It is said that the greatest pain is heart pain. Sometimes it never goes away. Life is such that reminders of what caused it never cease.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. [Hebrews 4:15-16 KJV]
When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him. When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.” [Matthew 8:14-17]
Jesus wept. [John 11:35] 
I’ve written recently about the great pain the Lord Jesus suffered beyond His great suffering on the cross. There was ongoing pain that plagued Him throughout time. Maybe we do not think of God in that way, that He, as great and powerful as He is, suffers from something apparently only endemic to mere humans. Yet, the Scriptures are very clear on this subject: God suffers.
Perhaps that is why He is so into mercy. He goes out of His way to have compassion for others. And perhaps that is why so many people have a heart for mercy and compassion, even though they may have never submitted to the Lord. It is because we are made in God’s image. This is why even unrepentant sinners often find it in their heart to be loving and kind and help people along the way.
The last two plus years have been very difficult for a lot of people. Though never reported in the major media, a great many people have lost their businesses, their means to make a living, their relationships, and their health, many in spite of the so-called cure. Millions were forced to comply with authoritarian strictures that did much more harm than good. Millions will never recover. I am at a loss regarding what will become of so many of these people. And instead of this being a time of much greater soul searching, of much research toward answers, and of genuine caring on the part of those who made it through for those who didn’t and so many who are suffering still, we have seen an even greater manifestation of hardheartitis. Rather than move into an even greater state of compassion for the hurting, broken, and terribly betrayed, many have taken a hard heart against them, as if they all got what they deserved.
There is no way the Lord can be pleased with this. We know what touches His heart and we know He will do absolutely anything for anyone as demonstrated by His supreme sacrifice in payment for our sins, many of which are directed against Him. He has long since taken an attitude of forgiveness and hopeful reconciliation, of course, though he bears no fault. He will do anything in His power through righteous means to become reconciled to any person anywhere. And remember, though the Lord often gets blamed for the way things are or for what humans have done to Him and each other, He has never been guilty of sin. He is pure and holy. Sadly, some people gag at that truth.
ANOTHER CAR ADVENTURE
Though I believe in proper maintenance and keep my vehicle as well maintained as possible, over the last several months I have had a problem with said vehicle. It has a tendency to not start. Earlier it was due to a balky starter. There were times I would try to start the car with no success. I would wait a short while, turn the key again, and the engine would roar to life. I dealt with this for a year or two. It got worse. I took it in for repairs. I am blessed to have a great place to take my vehicle when the need arises. The people running it are honest and forthright. It is one of those rare places in that field in which you know they are shooting you straight. I have a great relationship with them.
I came across it, probably in the yellow pages, over a decade ago, when new to the area. I was about to take a long cross country trip. The day before, I was running a lot of last minute errands. It rained heavily. The next morning, when I started up the car, there was a problem. It was running like garbage. Since I had very little time, having appointments on the road that must be kept, I quickly looked through the phone book, chose a place that looked good to me, and gave them a call. The owner answered. I explained my situation. He said bring it in. When I got there, though he didn’t know me from Adam, and though he had other work in process, he attended to my car right away. I had chosen the right place. There is no doubt it was God-directed.
It turned out to be an ignition coil and a plug. He explained that there was a slight design flaw on my vehicle that allowed water to splash up and settle in the wells where the plugs and coils are located. He fixed the problem. I was there about two hours. I think it only cost me about $200. I thanked him profusely for going out his way to help me. He replied that he needed to help me get on the road.
When I took my car in maybe four years ago for the start problem I had then and they confirmed it was the starter, they put a new starter on it and all was well. What I didn’t know at that time was that the preferred starter they wanted was unavailable and so they got the next best thing, a starter from another manufacturer than the ones they usually installed. Last year, when the starter problem rose again, I took it back in. They replaced the starter.
Then they did something I have never seen done before or ever even heard of, and I talked to people about this that would know.
After installing the new starter, a good one from their main parts supplier which was then available, they brought out the old starter in a box and put it on the counter when I was paying. They said the old starter, the inferior one, was actually still under warranty. They explained why they had installed it previously. They told me to take it down to the parts house where they got it and ask for the warranty money. I was blown away that they would do that.
So I went to the local parts house. They said yes, the starter was still under warranty, but they would need to talk to the owners of the shop and give the warranty money through them. I returned to the garage. They called the parts house. The parts house released the money to the garage. As soon as they got the credit they came out and handed me about $130 or so for the old starter. I told them you can’t do that. They insisted. I said okay, then let’s split it. They refused. I essentially got a starter for free for three or four years. This was an unprecedented situation.
Now regarding my latest start problem, the one that has been off and on for the last half year or so, it turned out to be a bad battery terminal, the part that connects the wire directly to the battery. I’ve been dealing with cars forever and this kind of knowledge makes one feel like an idiot, but I logically thought it was the battery. When I took my car in on a previous occurrence, maybe two or three months ago, under similar conditions, they saw me right away, found that the battery tested good, and replaced one of the battery terminals with a much better one. For free. The owner did this. With a smile.
