Posts Tagged ‘Pain’

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Shards of Pain © by Ross Cochrane using GetPaint.net

Matthew 20:18-19 – FACING THE FUTURE

The nausea became too much and I found myself looking into a bowl for several times that day. I thought it must be some gastric bug, but it wasn’t. I admit that my prayerlife was focused on myself that day. “Lord, please heal my body! 

The pain started last Saturday, slowly at first and then it cut deep into my lower stomach in an arc with surging intense bursts (and I had been looking forward to a restful weekend).  

No position in bed on Saturday night would give enough opportunity for sleep and by Sunday I was feeling miserable. No Church, even though my son was preaching. I decided to email my boss and let her know I would not be coming in on Monday. 

By Monday with no respite from the pain I was wondering what was going on; a hernia perhaps, a blockage of some sort and my mind even entertained bowel cancer (as you do)?  

My wife drove me to my doctor, Dr. James. After some painful prodding and questioning, he said, I suppose you expected me to give you a script for chemist shop drugs that will give you relief while I spend another day running some tests. But instead, I am sending you to the emergency department at the Seventh Day Adventist hospital with a suspected Appendicitis attack. They will do the tests much more quickly. I am sure it is to do with your appendix.” My day had changed yet again. We went straight to the hospital.  

From the moment I entered triage, I was treated with such respect and care, starting with Tony, the triage nurse and so many others. They encouraged me to ask my questions. From the ward’s person, to the trainee doctor, Kevin, to nursing staff and the surgeon, Dr. Barto, everyone was so understanding and explained each step. Through all this, my wife, Julie, was there to support me.  

The tests were fairly clear. “You will have the operation to take out your offending appendix at around 7 pm”, said the surgeon, Dr. Barto.  

 

The emotional and mental pain begins for Jesus as He turns towards Jerusalem, knowing exactly what He will go through. He gathers His disciples. He describes what will happen. Unlike me, no care and respect is given. He will be betrayed, condemned, mocked, flogged and crucified with no-one to support Him.  

What anguish must have accompanied this disclosure to His closest friends, but even they seem to show Him no understanding. Instead, they vie for authority in the coming Kingdom with no inkling of comprehension of the concept of servanthood.  

 

There was a space at 4 pm and I was wheeled through the corridors to the operating theatre, and for me, the next thing I remember is waking up in the post-op area and wheeled back to a beautiful room on the 9th floor where I felt euphoric from the anaesthetic and the comforting presence of God and my wife.

 

The offending appendix, I discovered, had been gangrenous. I am grateful to God that when I was helpless, there were those who treated me with care and respect and excellence. I woke the next day to the soft rays of a sunrise through my window.  

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I received care and healing and respect. Jesus received contempt and abuse and disdain. I cannot imagine the torment of inflicted pain that would crush my spirit and body to the point of death. He died, surrounded by the severity of hardened soldiers instead of trusted friends to support Him. They spoke of places of authority at His right and left hand but in the end, they ran away.  

He told them He would rise on the 3rd day. How simple that sounds but in rising again He would wrench the very hatred from a world of sinful opposition and give each mocking face an opportunity to find their way to God through Him. He gave respect where there was none, love where there was only derisive laughter.  

He woke, not like me, from a drug-induced euphoria on a hospital bed, but from the dungeons of death and a stone slab, with a startling rush of breath into His lungs, victory clasped like a scepter in His hand.  

The gangrenous sin seeping its poison in the world with its blackened tendrils of death was cut away and thrown into the void, the offending stench replaced with a sweet-smelling incense to those who put their trust in Christ. 

A gangrenous appendix operation fades into insignificance as I take hold of You, my risen Saviour and grasp just a glimpse of what it must have meant for You to share this disclosure to Your disciples. All I can do is be committed to You who knows the path ahead, even through the valley of death, and enjoy the life you have gifted.  

