Monday, April 19, 2010

Pain! Pain!

Nakoda (my great-niece, a.k.a. Nikki Noo / NeeNee / Coder...) just turned two in November. Talk about Drama Queen.... this child defines it. She was born to dramatize. She lives her life in all exclamations! She's dramatic about everything. She feels everything BIG, so she can't help but express it with theatrical performances. Every feeling she feels has to be expressed out LOUD... and expressed loudly enough and dramatically enough for you to be able to feel it like she does.

Nakoda spent several nights with me last summer while her mom was in the hospital giving birth to her new baby sister. I wish I had counted how many times that she slapped her hand to her chest and left it there as her mouth dropped open wide while she majorly furrowed her brows piercing her eyes toward the person in aggravated awe that she had obviously just been offended with.

"What is that," I wondered?

It took me a while, but I finally figured it out. It was her way of saying in great exaggeration, "Who? Me???? What would make you think so???"..... Or, "How dare you! How could you do that to me?" ..... Or, "How could you NOT???" ..... "How could you take that from me?" ..... "How could you not give that to me?"......and so on and so on and so on.........She'd state her bewildered wonder toward you without ever uttering a word simply by using that hand slapped to her chest and her eyes that spoke more volumes than mere words ever could.

I loved her expression! It was priceless! And so now, from time to time, I find my own self doing it toward my own children, slapping my hand to my chest and furrowing my brows toward my shameful offender while not having to say a word to get my point of horror across. My children laugh at me... because they know that I'm making fun.... and they remember who it was that taught us such an expression.

It was this past Wednesday that my sister (Nakoda's grandmother) had taken Nakoda to her great-grandmother's house. My mom and my sister were in the kitchen, Nikki and her mom had been upstairs for a little while, when all of the sudden they heard a blood-hurling scream that sent everyone running from the rooms they were in toward the scene from which they'd heard it.

They found Nakoda screaming hysterically at the top of the stairs... head caught and stuck between the balusters. Her whole body was physically shaking from the force of her pulling so hard in her attempts to get her head out. Both ears were bleeding from where she'd torn them from such intense trying. Sherry (my sister) has a bit of a weird sense of humor (okay, so maybe I do too) and started laughing hysterically (probably from relief after such a huge scare) at Nakoda's predicament the moment she saw her. It was then that Nakoda slapped her hand to her chest and yelled, "PAIN! PAIN!" as loud as she could! And then in hopes to reemphasis (just in case they'd missed it the first time) she pulled back her hand and slapped her chest and yelled it again, "PAIN! PAIN!"

Bless her heart! They rescued her. They got her unstuck. And she was mad as a hornet once they did. She doesn't take too kindly to loosing face. And I'm sure that she was none too happy about being laughed at!

"PAIN! PAIN!" Haven't we all had reason at one time or another to yell it? And sometimes because we did something that got our own heads stuck ourselves from looking over our banisters. (Does that remind anybody of one Mr. King David?) I, for one, am glad that God runs to us when we yell out to Him for His help in our pain. I'm even more glad that He's able to get us unstuck from the places that we've stuck ourselves in!

Speaking of "PAIN PAIN!", shall I remind you of another 'Drama Queen' that we find a glimpse of in Scripture that had her own way of slapping her hand to her chest in her great yell of "PAIN! PAIN!"?

We find a picture of her and her son in what seems to be the middle of a walk through a cemetery. It's actually in the middle of a genealogy list of descendants of this person and then that that takes up the whole first ten chapters of 1 Chronicles. But from time to time in the midst of the listing of names, it stops at one of them and elaborates a little something about them before moving on. Here's what we learn about one of them in the middle of the 4th chapter:

"Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain."

Mind if I say something here? What mom didn't give birth to her baby in pain? Could we all have a show of hands, please? What makes Jabez's mom feel that she's so special and as if she's an exception? If we all named our child by our feelings at their births MOST children would be named "Pain" (or something much worse). I somehow would like to be able to go back to her moment and tap her on her shoulder to remind her of it. "Hey, Ms. Queeen Drama," hear me say this in a most polite whisper, "you might want to rethink what you're thinking before sticking your child with such a name. Do you really want to call him "Pain" to remind him of the pain that you feel that he's caused you every day for the rest of his life? Do you mind if I remind you here that God warned us of this very thing all the way back at the very beginning in Genesis ("To the woman He said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.....")? Key word here is: WITH PAIN
YOU WILL give birth..... And just in case you missed it, He said that He would "GREATLY INCREASE" our pains! We've all got pain, sweet Drama. I'm not trying to be ugly here, but just in case you think it is, your pain's not an exception....."

Time won't let me go back to tell her; but basically we have a Mellow-Dramatic mom here that hurts so much during the birth of her child that she names her child after her hurt and thus handicaps her child with her pain. Can't you just see her slap her hand to her chest with eyes rolled back in her head in her anguish, "PAIN! PAIN!" And she continues to yell it and be reminded of it every time that she calls to her child or mentions his name to another. For inquiring minds would want to know WHY she named her child the name that she did, and then I'm sure she'd share her story to tell them. So, her PAIN lives on as she continues to remember it and live it through him.