So the other day, I had a bunch of stuff to do that had to be done that day, and was about to leave early in the morning. And surprise, surprise, the car wouldn’t start. I could hardly believe it. It was fine just two days before. I live in an out of the way place. I prayed. I checked the old terminal. I took it loose, took it apart, cleaned what maybe needed cleaning, put it back together, tightened it down, and nothing. Dead battery. I would need a jump.
In this process a yard service contractor showed up not too far away and began mowing. With time wasting away and needing to get on the road, I prayed some more. I decided to go ask the yard guy for help. We had never met. I got his attention while he was mowing and explained my problem. He was very friendly. He first said he would come by in maybe thirty minutes. Then he suddenly stopped his mower, turned it off, and came from out of the yard. We had a friendly discussion. This was a positive guy. He agreed to come over right away. He pulled up next to my car, we hooked up my cables, and my car started right up. He noticed the bad terminal. We said our goodbyes. I thanked him profusely. He refused to take any money. I knew he wouldn’t but thought it was the right thing to do to at least offer.
I called my garage. They had no time. Were very busy. They were two weeks out. I explained the situation. He said he might have time just after lunch. Everywhere I went until then I had to keep my car running. Had many places to go. I had to leave my car running in parking lots. It never overheated. Also, when I had taken apart the bad terminal and cleaned it, the nut in one side never seated again properly. The connection was not very good. My car kept running. That afternoon I made it over to the garage. I had to wait. No big deal. But then the owner made time, came out to my car, and tested the battery. It was good. Incidentally, I bought the battery from them. It’s a five year battery. It’s been over four years. Batteries have since almost doubled in price.
He went back in the shop and got one of those excellent terminals they use and installed it. For free. And a smile. The car started right up. I thanked him profusely. I have prayed for these people many times. One can never know for the most part whether one’s prayers have had an impact but no matter. It is not the one who prays but the One who answers the prayers that makes the difference. These people are so busy they are actually two and a half weeks out and their customers keep making appointments. Half the garages in my area have gone out of business. They have almost more business than they can handle. And they continue being friendly and forthright with their customers.
I will leave it to you, dear readers, to make any spiritual applications regarding my stated adventure in this post. Is there a bad connection? Do the battery terminals need cleaning or replacement? Need a new starter or know someone who does? Maybe there’s a bad ignition coil or sparkplug. Regardless, the best way to deal with such problems is to first seek the Lord in prayer. Then be ready for the answer. And know that the answer will most often include mercy and compassion, either on our part or that of another. Sometimes we have to initiate the process.
Suffering is very real and we often have to deal with pain, but heartfelt mercy for those who hurt and are in need acts as a salve and anointing to meet such needs and absolve such hurts. The Lord demonstrated how this is done. Much compassion is called for in these times. We must give it and also receive it, depending on the circumstances. Dealing with pain, whether our own or that of others, is helped tremendously through simple acts of caring and love.
In my experience, I have discovered that beyond an apparent unseen barrier keeping people disconnected, a smile, an act of help though relatively minor, or something bigger such as miracles, all act as works of compassion that dissolve the barrier and allow for necessary human contact toward the alleviation of suffering. Most of us have been on both the giving and receiving ends of such interactions. Both have their purpose. Both are edifying. And you can’t have one without the other.
So, what began as a very hopeful day for me which turned into a short term mini-misadventure ended up being a great day thanks FIRST AND FOREMOST TO THE MERCY AND COMPASSION OF THE LORD JESUS, and secondly to some very good and friendly people who also demonstrated such care, one of which I had never met, who were willing to help out. For free.
And I’m not so sure they’re even professed Christians.
© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
All Christians have a choice to make. They will either stand with the Lord Jesus 100% or they won’t.
No one has ever been subjected to the attacks the Lord Jesus suffered. We now live in a time when extremely hateful vile people have gained a massive bully pulpit blasting out attacks against any and all who refuse to kowtow to their false narratives and slimy lies. What many people still do not recognize is that this is a very clear sign of the Great Awakening.
This should be obvious. It is not that the attacks of the enemy have only just begun. The enemy has been doing this a very long time. What makes these times different is that the enemy has greatly stepped up its attacks but only for one reason:
The forces of truth and morality are fighting back. They are fighting back like never before. They have gained a spiritual backbone.
They are not supposed to fight back! They are supposed to stay in their little hovels to which they have been assigned where they are never seen and their voice is never heard. Why so many otherwise good people have ended up there can be narrowed down to two reasons:
(1) They failed to stay strong in the Lord. They failed to stay prayed up. They failed to work hard at gaining the knowledge and information they would need to stand as stalwart people defending the truth. (If one does not know the truth how can they defend it?) As a result the enemy took advantage of their spiritual laziness and began dismantling the rest of whatever was good that had yet to be destroyed while most people simply let them do it without a fight.
(2) They succumbed to an attack from inside. The people around them—a friend, a family member, an associate—who got suckered into the false narratives, turned against them and lambasted them often not even knowing they were doing the devil’s work and that they had been deceived. In other words, the indolent people who simply believe whatever they are told to believe and never verify anything or trust the wrong people, who are easily deceived and easily fall sway to the false pronouncements of authority figures who they pledge to support without even knowing who these people really are and what they actually believe, end up turning against their own. Shouldn’t they know better?