Pastor Ross 

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Genesis 32:29 – HOW TO HANDLE THE GREATEST CONFLICT OF ALL

Instructions in Diplomatic Integrity – Part 12

Jacob is preparing to come face to face with Esau but along the way, Jacob wrestles with God in human form, who fights with him until dawn? Jacob wouldn’t let the man go. Even after his hip is dislocated, Jacob still holds on and asks God for a blessing (See Part’s 1-11).

How do I come to a place of finding the right outcome when I am experiencing the stress of pain?

  1. BE PERSISTENT IN FINDING THE RIGHT OUTCOME

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Persistence © by Ross Cochrane

Jacob was persistent in pursuing the blessing.

“Please tell me Your Name,” Jacob said. “Why do you want to know My Name?” the man replied. Then He blessed Jacob there” (Genesis 32:29 NLT).

Jacob has been wrestling with God, and now, in pain, he seems unsure.

It is unnecessary for God to reciprocate with a specific name. What is important is that Jacob responds to Him in faith. Faith doesn’t always give us all the information we want but it enables us to trust in God.

It is extremely important that Jacob is subservient to the man who gave him the blessing. So God blesses Jacob in that place. He is both injured and blessed. A most curious thing for God to do. Nobody walks away from a fight with God without a limp; humbled in some way.

What specific kind of blessing is it? It isn’t healing. Perhaps just further reassurance of the promises God had given to him already. Kind of putting God’s stamp of approval on the whole thing with a blow that almost crushed him.

Now he still has to meet Esau and his army of 400 men but it seems to me that after you have fought with God and received a blessing, then 400 men don’t seem as big a problem anymore. What happens with Esau? There’s more of this story to come.

Let me ask you “Have you ever had a similar experience to Jacob?”

Have there been times when you have struggled with God? Perhaps struggled with your belief in Him, or struggled in prayer with Him. It’s worth the struggle because when we struggle with God, we may go through a bit of pain along the way but eventually, if we persist, we will receive God’s blessing.

Don’t give up on the struggle. Don’t give up because you go through difficult times that humble you into the place of complete trust. Hold on to God until the blessing comes. It will demand faith. Then you will begin to understand that there is a bigger picture. What is that picture? (Find out by reading Part 13. Coming Soon).

Pastor Ross

Genesis 32:26-29 – HOW TO HANDLE THE GREATEST CONFLICT OF ALL

Instructions in Diplomatic Integrity – Part 11

Jacob is preparing to come face to face with Esau but along the way, Jacob faces an unknown assailant who fights with him until dawn? Jacob wouldn’t let the man go. Even after his hip is dislocated, Jacob still holds on and, of all things, asks the man for a blessing (See Part’s 1-10).

What sort of blessing is he after? We don’t know.

  1. BE WILLING TO CHANGE

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Be Willing to Change. Key Photo by GaborfromHungary, MorgueFiles

“What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.” “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won” (Genesis 32:27-28 NLT).

So this verse finally tells us who it is who has been wrestling with Jacob, and I am surprised that it is God. God in human form is always astonishing, and this is one of the strangest examples of a Theophany in history.  

“What is your name?” God asks. Jacob had to admit that he was Jacob, meaning the supplanter, the deceiver. Years ago, when his father had asked him “Who are you, my son?” Jacob had lied and told him that he was Esau in order to receive the blessing. Now he admits that he is Jacob and receives the blessing that God always intended. He comes before God with honest intention and his name is changed.

This was not a dream because Jacob came away with a physical injury; a limp for the rest of his life, and a name change that established his faith and authority. We are not told directly, but it is inferred that God changed Jacob’s name because Jacob means deceiver, supplanter, and Israel means One who has struggled with God and man. Change of name, change of spiritual authority.

Am I prepared to allow God to confront my past in order to move on into the future with His purposes for my life? Wrestling with God will change me forever.

  1. ACCEPT THAT NOT ALL QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED

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Not all Questions Will Be Answered © by Ross Cochrane

Why would God attack Jacob? We are not told. How does Jacob start to win? We don’t know. Why would God dislocate Jacob’s hip? Does God inflict harm on his servants? This may have been a spiritual struggle but it resulted in a physical injury delivered by God with a striking blow of violence. Why did Jacob ask God for a blessing after being injured? The writer is obviously not interested in answering my questions.

