Sharing in the suffering...

Fall Y'all

"The night racks my bones, and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest." Job 30:17
It's a rare Christian who does not walk through what feels like a "Job season" - when pain and suffering appears to press in on every side.

When my husband was staring down unemployment six years ago, after farming citrus for nearly twenty-five years, it was no coincidence that he was able to join Emily and I in our morning Bible study just as we began reading the Book of Job.

The tragedies Job endured were far worse than any we have ever experienced (and Lord willing, we never will), putting our own pitiful sufferings into perspective, but we related to him none-the-less - momentarily wondering what we did to deserve such a fate while being misunderstood and poorly comforted by those we thought were friends.

I've recently picked up Amy Carmichael's Rose from Brier, and while I'm too early in the reading to recommend it as yet, I've appreciated Amy's perspective. It is through her own lens of chronic pain and suffering that she offers hope and encouragement - comforting others with the comfort with which she has been comforted. A kind and loving word from any dear soul is a gift, but it is most treasured and encouraging from those who have walked the same path of suffering.
"For no man can tell what in that combat attends us but he that hath been in the battle himself" ~ John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress
There's a tension in that for me. I don't like dwelling on past or current woundedness, pain and suffering, and I'm quite sure that others would quickly weary of hearing of them, as well...but if words of hope are to carry much weight, it's important to know that I've "been in the battle".

Physical pain is no stranger. I've been assaulted, in a car accident, broken my leg, had emergency surgery for a perforated colon, and experience cycles of pain from crohn's disease flares.

For several weeks I've experienced some of the worst joint pains that I can remember - not just my knees, but my shoulders, hands and feet. Getting out of bed, in and out of the car, up and down stairs, dressing and undressing, sitting, standing, walking - there's very little that I am able to do at the moment without pain, and yet it has been a sweet and precious season of walking in the truth that "the joy of the Lord is my strength" - a powerful reality that I could only know in a season of weakness.  

{Photos}It's Fall Y'all around Pollywog Creek