A week or two ago, I sat in pain, despairing a little for the health of my body. Walking in habit, I approached the front porch swing; journal, Bible, pen, and peppermint tea. My thumb had just brushed the page, and a whisper came, “Psalm 71”.
When my eyes lit upon these words, I knew I’d laid hold of Home.
You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
but you will restore me to life again
and lift me up from the depths of the earth.
You will restore me to even greater honor
and comfort me once again.
You have allowed me to suffer much hardship: There’s something comforting about admitting it; in knowing that God acknowledges it too- my pain didn’t happen in a corner when He was unaware. The problem wasn’t so minimal or insignificant that He missed it. He knows that our suffering is real, and He’s willing to call it what it is.
And then this: You have allowed. You do not dismiss, ignore, or hide it in saccharin frosting. You have given Your yes. You, whom nothing escapes. You, who plan all my days. You, who bottle my tears and number my hairs. You have seen fit to permit. And it must be so very highly necessary – – I trust You.
Suffering comes to conscript us. And yet, You tie a promise to its tail. You will restore me to life again.
I saw those words and My hopeful heart couldn’t help but ask, “Lord, what does it mean? Are You going to cure my body? Are You going to heal me and overthrow my disease? Why would you lead me here so blatantly otherwise?”
The answer returned, “You’re to use it like Gilead’s balm. You’re to pack it in the wound every time it throbs. Like Frodo on Weathertop stabbed with a morgul blade. What did Aragorn do? Sought out the kingsfoil growing in the woods, chewed it and packed it in the wound.* When your body reels, or your soul bends double, seek these words, gather them from the ground like manna- they’ll be there- chew on them, and pack them in your wound.”
You allowed me to suffer much hardship, but You will restore me to life again
The Psalmist understood: it’s Your nature to redeem.
For Yahweh’s children, there is always an updraft. There is always hope. You simply do not leave Your things unto death. Whether in this life or the next, Your word is and will be Restore.
“You will lift me up from the depths of the Earth”. And it is not I who shall do the heavy lifting, but I shall be lifted. “You will not allow Your holy one to see decay”. He was the firstborn…and we follow after on the road He smoothed. The Suffering Servant resurrected to Sovereign King. Its is our destiny. Life flowering out of death. Every time You heal, every time You comfort, every time You push back darkness You tell the story all over. And we are the canvas on which You paint it.
You will restore me, Job-like, to greater honor. And you will comfort me once again. You will will change both my estate and my heart.
I dared to ask again, because I had to know, “Lord, do You mean to restore me in this life or in the Age to come?”
I am not answered completely.
Here’s what I do know: the medicine begins its work now. He will be resurrecting something to new life in me, even today. Be it my heart, my body, or both.
He has given me a prescription: when I find myself on the floor in the watches of the night, no relief in sight…chew the promise, pack it in the wound, you have allowed me to suffer hardship, but you will restore me to life again. The aroma of heaven steals out a little bit in the using.
And you, when pain of heart, mind, or body is wringing you, whisper it desperately under your breath- You will lift me up from the depths of the earth…and comfort me once again Use it like an epi-pen for anaphylaxis. Drastic, fast, urgent. It’s life or death.
He who promised is faithful. This is powerful medicine from another world… a little like Lucy’s cordial from Aslan. May we use it daringly.
Selah (which means… “pause and think on that”)
*The Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien