No it’s not a typo, but who on earth puts the word “writhing” together with “joy?”

For those of you following my FaceBook statuses, you know I’ve been fighting back pain for a while now… but last Wednesday the pain became unbearable and I ended up in the emergency room. I was released Thursday afternoon, and advised to rest, take pain medications, and continue with treatments in the pain clinic.

Once home I realized that being by myself was not working out too well. Friday a friend visited and told me there was no way I could continue to be by myself and recommended that I call the manager of Ebenezer Home, the only Messianic nursing home in Israel, and see if they had room for me until I recovered. They did, and here I am.

What a blessing in disguise, to be with people whom I know, and to have help. When the pain is really bad, I can’t even bend to put on my socks and shoes. What a joy to be in this peaceful atmosphere with people who really care about me. But when the pain hits, in waves, all I can do is clench my fists and endure, until it passes. No one can help, and no one can take it away. Even the meds don’t fully touch the pain. Thankfully, the waves of pain are not as frequent as they were…

Through this I am gaining a new understanding of “For the joy set before him, Christ endured the cross.” I’ve heard lots of sermons about the agony of crucifixion, though even now it is beyond my imagining. But as I’ve experienced this back and radiating leg pain, together with helplessness, I am appreciating anew what Jesus suffered for me. I realize that His suffering is truly beyond comprehension. His physical pain wracked every limb, every muscle stretched out on the cross, and His head pierced with thorns. His pain lasted hours; my few minutes of pain feel like hours—what did his hours feel like? And I? I will have to cancel my plane tickets to my daughter’s wedding, granddaughter’s dedication, and visit to family in Michigan and Ohio and friends in Colorado. A sorrow yes, but no one is standing at the foot of my bed mocking and laughing at me. I am not bearing the sin of every human being—past, present, and future—so that my righteousness can be imparted to all who believe in me. And I am not separated from my God.

What kind of physical, mental, and spiritual pain did Jesus suffer so that I could be made right with God? I will never completely understand, but these last few days are teaching me writhing joy.

Oh my Jesus, thank you for all you suffered for me, and use the little bit I suffer for your glory—You are worthy. Amen