Lord, You do some strange things sometimes. Wrenching a socket out from Jacob’s thigh is not exactly what Jacob would have expected that night. It was certainly not what I expected You would do, especially since he is about to face Esau’s army of 400 men. If he wasn’t humbled before, he is now?

Lord, aren’t You the One who heals us, not cripples us? Yet the Hebrew word ‏נגע‎ naga apparently means an aggressive “strike” designed to harm. The blow that came from Your hand was so violent and disabling. How do I come to a place of blessing when there is so much pain? (Find out in Part 12. Coming Soon.)

Pastor Ross

Genesis 32:25-26 – HOW TO HANDLE THE GREATEST CONFLICT OF ALL

Instructions in Diplomatic Integrity – Part 10

Jacob is preparing to come face to face with Esau. As if that is not stressful enough, along the way, Jacob faces an unknown assailant? Sometimes we will need to expect the unexpected. And it may be painful.

  1. UNDERSTAND THAT CONFLICTS CAN BE PAINFUL

 

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Pain. © by Ross Cochrane

“When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket” (Genesis 32:25 NLT).

So this is quite a violent thing to do. It must be painful to have your hip wrenched out of its socket. If this unknown assailant could do that, He could obviously finish Jacob off.

All his battles and lies have only ended up with him being expelled from the very land that God had promised to him in order to escape Esau. He has spent most of his life wrestling with people; with Esau, his mother and father, Laban, his own wives. Jacob is at the end of his resources in every way.

This time his struggle must be with the only one who can truly give him the blessing. Jacob is beginning to realise that the real battle for the promises of God is not with Esau but with this unnamed aggressor.

A.W. Tozer apparently said, “The Lord cannot fully bless a man until He has first conquered him.”

Still hanging on to this man and unwilling to let him go, Jacob realises that somehow God is in this fight and this is the greatest conflict of his life. No matter what, he knows that it is too soon to give up.

  1. HOLD ON. IT IS WORTH IT IN THE END.

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Hold on. © by Ross Cochrane

“But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me”” (Genesis 32:26 NLT).

Jacob still wouldn’t let the man go. Even after his hip is dislocated, Jacob still holds on and of all things asks the man for a blessing.

Now this gives us a hint at who the man must be. He has to be someone more powerful than Jacob if Jacob asks him for a blessing. Jacob must have come to recognise who he is wrestling with. But still, we are not told until later.

His assailant is definitely not Esau. Esau had no blessing to bestow on Jacob. It had already been obtained, so this is not Esau or one of his assassins.

Am I willing to hold on, even when things are painful and difficult and overwhelming in the conflict? Am I willing to insist on finding a blessing that will redeem all that I have lost in the battle? When life strikes a blow that crushes me, am I willing to hold on?

Jacob has been involved in the greatest conflict of all. How do I find blessing from battle? What does all this mean? (Find out in Part 11. Coming soon).

Pastor Ross

 

LUKE 2:9 – MARY DID YOU KNOW? Poem

PIETA BY MICHELANGELO

PIETA BY MICHELANGELO

Mary, did you know? – the poem © by Ross Cochrane

Had Mary known the pain that He would bear
When in her arms this baby Jesus lay,
Would she have wanted Him to stay
to face a Cross, and give His very life?
Had Mary known the ugliness of strife
would she have held tiny hands tighter still
while thinking of them nail pierced on deaths hill?

Had Mary known that in this manger lay
the One whose head would lay within a tomb,
would she have gasped each time she came to pray
and sung with tears a lullaby each night
And mourned the seed that issued from her womb?

No! Mary would have only known the joy
Of heavens love within a baby boy.

And if we knew of God’s elusive plan
With eyes to see the pain that we would bear,
Would we have tried to run from grace and prayer
instead of face the cross He bids us take?
Without sufficient strength our pride to break
would we avoid the shaping hands of God,
the disciplines that issue from His rod?

Would we receive the testing desert sun
along with times of joy and hope and light?
Or shape a “painless” destiny and run
with such swift feet away from heaven’s tears
and any preparation for the fight?

