Tag Archives: pain

Anna iii #adventbookclub

Luke 2:36-38 (CEV)

Anna Speaks about the Child Jesus

36 The prophet Anna was also there in the temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. In her youth she had been married for seven years, but her husband died. 37 And now she was eighty-four years old. Night and day she served God in the temple by praying and often going without eating.

38 At that time Anna came in and praised God. She spoke about the child Jesus to everyone who hoped for Jerusalem to be set free. 

Sorry carried away by Anna and all it means for us, but wanted to pick up this point.  On page 12, Stephen Cottrell uses the phrase,

My hurts and regrets are still there.  But now they are known and illuminated, integrated and healed

This, imho, is the wonder and the power of the gospel.  God doesn’t come with a magic wand and remove the difficulties and the past.  But he shines a light, his light, onto it.  It is no longer something hidden, something to trip us up, something to pressure us.  It is something that he is present in, alongside us.  In “allowing ourselves to be found” (also Stephen’s phrase) we can be changed.

I’ve writtern about this before, from my personal experience, both in the context of Lent here and here if you want to read them.

The crux of the matter is, that facing up to the reality is always better than living in fear that one day it will turn around and bite you. 

Lord I bring to you
my struggle,
my pain,
my despair,
my anger,
my frustration.

It sit with it
with you.
And I wait
as your unfailing love
and mercy continue
and help me to live

 

Join us reading Walking Backwards to Christmas by Stephen Cottrell from SPCK Publishing this advent.  Be part of #adventbookclub, share your thoughts here, on your own blog (and let us know we’ll link to it), on Twitter using #adventbookclub or on the Adventbookclub Facebook page

Taking the Blame

You didn’t do it.  Do you protest your innocence?  Pass the blame to the person that did?  Or calmly take it, for the sake of the person that did?

1 Peter 2:19-25 (CEV)

19 God will bless you, even if others treat you unfairly for being loyal to him. 20 You don’t gain anything by being punished for some wrong you have done. But God will bless you, if you have to suffer for doing something good. 21 After all, God chose you to suffer as you follow in the footsteps of Christ, who set an example by suffering for you.

22 Christ did not sin
    or ever tell a lie.
23 Although he was abused,
    he never tried to get even.
And when he suffered,
    he made no threats.
Instead, he had faith in God,
    who judges fairly.
24 Christ carried the burden
    of our sins.
He was nailed to the cross,
so that we would stop sinning
    and start living right.
By his cuts and bruises
    you are healed.
25 You had wandered away
    like sheep.
Now you have returned
    to the one
who is your shepherd
    and protector.

This letter is written to encourage the Christians who were suffering and being persecuted for their faith.  Peter acknowledges that they are largely suffering for doing nothing more than following the way that Jesus had shown them.  Their treatment is unfair.  But, he reminds them, they are not the first to suffer unfairly – that is the way that Jesus went – and he really had done nothing wrong – ever!

They are suffering abuse and threats.  What they have to stand firm in, is that Jesus has been there, to the ultimate end.  He did it so that they, and we, know we are not alone.  Whatever we may be subjected to in the name of our faith, Jesus has been there.  His wounds, his scars offer us healing and his presence.

In the UK, we do not suffer for our religion.  Yes we may get the occasional funny look or be challenged, we may even be required to remove a cross as jewellery or a badge, but that is not suffering or persecution.  If we think it is we do a huge disservice to those who truly are suffering for their faith, places where people’s lives are in danger for what they believe.  In fact I think we do more persecuting of one another than we receive from others!

Yet there are things we have done, that we will not be punished for.  They are things we have got wrong, but yet we take no blame, because Jesus, the blameless one, has already done it.  We have wandered, we do deserve punishment, but we are saved from it.  He suffered and died, so that we might know life, freedom, a new hope and a new start.

So perhaps any time we think we’re suffering unjustly and feel like moaning; perhaps we should remember, not the things we haven’t done that we’re being condemned for; but the things we have done that we haven’t taken the blame for – quite a sobering thought.  And then thank God, that Jesus did.  The one who had never done any wrong took the blame of the whole world, of everything I have ever done wrong and offers me forgiveness, life and hope.

Unfailing Love

Forgive me Lord,
when I feel badly done to,
unfairly treated,
wrongly accused;
yet happily accept
not taking the blame
for things I’ve got wrong.

Thank you for Jesus,
who took the blame
for all I’ve done,
took the pain,
the insults,
the abuse
that rightly are mine.

Thank you for forgiveness
for freedom
for love
and for hope,
offered freely to me
at such great cost to you.

I pray for those who truly are persecuted today
for following you,
for safety,
security,
for strength
and hope

Hearing the Word ii

The Lord’s New Creation

17 I am creating new heavens
    and a new earth;
everything of the past
    will be forgotten.
18 Celebrate and be glad forever!
I am creating a Jerusalem,
    full of happy people.
19 I will celebrate with Jerusalem
    and all of its people;
there will be no more crying
    or sorrow in that city.

20 No child will die in infancy;
everyone will live
    to a ripe old age.
Anyone a hundred years old
    will be considered young,
and to die younger than that
    will be considered a curse.

21 My people will live
    in the houses they build;
they will enjoy grapes
    from their own vineyards.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m doing a new thing,
making a new way,
changing how it has been,
showing something different,
from now on,
this is how it will be.

What has gone before
no longer matters,
it isn’t how it is going to be
from here on in,
the past
is no longer
going to dictate the future.

Look forward,
to what will be.
Things that made you cry
will be no more,
their hold will be gone;
no need for sorrow,
anger,
or shame.

A time will come,
I promise it,
when pain
and it’s causes
will go;
when lives will be lived,
the bounty of the earth
will be enjoyed
and hard work
will see its results.

Hear my word,
my promise.
For now
it may seem anything but,
but
know my assurance,
I am working,
it will happen
as the accomplishment
of all I am
and give to you.

Know that hope,
live in that peace,
be strengthened in my love
and my sure word.

Build that place Lord,
make it a reality in my life
I pray.
As I struggle with now,
longing for a place
without pain
and tears,
give me hope,
give me strength,
work in my life,
show me the way
keep me going,
until I get there.

New Jerusalem