This is Holy Week. Even though I grew up in church, Holy Week didn’t really become special to me until the last several years. For me, the movie, “The Passion of the Christ” changed everything. My dear friend, Eliza, and I went and watched it at the multiplex with a couple packs of Kleenex. I wept the whole way through the Kleenex and until the whole neck and chest of my shirt were soaked. I just kept thinking, “I can’t believe that somebody loved me this much.” Until then, I don’t think I had really believed it—even though I’d heard it all of my life.
Knowing that this is Holy Week is so significant to me personally, I’ve been thinking for several days about how I could share that with you. I never came up with a definitive answer. And then, today, God started talking to me…
I have a confession to make:
I do not like pain. I mean, I REALLY don’t like pain. I’m the lady that carries a big purse and when someone says, “I have a headache,” I rip open my bag and answer, “Would you like Tylenol, Advil, or Aleve?” I just don’t believe in walking around hurting when pain is unnecessary.
Sunday morning, I woke up with a sinus headache that might have killed a weaker woman. My Ear/Nose/Throat Specialist, Dr. Poe, has had me on prescription sinus medicine since my second bout with pneumonia about 18 months ago. But when I stumbled into the bathroom on Sunday morning, hoping to scarf down something that would stop the pain and pressure, I found that not only was my bottle empty, but the refill order had expired on March 31.
Sunday, I survived on warm coffee (which felt good on my sore throat) and over-the-counter medicines, but by Monday afternoon, I was reaching my pain threshold. A quick call to Dr. Poe’s office got me a refill of my medicine, but a call to Kerr Drugs informed me that I would have to wait 24 hours to pick it up.
This afternoon, as I sat waiting in the drive-through at the drug store, I noticed that the dogwoods on Main Street are just beautiful today. I took a moment to mention to God what a lovely job He’s done on the dogwoods, but before I could stop it, this rogue thought raced through my head: Too bad they set my sinuses off and cause all of this pain! Just as quickly, God reminded me: Sometimes, you have to go through pain to experience beauty.
Everybody has their own personal examples of this beauty-from-pain experience. The pain of my past is the pain of abuse, fear, depression, and sin. I’ve been Mary Magdalene, The Woman Caught in Sin, and The Woman with the Issue of Blood, all rolled into one. There have been many, many moments of my life that I’m not proud of and there have been times that I’ve sat crying and thinking about the best way to kill myself. But that’s only part of my story.
When I was ugly and full of pain and sin, Jesus found me so beautiful that He died to set me free. When I didn’t know the way to Jesus, He sent people to show me the way to Him. Even though I didn’t know where He was, He knew where I was. He came and got me and brought me home to Himself. God didn’t enjoy the pain that I felt, but Jesus came and endured pain and death to heal me. And now, each day, as I choose to walk with Him, He is overjoyed to walk with me.
Romans 5:6,8,11 (LB) “When we were utterly helpless with no way of escape, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners who had no use for him….But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners….Now we rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God—all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done in dying for our sins—making us friends with God.”
(Photo from Flickr)