A Holy Journey with Pain

A Holy Journey with Pain

“Somewhere along my journey, I became aware that angels of God were accompanying me. I saw the angels and knew that I belonged to God.

Well into my travels, messengers came to tell me, ‘Pain is coming to meet you and he brings death to some, great pain and suffering to you, your family and friends.’

At first, I felt as if God was telling me, ‘Do not be afraid, this will be a holy experience for you, and a gift and a blessing to many others.’ Almost immediately, that began to happen. As I was invited to tell my story, and it proved to be a source of hope for me, and inspiration and hope for others.

But then my health began to deteriorate, and I became afraid and distressed. And I prayed, ‘O God of my ancestors, I want to remind you that you said this would be a holy experience and a gift and a blessing. It no longer feels that way. Deliver me please from the hand of Pain, for I am afraid of what he will do to us.’

And as I continued on the journey, I found myself unwittingly out ahead of my family and friends—leading and loving them. I bowed in front of all kinds of Pain challenges and honored them. Pain in turn honored me, weeping for me because of the pain he was subjecting me to.

I said to Pain, ‘You may well take all that I have—everything that I own. But, God has given me everything I need, and you cannot take that: community, family, friends, intimacy with God and friends, vulnerability, authenticity, powerlessness, brokenness, knowing I am God’s beloved in whom He is well-pleased, finding my own voice, finding my own identity, interior freedom, meaning and purpose, and a rich interior and spiritual life.’

Then Pain said. ‘Let us journey on our way together.’ And I replied, ‘My family, friends and I are weary from our struggles with you. You go on ahead and we will travel at the pace at which we are capable.’

Further along the journey, I encountered the Dark Night, and I found myself all alone. And Pain came and wrestled with me until someone died. And there was great wailing, moaning, and grieving, followed by a great silence…

And still I continued to wrestle with Pain. When Pain saw that he could not prevail against me, he struck me on the hip socket and my hip was put out of joint.

Then Pain said to me, ‘Let me go, for I have taken your beloved and it is time for me to move on.’ But I said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ Pain replied ‘You shall no longer be called by your name, but rather be called ‘wounded healer.’ The wound you have endured at my hand has made you whole.’ And then Pain blessed me.

So, I called this encounter ‘holy,’ as I said, ‘For I have seen God face-to-face in this disease and yet my life has been preserved.’

A new day came after the death of my beloved and the sun rose on me as I moved forward with my life—now limping because of my hip—moving forward as a wounded healer, bringing a message to a world in need of all that I had learned.”

Sources:

Jacob Wrestles with God. Genesis 32:22-32

Who are you God?: Suffering and Intimacy with God, by Janet O. Hagberg. Adapted from Tom’s story pages 185-186.

 

 

 

 

 

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