I remember in my late teens I became a big fan of Walt Whitman, the 19th century poet. The man pretty much invented what became known as “free verse.” He called his poems songs. Some were very long, as if he were writing poems as prose. I am currently writing from memory, as something is telling me not to spoil it by looking up the actual poems, etc, and to simply write what I recall. Maybe it will give this post a closer and more intimate feel.
But there was a poem he wrote called something like When I Heard the Learned Astronomer. Walt Whitman was at a lecture. Remember, this was about 150 years ago. The gist of the poem was about this astute scientist droning on about the intricacies of the Universe and his calculations and a bunch of intellectual claptrap, while Whitman finally had enough and was thinking, “Man, how can you take all the beauty and wonder of the crystal clear night skies, and the bright stars, and planets, and the moon…
There is a big and bright full moon hanging in the sky as I write this, and it defies intellectual introspection, and I think the Creator wants us to just appreciate it, and wonder, and not have our simple minds all clouded over and crammed with relatively useless mathematical garbage about the moon, and simply appreciate the celestial glory…
This is what Whitman ended up saying in that particular poem he wrote so long ago. Again, I haven’t read it in what must be decades, but I saw the full moon tonight. I went outside for a while a few minutes ago and was bathed in its light. And I saw the clear sky, and the stars. And I thought about what Whitman was trying to say…
We do the same things as Christians in preaching or teaching the Lord’s Gospel, or whatever it is that we do. We have a tendency, and I am certainly guilty, of focusing on the intellectual, and the spiritual math, and the exact word studies. Now, all of this is quite necessary and the Lord blessed me with the anointing to do this many moons ago, and I do it, and I love it. But I am trying to reach a balance with this post…
You see, spiritual things often cannot be diagrammed and spelled out and made sense of, and are often the epitome of the counterintuitive. This is especially true of spiritual warfare and attacks which many times come by complete surprise and out of the blue. Would that we could set up war plans like military planners and know our enemy to the point that we know what’s coming, but this is rarely the case. Spiritual attacks usually come out of nowhere and the only real defense is staying as close as possible to the Lord so we will at least be strong enough to take the hit.
The point here is that sometimes the devil’s a snake. At other times he smells blood like a shark and rushes in for the kill. Often, after having to undergo this kind of stuff, it makes you think, “What the hell?” Then we remember the Lord, and his original twelve, and all the other disciples from that time, and the early community of the Lord in Jerusalem and throughout an evil world and the undeserved pain they all had to suffer. And we can relate. We’re therefore fortunate to be able to relate.
[Incidentally, the Last Days plan is beginning to accelerate, and a relatively quick rise of great hatred for real Christians in America is starting. Be prepared. As I wrote in Real Christianity twenty years ago, bloody persecution is coming to this country. Most did not believe it then. Most Christians are still so out of touch they still don’t believe it, or perceive it. But again, be prepared.]
As James wrote (pretty sure it was James, or John—remember, I’m not doing my usual checking and ultra-editing and whatnot, I’m just writing my thoughts as they occur), he wrote something about real Christians getting blamed for things they are not guilty of, and suffering undeservedly, and saying it is a good thing. He taught that it was spiritually good for us to get slammed for no good reason, but only because a devil got stirred up and saw an opening and attacked. In other words, the very essence of persecution is being hated without a cause.
The Lord said this about Himself. He taught it, that it was something His disciples would go through. He also taught that there would be times when such slamming happens when no one who should will back you, or come to your rescue, or fight back for you on your behalf, but just kind of stay uninvolved. I know there are some of you reading this who can relate. Sometimes the spiritual attack is so severe and so unwarranted our brothers and sisters and friends keep their distance. Again, it happened to the Lord many times. In His greatest time of need His friends were nowhere to be found. Most people had decided He was guilty and was merely getting what He deserved.
One time, after a particular teaching, many of His followers walked out on Him, and He said to those who remained, “Will you leave Me too?”
Imagine that. This is God we’re talking about. Again, I know some of you reading this can relate. You know what it’s like to be left on your own, wounded, to fend for yourself. Of course, we’re not alone. We’re never alone. The Lord is there, especially in those kinds of times. But it’s still hard. It’s the kind of thing that drives one to the ground.
I remember a former pastor, long ago, preaching about this. He was talking about a pain so great but you can’t confront anybody. You can’t fight back. The devil is pouring it on. He was talking about falling to the floor in prayer in his bedroom, and managing to crawl into the closet, and crawling way back there in the back, all the way back to the hunting boots, and crying out to God.
It happens. It’s the nature of spiritual battle. But joy comes in the morning. Or maybe a few days later. Or something. But if we handle it right the Lord always works it out. It makes no sense in the natural, just like some egghead drawing circles and mathematical formulas on a chalkboard does absolutely no justice to the wonders of the night sky.
