Friday, June 15, 2012

Enough Pain

This post is for the current series on the theme "Enough!"

If any aspect of obsession with the Bible one day drives me over the brink of sanity, it's sure to be my identification with biblical characters and their angst. Did any novel ever crafted draw a person more deeply into the point of view of another human more than the psalms? Does any modern devotional book bring the face and heart of God closer than the books of the prophets?

The more I read and study about the beloved people of Scripture, the more my heart is moved with empathy and love for these brothers and sisters of mine, with whom I will spend eternity.

In reading through the Bible again this year, I just started Jeremiah. Never before did reading Scripture impart more dread. Because I know what's coming. I can't bear to enumerate this man's afflictions. At least Job had a happy ending. The book of Jeremiah concludes with the book of Lamentations, as if he hadn't already recorded enough pain.

However high a threshold for pain one develops, a certain point pleads "enough pain"—that place where the soul begs a person to close eyes and ears and call in sick-of-heart.

Then said I:
"Ah, Adonai YHWH!
Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth."
But YHWH said to me:
"Do not say, 'I am a youth,'
For you shall go to all to whom I send you,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of their faces,
For I am with you to deliver you," says YHWH.
~ Jeremiah 1:6-8

Though prophets are seen resisting His commission, YHWH always prevails. The occupation of speaking the Lord's mind comes with an irrevocable calling, a prohibition on personal agenda, and no upper limit on the potential to suffer humiliation, contempt, and pain.

Then Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country."
~ Luke 4:24 (NKJV)

Jesus lived the life and died the death of the Prophet extraordinaire. His consummate act was to open wide His hands and offer Himself to God and to us without restraint.

The very least I can do is plunge ahead and suffer again with Jeremiah. The very best I can do is daily offer myself as a living sacrifice for Jesus and declare, "Never too much for You!"

"Empty hands held high
Such small sacrifice
If not joined with my life
I sing in vain …
I want to sign Your name to the end of this day
Knowing that my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to You "
~ Lyrics from "Lifesong"
written by Mark Hall and recorded by Casting Crowns

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Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. "The very least I can do is plunge ahead and suffer again with Jeremiah. The very best I can do is daily offer myself as a living sacrifice for Jesus and declare, "Never too much for You!"

    Wonderful, wonderful words- so very true!
    God help me to do this.

    1. TC, even though we can't do it without Him, and we're giving back to God what's already His, I think the fact that we love our Lord enough to cooperate with His empowerment, and actually do offer ourselves, is really all He asks of us. If we do that part, the impossible becomes possible.

  2. Miss Anne, ugh. I've called in sick-of-heart on my own marriage this week. Finally, today during my quiet time, God broke through... actually, it's more like I finally surrendered my pain and angst to the only One who can take the bad-n-ugly and turn it into glory.

    Thank you for this piece and its timely and Truth-fulness.


    1. Ah, Miss Darlene. You leave me short of words. And so I am speaking to God on your behalf, with groanings bereft of words, asking Him to renew your strength and fill your heart with praise amid all that is.

  3. Wonderful, thanks for sharing.

  4. Very timely for me. I flinch at the though of pain, holding up my arms against the blows. I dont know if I should lower my arms and let them come in. I know pain if beneficial, but I do everything I can to escape it

    1. David, I just stumbled upon a comment I posted on Billy Coffey's blog sometime back. (Curiously, your comment appears there just below mine.) It seems fitting, here, again:

      I think I’ll agree that to not feel is worse than hurt. Pain has a purifying quality to it. It sharpens he edges on life and makes clear what might otherwise go unnoticed. Pain forces one to look at whatever inflicts pain.

      But numbness–numbness feels like death. If nothing else, pain makes one know what it is to be alive.

      Sometimes, pain is an indication to move quickly away from something (i.e., the hot stove). Other times, such as when God has a purpose in it, resisting pain can either prolong or aggravate it.

      For whatever all that is worth.


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