My daughter's cat, Edmund, has a skin dermatitis he is making worse by licking it so the vet prescribed antibiotics and a cone to heal him up.
It's been interesting to watch Edmond. He lays in a crouch position with his head up, resigned to his cone, but I occasionally hear him grumble and twitch his tail in annoyance with the cone around his neck.
He was obviously discontent today.
As I watched him the verse Lamentations 3: 1- 9 came into my mind: "I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; He has driven and brought me into darkness without any light;...He has walled me about so that I cannot escape;...though I call and cry for help, He shuts out my prayer; He has blocked my ways with blocks of stones; He has made my paths crooked" (Lamentations 3: 1-9)
Edmond doesn't understand the cone he's wearing is to help him heal up. I'm sure he feels it is a cone of shame. He just wants to rid himself of it.
We don't always understand that the dark paths God takes us on are for our healing, to draw us closer to Him.
I think Job had deep confidence of God's love for him and was able to pour out his complaint to Abba God. He understood the road where joy and sorrow meet, he was not silenced (see Job 23:17).
Though our souls are wounded and cry out for help (see Job 24:12), we can rest in His love knowing He does not break a bruised reed (Isaiah 42:3). He gives treasure in the darkness (Isaiah 45:2-4)
Treasure In The Darkness Treasures in the darkness; healing, though the way is painful. Character, though the building of it hurts. Endurance, though the obtaining is through suffering. Hope, though the way hope – though the way is so dark is so dark. God gives treasures in the darkness. God gives healing in the darkness. God reveals Himself in the darkness. I walk secure through the darkness in Him. He calls me by name. He knows my name. (Tenacious, 2013).
But when I hoped for good, evil came, and when I waited for light, darkness came. Job 30:26
I will give you treasures of darkness....that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name, I call you by your name. Isaiah 45:2-4
Jesus told us we'd have trials in this life (see John 16:33). His word lets us know trials produce character, perseverance, hope. (Romans 5: 1-5)
In the dark trials of life, as I meditate on His love for me just as I am how I am, my soul can say, this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3: 22-23)
He Himself is our peace.
Watching Edmond struggle with and resign himself to his collar of healing, I thought about Jerard. I'm working on a book about the path of joy and sorrow and my soul's journey during the time from when we took Jerard and James in to Jerard's death.
A new script is being developed and operating as my paradigm.
I used to think hard times were because God was mad at me and wanted to punish me.
He's not punishing me or abusing me.
He's not mad at me. Even his own son He says, “it was His desire to crush him” Isaiah 53
As I operate more and more out of mindfulness and giving of thanks in all things I remember, “the Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands.” Psalm 138:8
He hasn't forsaken me.
He is searching me, trying me, knowing my thoughts and He is leading me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24) (Tenacious, 2013).
The hard times do make us strong.
Edmond's cone will help his skin heal and fur grow back.
God walls us in (Job 19:8; Lamentations 3:7); He afflicts us (see Isaiah 30:20, 48:10; Psalm 34:19).
But our light and temporary afflictions are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17).
He is teaching us His ways, His ancient paths (Jeremiah 6:16).
Isaiah 30: 19 – 21 He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. ...And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
We do encounter divine goodness in the midst of pain. These struggles of life are God-ordained.
I have the right to come boldly into His throne to receive mercy and grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
I can approach God with boldness, freedom, and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12)
He does love me. He is not ashamed of me. He is not just tolerating me.
He embraces me fully as His own. (Tenacious, 2013).
“Whate’er my God ordains is right: Here shall my stand be taken; Though sorrow, need, or death be mine, Yet I am not forsaken. My Father’s care is round me there; He holds me that I shall not fall: And so to Him I leave it all”.
References: Rodegast, Samuel. 1676. Whate'er My God Ordains Is Right Symanzik, Beth. 2013 Tenacious. Unpublished book.