.... Until finally....

Finally he's had enough of it, so he cries out to God in his anguish: "Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain." Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request." ~ 1 Chronicles 4:9-10. And BECAUSE Jabez cried out to God in his anguish, begging his freedom from "pain", God granted him the very thing that he'd ask of Him. Praise His name!

Are you one who walks around slapping your hand to your chest as a continual crier of "PAIN! PAIN!" to show continually your wounds to all those who are around you? Do you continue to bellow your story of woe that happened to you years and years and years ago? Worse yet, are you one that continually points to your "bearer" (the one who caused you to bear such sorrow) and shouting toward him: "PAIN! PAIN!" every time that opportunity knocks or you see him? And even worse than that, have you crippled your own child in your pain, labeling him the cause of it...... nursing him, rocking him, dressing him, singing to him, "Pain! Pain! Pain! Pain! Pain!!!!!!!.........." every time you speak his name? Or are you one (like Jabez) that cries out to God in your pain in order for Him to heal you and free you from your pain? We're all "criers" of some sort, I was just wondering what you're crying... and who you're crying to?

I'll end with one of my favorite of favorites of verses found in Exodus 3:7-8. It's what God told Moses as He was calling him to send him to go to rescue His people, "The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of My people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them...."

God sees our misery! He listens to our cries. He sees our suffering, He's concerned. And He waits for us to cry out to Him! Oh, that His people would cry out to Him so that He could heal them.

What do you do with your Pain? And who do you cry your "Pain!" to?

I can't stop there. I wish I could. But I can't resist from adding this verse: "This poor man cried and....."

David penned the psalm you'll find copied below.... but he wrote about me when he penned it. David wasn't perfect. I'm not either. David sinned greatly. I have too. But David could write this because of his God that forgave him. David could write this because of the God that He knew. David sought Him in the pit of his sin (in Psalm 40 he calls it a horrible pit of miry clay) and God brought him out of that pit that he'd become stuck in. Not only did David seek God and God pull him from his pit when he called to Him; but GOD sought David when David wasn't doing a lot of seeking for Him (2 Samuel 12)... because David was in the midst of seeking his sin... Yet God sent a reminder to him in his rebellion, so that David would turn back his diverted eyes toward Him again. We have a Faithful Father! A Shepherd that watches over His sheep and One Who leaves the ninty-nine in order to seek for His lost ones, or wandering ones, or wayward ones. He's done the same for me.... sought after me when I wasn't seeking for Him..... pulled me from the pits that I'd become stuck in. He's done it for you too (sought after you)..... though not everyone chooses to see it..... and those that won't see won't choose to call out to Him either.... though they'll be quick to blame Him.

David wasn't a man of perfection. He sinned much, and thus had need for much forgiveness. God forgave it all and redeemed him and then called him a man after His own heart. The very last verse in this psalm says, "The LORD REDEEMS His servants; NO ONE will be condemned WHO takes REFUGE in Him."

I suppose that "no one" really does mean "no one," huh? "No one will be condemed who take refuge in Him."

After looking up the meaning of these words in the Hebrew it just basically means it just like it says it: NO ONE will be found "guilty" that takes refuge in Him, that "seeks" refuge from Him, that "flees to Him for protection." No one that puts their "trust" in Him, that "confides" and "hopes" in Him will be condemned on the day of judgment. Because He "redeems" them "by paying a price." He "ransoms" them, He "rescues" them, He "delivers" them, He "preserves", He "sets free", He "lets go", He "delivers life from danger"!

David... "a man after God's own heart." Wow, God Himself called him that after all that he'd done... adultery, lying, murder, just to name a few. And you know, after all the yuck that I've done, I honestly feel that He says that same thing about me too. Not because me or anything that I've done; but because of who He is and all that He has! I'm just wondering, what kind of man are you?

Verse six says, "This poor man CALLED, and the LORD HEARD him; He SAVED him OUT of ALL his troubles." This "poor" man, this "afflicted" man, this "wretched" man, this "needy" man, this "weak" man... "oppresssed", "humbled", "depressed", "downcast", "stooped", "bowed down" man CALLED out ("Pain! Pain!") and the Lord heard him and saved him out of ALL of his troubles. That was me. What about you?

Here is the psalm I referenced:

Psalm 34

I will extol the LORD at ALL times;
His praise will ALWAYS be on my lips.

My soul will boast in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt His name together.

He DELIVERED me from all my fears.

Those who look to Him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.

This (ME!) poor man CALLED, and the LORD HEARD him;
He SAVED him OUT of ALL his troubles.

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.

Fear the LORD, you His saints,
for those who fear Him lack NO-THING.

The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack NO GOOD THING.

Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,

keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.

Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous
and His ears ARE ATTENTIVE to their CRY;

the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

The righteous CRY OUT, and the LORD HEARS them;
He DELIVERS them from A-L-L their troubles.

The LORD is CLOSE to the brokenhearted
and SAVES those who are crushed in spirit.

A righteous man may have many troubles,
BUT THE LORD DELIVERS him from them A-L-L;

He protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.

The LORD REDEEMS His servants;
NO ONE will be condemned WHO takes REFUGE in Him.

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