This is what the Lord said would happen to His real followers. It refers to all of His followers for all time:
“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.” [Luke 6:22-23]
This is what He said about prophets, including Himself:
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” [Mark 6:4]
The reason the preceding happens is because a person joins up with the Lord and chooses His side. As a result, all those who hate Him or refuse to join His side turn against those who join Him. Those who choose to hate the Lord Jesus and never change end up influencing all those who have never joined Him or who sit on the fence. Many Christians have one foot in the world which opposes the Lord and one foot dangling in the right direction but cannot get themselves to go all the way in either direction. They know enough to not support the enemy but are too chicken to go fully over to the Lord’s side. This means they are somehow compromised. They fear what they will lose by going all the way.
There is actually no middle ground, however. Middle ground does not exist. One is either with Him or one opposes Him. The person who therefore insists, “No, there is a middle ground and this is where I will stay,” lacks knowledge and wisdom. This person has no spiritual backbone. This person’s faith is weak or non-existent and is ruled by doubt:
…For the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. [James 1:5-8]
The Lord Jesus is the ROCK and all who support Him unequivocally are also like rocks. Rather than being swayed by false narratives or an ungodly culture that opposes Him they stand for Him. Rather than being tossed around in the roiling surf they stand as great rocks in that surf and cannot be moved. There is no possible way they can do this without the Lord. They had recognized their own weakness and desired strength to stand but discovered it was only the Lord Jesus that had such strength. It is a strength that can withstand anything. So they went fully over to His side and were blessed. They gained a backbone they never had before.
Veteran real Christians know that their times of weakness were caused by not doing the things they needed to do and doing other things that weakened them. They often discover this after an attack. When a strong attack comes against them and they have a very hard time standing, they realize their strength had waned due to their own negligence. It is most likely the case that the attack came precisely for this reason. The enemy saw an opening caused by weakness and went for it. Most of the time a believer is able to rally back and overcome but not always. It is why followers of the Lord must remain ever-vigilant.
There are Judases skulking around. There are Jezebel spirits. There are religious spirits. There are all manner of wicked spirits sent to do a job.
The Lord was always dealing with this phenomenon during His ministry and so were His later followers. They were subjected to the most heinous attacks. Stuff came out of left field. They were lied about and cheated. Even friends and spiritual brothers left them in the lurch because they believed the lies or were too sissified to stand with them. Imagine if you were one of the Lord’s disciples when the following happened. How would it make you feel?
At that time Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me. But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled. [Matthew 26:55-56]
CORRUPTION IS AS CORRUPTION DOES
We have two major political parties in America. One is characterized by adopting ungodly and unconstitutional positions. The other is characterized by having no backbone to carry out the things they claim to stand for. They look quite different outwardly but their differences are often only skin deep. The people from these parties who currently hold elective office are almost all compromised in some way. Some are complete total sellouts. A few actually are not sold out at all. Those who refuse to sell out will always be opposed by the sellouts. You may never see the back door skullduggery openly but at some point, at the least suggestion that the honest non-sellout may have done something not acceptable politically, usually something completely innocuous, the sellouts will violently turn against such a person and attempt to destroy him even if the person is a member of the same party. This gives us another indication that what we have in the main is a uniparty, two sides of the same coin, playing games to appear as opposite teams. The real divide, however, is that some are honest and some are not.
Christianity is divided the same way in that there are two types of Christians. There are those who have joined up with the Lord Jesus 100% and there are those who have not. The latter should be absolutely ashamed. Watch your back. They are Christians in name only. The Lord is keeping track. He knows those who are with Him and those who are not. He knows the ones with Him are His friends. He knows they have had to stand up against all manner of attacks perpetrated against them by His enemies. He knows they make themselves vulnerable to the evil people of this world when they join up with Him and serve Him. He also knows that sometimes the attacks must happen, that they may be severe, and that His son or daughter will suffer as a result. It is all part of the real work of the Gospel.
But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” [Luke 22:48] 
All real believers will experience a time when they will suffer the worst of attacks, one in which they are innocent but smeared and no one comes to support them. They know they have been railroaded and set up. They know the evil one convinced those who were formerly true to withdraw their support. The worst attacks come from friends. Sometimes, the only friend they have left is the Lord. Rather than this being a really bad thing, however, and it certainly is, it is also a great thing. Why? Because it lets us know the Lord will always remain with us though everyone else does not. It is a tremendous opportunity to grow in greater relationship with the Lord. The suffering that happens, and it can be great, is the obverse reality of the much better reality, that the Lord is one’s BEST friend and will be there always under any circumstances. This is when a believer understands the greatness of the Lord’s love and His true fidelity and faithfulness. He will never leave His children or betray them. Ever.
Standing up for the Lord Jesus against great opposition is the most difficult thing one may ever do but it has the greatest reward. The more one stands the stronger one gets. Those who are determined to give their all are the stalwarts working with Him to bring forth this Great Awakening.
And as it was with the Lord, this includes overcoming Judas.
© 2019 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.