Monday, June 4, 2012
The sweet fragrance of pain
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.
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.