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Monday, 10 April 2017


When a slipped disc caused a painful muscle spasm in my hip that just would not release, the physio gave me three sessions of deep acupuncture, sticking an extra long needle into the centre of the tightly balled muscle, which finally, suddenly, enabled the cramp to release. Release. Freedom. It was amazing, and sort of counterintuitive to me. It seems odd that in order to relieve pain, you stick a long needle right into the source of the pain.

Yesterday we heard a powerful sermon at Junction Church in Aberdeen, where Pastor Kevin described the struggle of Gethsemane. Jesus, always obedient to the Father, had to make sure that he was hearing right, and that there really was no other way to redeem the world than by going through the anguish of the cross. His friends fell asleep but he continued to ask the Father, three times, if there were another way. When he heard that this was the only way, he rose from prayer, strong and ready to face his enemies. He could see beyond the cross to the glory.

We all have pain, Pastor Kevin said. Sometimes there may be another way, so we need to ask the Father again and again if we can be delivered from whatever pain we are going through now. If there is no other way, though, we can be strengthened as Jesus was to face the pain, knowing that there is good on the other side. He will bring us through every painful situation to a place of peace. 

It seems counterintuitive that God who is always good, who is always love, will sometimes say that there is no other way than through the pain. It’s somehow like sticking that long needle into a cramped muscle. When the release comes, it is sudden and complete and we can celebrate the victory in Christ, who strengthens us all.

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