Still thinking about pain.
But not mine.
I remember way back when I was in high school, I found an essay on the medical description of what Jesus endured on the cross. I don't remember the details, but I remember the horrified impression they left.
Now, as we approach "Holy Week", the last 7 days before the crucifixion, I have been praying to understand more of what He went thru.
I am a nurse, so just thinking about the nerve endings tortured (there is no other word for it) for 6 hours on the cross, is daunting.
For most of my life, I thought He had spent only ("only?") three hours on the cross. But if you read the time of crucifixion carefully, it occurred at 9 am, not noon. The last 3 hours, from 12 to 3pm, were in utter and complete darkness - of the soul as well as the body.
The first 3 hours were all the Father could bear to look at.
When He withdrew, He took the light with Him ("In Him is light, and no darkness at all",) and His presence as well. In order for Jesus to actually become sin, Jesus had to do it with a totally human perspective. He chose to be separated for the first time in all eternity (and the last) from the Father God.
I have thought of this quite a bit.
What a choice!
That means that He put aside every iota of knowledge He has as God. He became like us - in the "dark night of the soul", where we don't have a clue what God is doing in our lives, and must choose, like Jesus, to trust in the darkness.
But not without pain.
Pain is an integral part of the process of faith.
IN spite of not having a clue, in spite of that feeling of "alone-ness", where the voice of God is silent and we feel abandoned in the universe, in spite of the pain and fear engendered by that feeling of wondering if we really do belong to God and if He really does love us, in spite of allll of that, we choose to believe He is Who He says He is.
And Jesus, "being tempted (tried) in all points, even as we are", chose this unimaginable separation from all that is holy, pure, and true.
Think of it! He Who is light itself, chose to endure darkness, evil, the depths of depravity, so that He could redeem us.
As I mentioned in the last post, it is easier for me to endure physical pain than the pain where the soul itself is twisted and torn and stretched out of shape and tortured. Physical pain, however it governs our physical bodies, will end with this body, this "tent," as Paul calls it.
Tents are temporary, fleeting. They can be destroyed by a strong gust of wind, hail, fire, just about anything. They are flimsy. The strongest tent is still flimsy. It is a very temporary entity - and we do not even expect it to stand the test of time. It will wear out - day by day the elements will ravage it. It is doomed from the start.
Altho heartache, if we accept His sacrifice, will also end with the body, it is another animal completely.
I believe that is why, that last night in the garden, He sweat, as it were, "great drops of blood."
That, by the way, is a medically documented process caused by great suffering.
The pain of the cross, after all, was not an exclusive method of punishment. Legions of felons experienced it. So what made this particular crucifixion worthy of paying off our sin debt?
It was this separation, this contamination on a level we can only imagine! A 100% pure soul (not 99% - 100%) Who had never contemplated committing a sin, Who lived - really lived - a life in the presence oF His Father - this pure soul would become, actually become, sin. One by one. Filling His being. Tasting of it. Each breath, which was pain in itself, for He had to push up with His nailed feet and pull on His nailed hands to be able to breathe, each time, with His newly scourged back dragging on splintering wood, each nerve ending screaming with the physical pain, each breath He drew contaminated with evil thoughts and pictures and sensations until He reeked of it. Every cell full of sin.
Every angry thought. Every rancid deed. Every wish for someone else to be destroyed for what they did to you. And the doing itself. One by one. Coming at You. Sliding down Your throat. Filling You with bile. Every cruel deed, every perversion, every horrific act devised by man in conjunction with satan.
In the darkness. Alone.
No refuge. No cleansing.
Filled to the very brim.
I believe it was the contemplation of this that made His very blood want to run away - please Papa (the word is "Abba", used today in Israel, meaning "Daddy") if there is any way, any way, any way - three times He begged: don't abandon Me, Daddy! If there is any other way. Please, Please, Please.
Until He wrestled Himself into submission. He "set His face like flint" and never wavered - altho the evil one would be whispering, enticing, trying every trick and seduction he could draw on to cause Him to call legions of angels to free Him.
Even now, He said, Do you not think I could ask the Father to send legions of angels to rescue Me?
A legion was 1000 Roman soldiers. And He had plural :legions at His disposal.
Yet, with the picture of my eternity laid out before Him, He chose to endure.
We were in His heart.
He chose us over freedom from an experience so overwhelmingly painful that His very being shrank from it.
So during this last week of His time on earth, I think He was savoring those He loved, those Who loved Him. Looking at them, His poor, confused, sheep, bleating on the precipice. And knowing - knowing beyond anything that we can even imagine - that He would still have to chose His answer. Knowing that He would have to agree in every detail. Whispers,whispers of safety surrounding Him as the time approached. You don't have to do this, You know.
All You have to do is say no.
And it was really that simple.
It was really all He had to do.
Just say, "no."
"Oh! How He loves you. Oh! How He loves me.
"Oh! How He loves you and me."