By the way, though the great masses of traditional Christianity have already celebrated their “Easter” almost a month ago, we are presently on the eve of Passover. We crossed over the Jordan River on Monday. It is also Nisan 14, the time on the Lord’s calendar of His passion—His undeserved suffering—and His crucifixion. He paid the price. He never retaliated. He let them slam Him.
And this year He is once again doing it alone, since, as I said, the vast majority of Christians jumped the gun last month because they’re following a meaningless Gregorian calendar invented by an egghead theologian who ironically invented an anti-celestial calendar that has no bearing on what’s going on in the sky or the Spirit.
The Lord’s undeserved suffering puts things in proper spiritual perspective. Everything He did He did for our benefit, even for the times when we must share in His suffering with suffering of our own. Such times are great opportunities for gaining spiritual ground and reaping rewards. His own death proves this. There could be no glorious resurrection otherwise.
And because He rose again to new life so will you, and so will I, and so will we all—those of us who count ourselves as His real disciples and live to tell about it, even if we die in the process.
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
Though the Lord has always provided a place for me to stay, I have been essentially homeless for seven years. I put my house on the market seven years ago this month and began living out of a suitcase.
I’m still living out of a suitcase.
My house sold three and a half months later. I only got two legitimate offers. The Lord told me what the final selling price would be at least a month before.
About that time, things were looking so bleak my realtor called to advise me it would probably be best to take it off the market. This was devastating news, especially since he was such an upbeat and optimistic guy. It was really bad news among an entire shipload of bad news. My life had by that time come completely apart but I kept manning the helm and being responsible. My heart was destroyed. I really don’t know how in the world I ever got through it all.
When I received that phone call from my realtor I was out of town, pretty far away, and was making inquiries into a new job and a whole new life. It just so happened I was in the office of the friend of a friend at the end of the day, just visiting. There were four of us. After exiting to take the call I went back into the room and told the others. This was a crisis point. It was one of those things where you either got it right and won a spiritual victory or lost it all. Everything was on the line.
The good news is these were godly men who knew how to pray. One of them had been on his deathbed in the hospital several years before with a very bad heart condition. He should have died but through the powerful prayers and faith of saints God healed his heart and raised him up. This man was always smiling. He wanted me to feel his grip and it was very strong. He was without doubt a living testimony to God’s greatness and love.
I asked him to lead a prayer. Four men stood in a circle in that office holding hands. Eyes were closed. We began to pray. In the midst of the prayer a miracle happened. I suddenly had 100% faith. My whole former life was quickly coming undone but I suddenly had the faith that my house would sell. I had been very positive about the process before but this was different.
God told me in no uncertain terms that the house would sell.
I must reiterate the fact that the house had to sell, and sell quickly, or nothing else would have worked. Bad news was stacked up against me like backed-up cars on a freeway.
After the prayer I quickly called my realtor and told him we were going full speed ahead and to keep working the deal. Exactly one month later on the exact day of the month I closed on the house at the exact price the Lord had told me about before. The selling price was not my asking price and there were counter offers, but everything got done just the way the Lord told me it would. Not only that, but it went right down to the wire. The closer we got to what would be the closing date the more it appeared that the house would never sell. The pressure increased dramatically. Everything hinged on the sale. But I had complete and total peace in my heart regardless of the negative circumstances because I knew what God had said. I kept telling others that it would be okay, that the house would sell, and that it would all work out.
This was not blind faith. It was pure faith. After that prayer with three godly men the Lord told me what would happen and I was merely acting on what He said. I had to keep the faith, of course. And I had to maintain the course. And I did.
It was an extremely difficult time. Everything was hitting me at once. Suffering seemed to be far too light of a word.
This brings me to the point of this article. There are times we have to embrace suffering no matter how counter-intuitive it may appear to be. On a related front, psychologists talk of “going back into the wound” (as painful and apparently stupid that sounds), or healing can never take place. It’s like going through powerful white water rapids in a wimpy canoe with no surface guarantee of coming out alive on the other side.
It is like going into the belly of the beast.
The counter-intuitive nature of spiritual suffering most often causes us to reject it and stay clear of its embrace. But the Word of God clearly states:
For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.
For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many. [2 Corinthians 1:5-11] 
Sometimes the pain is so great it does indeed appear unbearable. Sometimes we reach a point, like the apostle Paul, in which we despair of life itself. Sometimes the suffering is such that we consider life no longer worth living. But just as the sun goes down and brings on many hours of darkness, the sun will rise again. The long dark night will be over. The Comforter will come.
The Lord rose again.
We will rise again.
© 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.