God for me?"
We see this in the words of the Psalmist,
who cried, "Why, O Lord, do You stand far
off? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?" and in
the words of Jesus, who gasped from the cross, "My
God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Psalm 22:1)
But the Father does NOT "hide" Himself from
us. Often our emotional and physical pain will blind us to His
presence. We saw in "Streams in the Desert", "He
who permits the suffering is with us in it." The Psalmist
observed, "You HEAR, O Lord, the desire of
the afflicted, You encourage them, and You listen to their cry"
(Psalm 10:17). Jesus, the Innocent One, bore our sins on the cross,
an infinitely greater pain than even physical distress, horrible
though it was. And "when He (God the Son)
cried to Him (God the Father), He HEARD" (Psalm 22:18). The
Father heard the Son, and He hears you and me.
Lord, our pain is great and our needs are
many. Thank You that You are WITH me in my suffering, even when I do
not perceive You. I lift my eyes from my trouble and trust in You
now. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
Tel: (562) 688-5559
PO Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131
we were yet sinners, Christ died for us"