Monday, June 4, 2012

The sweet fragrance of pain

(an excerpt from Streams in the Desert, a book that holds a very special place in my heart)

Song of Songs 4:16: Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that it's fragrance may be spread abroad.

Some of the spices and plants mentioned in verse 14 of the above chapter are very descriptive and symbolic. The juice of the aloe plant has a bitter taste but is soothing when applied to the skin, so it tells us of the sweetness of bitter things, the bittersweet, having an important application that only those who have used it will understand. Myrrh is symbolic of death, having been used to embalm the dead. It represents the sweetness that comes to the heart after it has died to self-will, pride, and sin.
What inexpressible charm seems to encircle some Christians, simply because they carry upon their pure countenance and gentle spirit the imprint of the cross! It is the holy evidence of having died to something that was once proud and strong but is now forever surrendered at the feet of Jesus. And it is also the heavenly charm of a broken spirit and contrite heart, the beautiful music that rises from a minor key, and the sweetness brought about by the touch of frost on ripened fruit.
Finally, frankincense was a fragrance that arose only after being touched with fire. The burning incense became clouds of sweetness arising from the heat of the flames. It symbolizes a person's heart whose sweetness has been brought forth by the flames of affliction until the holy, innermost part of the soul is filled with clouds of praise and prayer.
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Dear friends, sometimes God allows us to experience pain in our lives because He knows it is what we need to grow, to bloom, as in the pruning of a rose bush. Sometimes the pain helps us to see things in a whole new light, and allows us to become a blessing to someone else.
Are you in pain today? Grasp ahold of our Heavenly Father's hand, and let Him guide you through the bitter to the other side, where the sweet fragrance of pain lies. Let it fill you with praise and prayer.

7 comments:

MrsP said...

This is lovely and, better yet, absolutely true. You make me want to read 'Streams in the Desert', which has been hovering around the edges of attention for a while. You also remind me of my own painful experiences that have not only left a sweet fragrance of perseverance behind, but many of which God has redeemed into something new and beautiful. Thank you.
Visiting from Graceful.

Beth said...

This is so true, Megan. And you've beautifully illustrated it for us with this passage. The symbolism explained really is helpful and inspiring. I'm so glad you're doing the blog hops too! Yay! Thanks for this great post!

Jennifer said...

We just finished studying "Song of Solomon" in our Bible study, but we looked at it more literally and took advice for our marriage. However, this symbolic reading is a beautiful and encouraging passage. Thanks for sharing!
Visiting from Graceful.

Pamela said...

Pain is a constant companion, but yes, I've learned so many lessons through it. I've also been able to minister to many with chronic pain or have lost a child. God is good--and always with me--always, always.

Anonymous said...

This is lovely, Meg - I need to borrow your book! I know that the painful times in my life have brought such growth and an ever-closer walk with my Savior. I know the same is true for you, too. Wouldn't undo a bit of it! "I'm not who I was, I'm being remade...", praise Jesus! Love you, Mom

Jolene @ The Alabaster Jar said...

Wonderful post! Thanks so much for linking up with The Alabaster Jar!

Debra said...

Beautifully written and oh so true! Pain processes us, transforms us into His image.