No! From the future He has spared us much
That we might know His patient, perfect touch.

MY WIFE’S TATTOO

Posted: November 17, 2012 in Tattoo
Tags: , , , ,

THE TATTOO

© By Ross Cochrane

FAMILY

Tattoos on an arm are painful things,
Are they a lasting label of an impulse, meant
for those souls who are troubled, trying to fit in?
She seeks not to soar with rebels wings!
Fluid, flowing pierced lines, have much more intent
as cut curves trace a word upon her skin.

It brings honour, celebration, love’s praise,
Devotion so special, heaven’s own consent
A soft, sweet song, a tattoed hymn
Her beauty bows, the Father now engraves
His Name upon her skin.

 

Genesis 25:19-22 – WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?

Why is this happening to me?

The pain comes gradually over a three week period and crescendoes on Wednesday.

I need to stay focused in order to counsel a grieving family as we talk about the funeral, so I put the pain aside until 2.30pm when I get in my car, drive home and go to bed for the rest of the afternoon. The next day I see a trainee doctor who tells me that it is all a mystery and suggests a pain killer. The pain doesn’t go away. Will I be able to get up to speak at the funeral?

The next morning I feel completely pain free for the entire time I speak. God’s grace. The power of prayer! I am so grateful. But just as I walk out the door the pain begins again. More pain, another doctor, an Ultrasound, a CT scan, hospital for 3 days. Lord, why is this happening to me?

It seems that over the first 20 year period of their married life God wanted to teach both Isaac and Rebekah about being PERSISTENT IN PRAYER. They knew that Abraham, Isaac’s dad, had trouble having children until they were quite old and now they were faced with the same problem. All they could do was learn the principles of PRAYING WITHOUT CEASING (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

With Abraham’s example, GIVING UP was not an option for Isaac and Rebekah. Matthew 7:7 (NLT) encourages us to “KEEP ON asking, and you will receive what you ask for. KEEP ON seeking, and you will find. KEEP ON knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”

The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man makes a difference (James 5:16) and after 20 years, the Lord answers Isaac’s prayer and Rebekah becomes pregnant with twins (Genesis 25:21). After 20 years!

At what point along the way am I going to give up and take the position that God is not going to answer? What is the point that I resign myself to thinking that He isn’t going to fulfil what He has promised in His Word? Will I stop praying after a week? A month? 6 months? A year? 5 years maybe? 10 years is a long time. 20 years seems forever! Will I stop a day before I receive God’s answer? An hour? A minute too soon? Am I going to do the same thing that Abraham did and try to help God along a little with His promises? Find an answer for myself? My way?

Even when God has already promised to meet my needs, somehow the Lord wants to make me acutely aware that prayer RELEASES what God has promised. Prayer focuses our reliance upon the grace of God and the TIMING is up to Him.

But the prayer journey takes a new twist. It seems even when she has her prayers answered concerning one major area in Rebekah’s life that the story of STRUGGLE doesn’t end there. Rebekah is pregnant after 20 years but she is obviously having a tough time during her pregnancy and as a believer, like her husband she also goes to the Lord for help. She still needs to pray. She cries out to God “Why is this happening to me?” Ever cried out to God like that? I know how she feels. Not that I will ever be pregnant, but it seems that in my experience giving birth to anything that God wants for your life involves a STRUGGLE IN PRAYER.

Jesus knows what it is like to struggle in prayer. In the garden of Gethsemane He prays “Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.” … He prayed more fervently, and He was in such agony of spirit that His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood” (Luke 22:42-44 NLT). Lord, why is this happening to Me? The Father’s will is done but it involves a tremendous struggle. Jesus bears our sin.

The invitation that Rebekah and Isaac and Jesus Himself gives to us comes by way of a question. Are you willing to struggle with prayer for the purposes of God in your life? At what point will you give up the struggle? And what about the other struggles that can result when your prayers are finally answered? Am I willing to trust in Him when all I feel at present is the pain? …

Pastor Ross