Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday's Resolution {A Plan of Action for Pain}

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We are picking apart Jonathan Edward's 70 Resolutions, one week and one resolution at a time. Don't forget to start where he did- "Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God's help, I do humbly entreat Him by His grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to His will, for Christ's sake."

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

Nothing halts a body quite so quickly as physical pain.


“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." C.S. Lewis


From my limited personal experience with physical pain, I can testify that instead of running to the Lord and praying for grace, I mentally shut down. All that I could think about was my own personal discomfort, how much I couldn't wait for it to be over. I wanted to be distracted. I felt miserable. 


This, on the other hand, was the Apostle Paul's experience with pain. Three times he asked the Lord to take away his pain,


"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9,10


Contentment, boasting, even rejoicing in pain? That is no natural human experience with pain. It is supernatural. May God's grace so rest upon us in our pains!


Paul's experience was to rejoice and boast in pain, knowing that in it, the power of Christ rested upon him.


Jonathan Edwards resolved that when he felt physical pain, he would turn his mind to thoughts of martyrdom and hell. 


Would he be willing to suffer worse pain for Christ's sake? Would he be willing even to die and suffer painful martyrdom for his Lord?


He found that physical pain can make a Christian grateful- grateful that they will never experience the ultimate and eternal pains of hell. Grateful, and inspired to boldly share the gospel of grace to warn lost sinners of the painful perils that awaited them. 


Thinking on martyrdom and hell can surely put one's pain into perspective. 


Personally, I am afraid that my own resolve to this end might crumble the next time I find myself in intense pain.

 

My soul was so sifted, shown to be shallow and dry, the last time those pressures prevailed upon it. In humility I want to seek the Lord for grace, begging Him that next time I might not be found to be so carnal and immature. 


The trials certainly do reveal us for who we really are, don't they? 


Do you have a plan of action for pain? What great lessons has the Lord taught you through times of pain and trial?

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