From Sorrow to Peace~You can get there!

Hi all 🙂 I begin this post with a story I was forwarded today (and a pic of my Second Life Avatar just for fun):

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
~author unknown~
A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible -Psalms 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the chapter. Little Ricky was excited about the task – but he just couldn’t remember the Psalms. After much practice, he could barely get past the first line. On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalms 23 in front of the congregation, Ricky was so nervous. When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly,
“The Lord is my Shepherd, and that’s all I need to know.”

Smiley

Now to the hard truth: Suffering stinks. Pain isn’t fun. Depression is not joyful. It’s worse than stinky cheese.

Whew, glad I got that off my chest.

So why in the world would God tell us to rejoice in our trials? (James 1:2-3)

Seriously, he already knows we’re made of dust. (Psalm 103:14)

Well, most of you know the Sunday school answer. We gain character through suffering. We become stronger. But I guarantee  many of you who suffer with chronic illness do NOT feel strong. When I say I understand….I really understand. The last several years have been rough on me. I buried my Dad at the tender age of 46. I saw him in pain day after day many years before his death. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is not a joke. It’s one of those invisible illnesses. Aren’t they annoying? You look so young & healthy on the outside yet you’re dying on the inside. Older people think you’re crazy when you can relate to their pain……cause seriously you’re a spring chicken….how could you be in pain? I definitely get it. I’ve been dealing with random psychotic symptoms that seem like E.D.S. for awhile now. I saw my Dad suffer with it and now I feel it’s reared it’s ugly head with me. Do I feel strong through all this? Heck no! I feel weak & useless.

(Update: Praise God, I don’t have EDS! I’m still looking into what’s causing my symptoms. August 2014)

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This verse makes the whole idea easier to swallow:

Passage 2 Corinthians 12:9:
9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

When we are weak….HE is shown strong. There’s no way we can do this journey on our own. We can’t move mountains. We can’t hold the fibers of our body together. We can’t bring the dead back to life. Ah….but we know someone who can.

Passage John 15:5:
5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

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Okay, everyone knows I love fantasy. I’m writing a fictional tale that has bits of allegory. My main character Emmanuel lives in a miserable world in need of redemption. There are scary man-eating beasts and just really mean people. But most fairy tales are set in a harsh world think of “The Lord of the Rings”. Frodo couldn’t even afford shoes ;). They didn’t have air conditioning or the internet. Why do people read/watch these things? Would we even survive one day in Middle Earth? How about the traditional fairy tales we all love? Most of them are based on the very real Black Forest in Germany. Talk about scary. Hansel & Gretal can walk….I’ll take a car thank you.

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Speaking of fantasy. Here’s a quote from “The Lord of the Rings” that  answers my question:

“Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are.

It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were.

And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end.

Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened?

But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun

shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were

too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of

chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?

Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.”

~The Lord of the Rings: The two towers

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     It’s all about the QUEST. We don’t read fairy tales because everyone’s sad and dying. We read them because we know they’re gonna get better. Eventually the Prince will find his Princess, someone will slay the dragon, and all will be right in the world. Sigh…. 🙂  So do we honestly think the greatest story teller of all time is going to allow our real world and our real lives to stink forever? No way! We may suffer. We may cry and we may even curse at our circumstances. But it doesn’t end here. There is hope. Our sorrow can become peace. Our suffering can become joy. When we make it to our destination we will be different people because of the journey. All the hardship and pain will have shaped us into the likeness of Christ himself….why? Because it is Christ who got us through this mess. It is Christ who moved our mountains. It is Christ who will give us a new body. It is Christ who gives us Joy when we’d rather be depressed. It all points to him, folks. We just need to trust Jesus and hang on for the ride.  And when you see glimpses of beauty & joy keep them in your heart and hold them there for when the darkness comes. You’ll make it through.

      I leave you with a section from my favorite allegory “Hinds’ Feet on High Places”

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This is a scene with the Shepherd (Jesus) and Much-Afraid (a believer that struggles with fear)

“They are good teachers; indeed, I have few better. As for their names, I will tell them in your own language, and later you will learn what they are called in their own tongue. This,” said He, motioning toward the first of the silent figures, “is named Sorrow. And the other is her twin sister, Suffering.”

Poor Much-Afraid! Her cheeks blanched and she began to tremble from head to foot. She felt so like fainting that she clung to the Shepherd for support.

“I can’t go with them,” she gasped. “I can’t! I can’t! O my Lord Shepherd, why do You do this to me? How can I travel in their company? It is more than I can bear. You tell me that the mountain way itself is so steep and difficult that I cannot climb it alone. Then why, oh why, must You make Sorrow and Suffering my companions? Couldn’t you have given Joy and Peace to go with me, to strengthen me and encourage me and help me on the difficult way? I never thought You would do this to me!” And she burst into tears.

217 pages later…..Much-Afraid has made it to the High places and is now Grace and Glory….

“Who are you?” asked Grace and Glory softly. “Will you tell me your names?”

Instead of answering they looked at one another and smiled, then held out their hands as though to take hers in their own. At that familiar gesture, Grace and Glory knew them and cried out with a joy which was almost more than she could bear.

“Why! You are Suffering and Sorrow. Oh, welcome, welcome! I was longing to find you again.” (You know she’s in Heaven to be able to say that honestly!)

They shook their heads. “Oh, no!” they laughed, “We are no more Suffering and Sorrow than you are Much-Afraid. Don’t you know that everything that comes to the High Places is transformed? Since you brought us here with you, we are turned into Joy and Peace.”

“Brought you here!” gasped Grace and Glory. “What an extraordinary way to express it! Why, from the first to last you dragged me here.”

Again they shook their heads and smiled as they answered, “No, we could never have come here alone, Grace and Glory. Suffering and Sorrow may not enter the Kingdom of Love, but each time you accepted us and put your hands back in ours we began to change. Had you turned back or rejected us, we never could have come here.”

~Hind’s Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard (pgs 69-70 & pgs 287-288)

Have a blessed day everyone and remember “The High King Lives!”

~Amber Dover

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