Alleviating the Pain

Daily Post:  Relieved

Doctor is In

Pain and suffering come to each of us at different times and in various ways.  Some folks around us bear up under the most intolerable of circumstances, causing us to wonder how they do it.  Aching internally, and in obvious emotional or psychological distress, we seek out a physician to aid us and relieve our misery.  Said Doctor finally joins us (after a 45 minute wait in the examination room), and like the image above, smiles and says, “How you doing?”   In times like these, I often have the urge to answer, “Oh, great doc, I just wanted to see if you had time to grab a quick 18 before lunch!”

Pleasantries and trite cliches are not what I need in those moments.  Pain, real or imagined, must be hunted like a terrorist and alleviated. When the pain (again real or imagined) is chronic unabated suffering, a person can become jaded, angry, debilitated, or paralyzed, except that a physician accurately diagnose and treat the illness.  Relief from persistent pain can often be elusive, perhaps that is why they call it, “practicing” medicine.

The spiritual suffering in the world today is just as horrific, and just as real as any other physical disease known to man today.  Every day people awaken in total despair, their world in a perpetual state of emotional stress, and their outlook dim, for they see no relief in sight.  But here’s the thing, it doesn’t have to be this way.  There is a way to be relieved of spiritual, emotional, and psychological struggles.

God has revealed Himself in the Old Testament by giving us His names as descriptive titles in terms of how we are to relate to Him personally.  You can find several of these names in one chapter, Psalms 23.  Often read as a comforting passage to someone in trials or suffering, imagine how our mindset might change if we understood what God was really communicating.  David is led to reveal the primary title of God is LORD, which we often translate Jehovah.  When you add the characteristic nature names to this title, six specific revelations become clear.  The LORD is…

  • The Lord is my Shepherd = Jehovah ‎ra`ah , feeder caregiver, provider
  • The Lord is my Peace = Jehovah shalom, peace
  • The Lord our Healer = Jehovah rapha, restoration
  • The Lord is our Righteousness = Jehovah tesidqenuw, righteousness
  • The Lord is our Victory = Jehovah Nicciy, banner, victory
  • The Lord is our Presence = Jehovah shammah, abiding presence

One day as it happened, Jesus was passing by and saw Matthew (a tax collector), invited him to join the other disciples by proclaiming, “Follow Me!”  Later they were having supper in Matthew’s home, the disciples along with Jesus, other tax collectors and outcast of Jewish society (sinners the Bible calls them).  The elders in the Hebrew faith condemned Jesus for this, but His only reply was,

“It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick;  I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  [Mark 2:15-17]

If you look closely Jesus is saying “I AM the great physician!” (implied)  In this way, Jesus is referring every listener (or reader) back to Psalm 23 where the attributes of shepherd, peace, healer, righteousness, victory, and abiding presence are described.  Jesus is saying, “I am that shepherd.”  Later, trying to connect the dots for His own followers Jesus said,

I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.
[John 10:11]

Jesus doesn’t have to ask us, “How are you doing?”  He already knows how you are, and knows your need to be relieved.  Being relieved spiritually in this world today means trusting the great Physician; allowing Jesus to heal, guide, give peace, give us His righteousness, His victory, and His abiding presence… so we can live as God intended.

Who is your shepherd?  The Doctor is IN!

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via Jiggle

My uncle Wylie was a funny man.  My memories of him are somewhat questionable according to my sisters.  They don’t remember him quite the way I do.  I may have mentioned him in previous articles.  One of my favorite memories is being at his house when the phone would ring, he would grab it up, and say, “ummm… Jello!”  Cracked me up every time.  I think he did it just for me.

(Jello TV ad circa 1960)

Jello was a staple at the Wilkins home.  My favorite of course was either purple or green. Grapes and Limes.  I don’t know why, it just was.  I liked how the Jello squished in my mouth.  Mom said Jello was good for you all the time.  When my own kids were growing up their mother would make Jello Jigglers, because that was the “in” thing at the time. Jigglers are easy to make, just use your favorite cutter and make Jello shapes the kids love to eat. My favorite part was eating the left overs from the cutouts, the shapeless throw aways, the fringes and edges.

Sometimes it seems to me we have a “Jello Jiggler” approach to studying the Bible.  People love to cut out Psalm 23, Luke 2, Jeremiah 29, John 3, and Romans 8, shake them up and watch them wiggle and waggle as our favorites to study and digest.  Sure there are lots of favorite stories, pet stories, pastors love to teach about.  But what about the cutouts?  What about all the left overs that no one really wants to eat?  Are they too dry?  Do they not wiggle enough?  They don’t have that delightful little jiggle? Are they so hard to understand that most of God’s children just avoid them altogether?

Yes.  And there is one book of the Bible in particular that draws very little attention, in fact is avoided most of the time… the Book of Revelation.  If God didn’t want us to read it, study it, learn from it, or eat it like Jello, then why is it there?  There are letters to the church in this book, dictated personally from Jesus.  There are miracles and wonders describing the glory and majesty of God.  There are promises and explanations of why we are here, our very existence is explained in detail, and purpose!  No other Book in the Bible gives us the glimpse of our future home, that is found in Revelation.  The promise of Christ’s return is described and guaranteed in the Book of Revelation!  There is plenty of shake, joggle, waggle, wiggle, fidget, squirm, quiver, tremble, and jiggle in Revelation.

Is it always easy to understand?  Nope.  Is it worth trying?  Yep.  I offer you the opportunity to go on a journey few have been willing to make.  Travel with me into the rough edged, cutout, loose ends of the Jello in the Bible … that is Revelation.  It is a tasty treat!




David’s Song

via Hideout

Every soldier needs a hideout, a secret place to go and not be found by his enemies.  When we think of King David, more often than not our minds turn to his heroic display of courage against the nine-foot tall giant named Goliath.  Or we think of Paul, standing in the synagogue of Psidian Antioch, teaching Hebrew history, and the story David.  Paul said:

Acts 13:22
After He had removed him (king Saul), He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, “I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.”

Thousands of years before hand when King Saul was only 30 years old, the king assumed God’s will, made a battle-preparation sacrifice since Samuel the priest/prophet was late to the party, and went on to war.  Because of this, Samuel speaks for God in 1 Samuel 13:13-14:

You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, for now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.

Until he became king, David hid in caves, on mountain tops, and low valleys, because he knew all the good places to hide.  He was after all a shepherd well versed in the protection of his herd from thieves or wild animals.  What is so interesting about David is his consistent reliance on God to provide all that he needed.  Psalm 23 is perhaps one of the most sacred and memorized passages in the whole Bible describing God’s provision.

David however, was also a man of war. Most people don’t understand this.  He was a king/soldier, as well as the shepherd boy.  2 Samuel 21 documents this pretty well.  This passage also leads to a wonderfully descriptive song which David spoke the day Jehovah the Lord delivered him from his enemies and King Saul.  Listen to just the first phrases and see if it doesn’t lead you to go read the whole thing.

2 Samuel 22:2-4
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence.  I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”

David’s hideout was God.  David described Him as Jehovah Roi – The Lord is my shepherd: Psalm 23:1.  God provided David all he needed, a place to sleep safely, water, guidance, comfort, anointing oil, a future home, and the promise of dwelling together in perpetuity with his Lord.  God was David’s hideout.

Where, or in whom, do you hide yourself for safety from your enemies?