He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him.
Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. Isaiah 53:3-4 Amplified Version
It feels strange to be typing again, after these last two weeks of being almost bed-ridden. I had not seen this coming, even though I knew there might be some side effects to the RA infusion that was scheduled for me. “I’ve had so many different medications, God will get me through” I told myself. But I should have listened to the whispered urging that Jesus had spoken to me the week before. . . .
I was part of Bonnie Gray’s Lenten Study, offered at her website by clicking here. The Scripture passage for pondering that week was from Matthew chapter 26, as Jesus was agonizing over the burden that had been placed upon Him:
Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:38 NIV
As Bonnie asked us to imagine ourselves there, and to listen to Jesus as if He were asking us to stay with Him then, I realized that my soul was resisting the thought of where He was asking me to stay.
Hadn’t I already faced enough sorrow on this journey?
How could He ask me to face more?
Oh, but He did. The sorrows multiplied, and the darkness threatened to overtake me as the side effects of the infusion embroiled through my body. As the physical pain and dizziness became unbearable, deep depressive thoughts, deeper than I had ever faced, threatened to overwhelm me. But into the very midst of those thoughts, precious family and friends were praying over me, and a fog of peace held me fast. The days were a blur, even as my sweet grandchildren cuddled me softly and read aloud when my own voice was too weak to read to them.
And as the fog began to part, the voice of my Lord spoke thoughts gentle to my ears– thoughts that I had just begun to glimpse during the weeks prior to the trial’s surging:
“Stay with Me here.”
I heard the words chasing
me down the path
I had tried to follow
I saw the chores piled up.
I heard the clock ticking
my heart matched its
Just give me a minute.
I heard the bells warning
sounding in that moment
before I stumbled
Still the words came
“Stay with Me here”
“I would rather not.”
I heard my words stiffly
scruffling and scratching
from wistful gazings unfurled
But the path was halted.
And I heard only silence
when my pain engulfed
a world spinning in fog
Ugly words found voice.
I heard their screaming
within to join their running
to race to an awful end
But HIS hands held me fast.
I heard my voice urging
outside of the fray
“Jesus, come save me!”
“Stay with Me here”
I heard His voice wooing
His staying became mine
His heart woven over
His love for me now
Stay with me here.
Jesus knew His disciples had no power to stay on their own.
And yet He asked them.
Jesus knew I had no power of my own to stay with Him there.
And yet He asked me.
He knew that HIS own staying would become the power we each need,
when we have none left.
You might remember the post from a few months ago, when I had told a dear friend that it felt like my own body had become the enemy. It was then she posed the question:
“Can you love your enemies, even if it feels like your own body has become the enemy?”
Jesus brought the answer to that question in the midst of these foggy painful days. I would never be able to love my enemies until I could speak as He did hanging upon the cross:
And Jesus prayed, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34 Amplified Version
Those enemies who seek to harm us? They are not the real enemy. And my body’s own immune system that seems to keep harming me? It is not the real enemy. Of course I know that sin and this darkened evil sent from the enemy of our souls is the real enemy. But I have not embraced the deep love that Jesus has there for my body, as well as my heart.
Our Lord loved us when we were so broken. When it was our sin that put Him on that cross, He still saw the beauty in us. And He is asking if I can forgive my own body for doing what it doesn’t understand. Can I forgive my body when it doesn’t respond as I think it should, when I don’t understand?
Can I forgive and see the beauty that He does?
He carries me to the place of staying, the place of loving, and holds me fast in His heart.
I have been offered so many prayers these past few weeks, and my soul is overflowing with longing to pray for and with each one who would read these words:
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for seeing right inside of our weakened places and loving us right there. Thank You for each one of these my friends who have offered their love and prayers for me over these many weeks. Lord, would You show them just how precious they are to You, how beautiful their eyes are, how lovely their hearts beat? I ask for a special flowing of Your mercy to cover their own weak places, and a power from Your Spirit to hold them fast when they feel they are crumbling. I ask for the gift of forgiveness for things spoken or committed against them, things that are so hard to understand. Would You cover us all with Your gentle balm and Your strong arms. We are so in love with You.
In Your Precious Name we pray,
What is Jesus whispering to your heart today?
I am seeking to listen to HIS word for me as I discuss medication failures with my Rheumatologist today. I am so thankful that Jesus is still my Great Physician, holding me safe in His hands.
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