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Alan Lester  |  Gauteng, South Africa
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Accustomed to Pain
THURSDAY, JULY 24, 2014
Posted by: GraceUnlimited | more..

A few days after my wife's death, one morning, I was making the bed, when my foot knocked against something on the floor. Lifting up the corner of the blanket, my eyes fell upon something painfully familiar; tucked under the bed, a pair of her shoes. I could still see her sitting sideways on the edge of the bed, the way she used to do, slipping her shoes off, and checking a message on her phone. Yet rather than her beloved form, there was nothing. Empty space. A void not merely empty, but yawning with an antagonizing vacuum. I propped the pillow up against the headboard in the space where she used to sit. My hands passing through that space declared that she was gone. Just gone. Relentlessly gone. In her place; emptiness. Silence. Motionlessness.

Words gather confounded around me in their beggarly state, not one possessing sufficient equity to adequately frame the distress of these moments. Tears just never stopped flowing as I melted, yet again into an insulting languishing that kept her warm touch and friendly words just out of reach. It is through these cruel hours, weeks and months that I came to understand the vast meaning of the short word: loss. All of the kind privileges, tender pleasures, and comforting companionship abruptly terminated and never to be regained in this world.

Dear reader, please be reassured that I have not engaged in this carefully-worded description of the nauseating sensation of loss in order to secure your sympathy. But rather to draw your mind to an unspeakably deep beauty in Christ. How I have agonized over the portrait of Him in Isaiah 53:3. He was a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Failure to linger over these deliberately deposited words is to miss the boundless emotional depths of the sense of loss experienced by Christ for lost wretches. He was in torment his whole life. He deeply comprehended sorrow and suffering. While I groan from the pangs of the emptiness in the aperture my dear companion used to fill, I am shoved toward the dying toil of the dear emaciated Jesus. What lies within the chasm of loss within His yearning heart?

The very pinnacle of the joy of the Father's heart, is now the jeering of the world. The warm eternal companionship and comfort of heaven has been snatched away and replaced with millions of blind, hating fools. Not even one of His closest companions understands Him—we see this when Peter rebukes Jesus for announcing His immanent crucifixion. (Matthew 16:22) One of the most tormenting features of grief is that the person most likely to understand what you are going through, is gone. For Jesus, relocating from the supreme affluence of heaven to the most squalorly slums of earth, constituted a loss of this nature.

The heart that truly desires to drink deeply of the adoration of Christ, can run a pensive finger along this throbbing nerve, extending from His conception to His exaltation, and pause in tears as the Father fully abandons His Son in the blackness of Golgotha. Into the darkness His cry arcs and falls. Alone. Stark alone. Abandoned into the poverty of incalculable loss, loss, loss.

Jesus, Jesus, Oh sweet Jesus, you strained under this deadweight to purchase everything for me. For your loss, I am grateful. Moreover, if my loss has brought me to worship on my knees, it was certainly the very thing that my glorified wife and I needed.

I preached on this text as part of a four-part series. If you would like to listen, here is the link:

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=1014131112193

Here is the link to the page where information on Hurting in Hope can be found:

htt p://w ww.gr aceun limit ed.co .za/B ooks/ Hurti nginH ope.a spx

Web Link:  CLICK TO FOLLOW EXTERNAL LINK
Category:  Hurting in Hope

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