Look at em all sitting there, all those decoys, ready to be completed. Right now It is 4:30 in the danged morning and I am hurting like a son of a gun. (Cleaned that one up, eh?) I started physical therapy last week from my 7 month old fusion surgery and I am hurting immensely this morning. Physical it definitely is; therapy the book is still out on! But I am also hurting emotionally and spiritually this morning because of the emotional and spiritual pain that friends and family are going through. In this pain, this God forsaken wrath of pain, I have come to understand one thing clearly: We are made complete through our pain and suffering!
Little did I know that the creations of these decoys, of all my art work, would contribute to the pain I am in. I gave Karen a decoy years ago and I call it my pain duck because I would lie in bed and carve the duck in between surgeries and procedures. My carvings, all of them are connected to me because of my own pain and the only way these decoys pictured above or any art piece will be complete is to work through my own pain and complete them. All of it, every smidgen of the art I do, is made complete out of my own pain and suffering.
When Karen and I lived in Montana almost 30 years ago and I was pastoring the little church we had started, a friend of mine and myself would meet every Wednesday morning and memorize scripture and pray together. The book we memorized was the book of James. I have since forgotten most of it with the exception of one passage which is the actual beginning of the book:
“James, a bond servant of The Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes scattered abroad, greetings! Consider it all joy my bretheren(and sisteren may I add) when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Really? All this suffering that we go through making us perfect? Okay already, I’m about as perfect as I would like to be doggone it! This, my friends, will be a topic of intense discussion when I see God someday. This whole suffering deal and even Jesus suffering on the cross; really and why? One side purpose to all of this suffering is that others are made complete because of our own pain and suffering.
We are made complete, our faith is made complete because of the suffering of Christ and our own suffering because in no other way, no other way, do we experience the fullness of God. “And let endurance have its perfect result, that you(me,us) may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing!
This is the world we live in. We will not get out of here unscathed. All of us will be and are bruised and battered. The fullness of God is made complete in suffering. My carvings, my own creations, my decoys, my birds, are made complete, knife in hand, struggling all around, the grain of the wood, the push and the pull, the chips that fly and the clouds of dust, those art pieces are made complete in my own pain and suffering. And so to is our faith. And us.