An interesting thought sprang into my mind the other day and I’ve been mulling it over. “Pain is a kind of fast.” Hmmm. Interesting.
Normally, we think of fasting from food. The purpose of the abstaining from food (among many purposes) is to remind us to seek God and/or pray for something in particular or in general. In other words, when a hunger pang hits me, instead of seeking out something to eat, I will seek out God. It’s a way to be nudged to remember God.
Well, pain is like a fast from comfort. When we’re comfortable, it’s easier to forget God. After all, “God, things are pretty good. I’ll check in with you later.” But later doesn’t come–or not as often as we’d like.
But pain makes us, forces us to seek God. Especially when medical solutions don’t seem to be working. So at the least we seek Him for guidance as to what to do next. And He loves it! He wants to guide us. That’s affirmed by Psalm 73:23-24 “Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
24With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.
My blogger friend and fellow traveler down the path of back pain, Rachel Beran (http://beranville.blogspot.com/), shared Psalm 73:25-26 with me and it made me look at several important verses in that Psalm:
25Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
26My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Those are wonderful words. Yet challenging. “I desire nothing on earth”????? Like, as in, not wanting to go clothes shopping? Or get relief from pain? Or watch “The Golden Girls” on TV (No! I still haven’t seen all the reruns!) Or …. You name it…whatever is your favorite earthly thing.
Yes, I know. I don’t really think, as you do, that God doesn’t want us to enjoy those things. He delights in giving good gifts to His children. But pain, the fast from comfort, makes me really focus on what truly is important. We’d most likely be willing to give up just about anything to be delivered from pain. And if you don’t believe that, you haven’t been in pain…enough pain.
But I feel like I’m rambling. I said I’m still mulling this over. I can’t say yet God is all I desire on earth but I think in a small way, fasting from comfort is getting me a tiny bit closer there. For sure, He wants to be my strength and has shown Himself faithful for that. And remember: even seeking God for relief from pain is seeking Him. We are coming to Him for help and we are exhibiting our dependence upon Him knowing that He is our Great Physician, even as He uses earthly medicine.
As I read over all of Psalm 73, the last verse really struck me also. 28But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.
“The nearness of God is my good.” Is for my good. As I fast from comfort through pain, it is good to seek God. He becomes more precious and important, more and more near to me. A refuge from fear that this will be my lot in life. A refuge from the temptation to make everything about me. And the strength to not be crabby (OK, imperfectly).
Even though He allows hard times, I’m more convinced of His love and care for me. I don’t like the journey. And I hope this kind of fast is temporary. But He is becoming “more of” enough for me. (But I still can’t wait to go clothes shopping).