PIERCING TIMES                                                                                                                       Andy Hollifield 1-14-19

Luke 2:35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

We are all no doubt thankful for the time that Mary’s soul was pierced through with a sword. By her suffering and anguish as she watched her Son be crucified, we can know that God’s grace truly is sufficient. But, we can also see that in order to experience that kind of grace, we must go through the suffering. At the time it’s happening, you don’t really care that down the road, you will be stronger because of the experience and be able to help someone else. You just want the piercing pain in your soul to go away. I had an experience recently, that even though my heart was ripped out, God gave grace to sleep and took the effects of that burden off of my mind for several hours. Even though I had awoken during the night and it was the first thing on my mind, it wasn’t having the piercing, heart-wrenching effect that it had during the day. God gave grace for rest. The effects of that burden were there shortly after waking up but thank God for the hours of rest.

The word pierce has ten definitions but there was one I felt was really accurate for what we’re talking about. To make a hole, opening, etc… as by boring.  Those piercing times definitely leave a boring, burning, hole in your heart.   Another one was also accurate and it said; to affect sharply with some sensation or emotion, as of cold, pain, grief, etc… I dare say that all of us have been through that at some point. It can come as a result of the death of a loved one for example. Especially in the time immediately following the death, there is a piercing pain that runs through our hearts that doesn’t seem to get any better. We may get periodic spells of relief only to have the grief rise back to the top and pierce our hearts through again. It just seems to be continual and can sometimes nearly drive us out of our mind with the anguish of missing someone.

It don’t even have to be a death. Sometimes the loss of a relationship between friends or even an intimate relationship can cause the same kind of anguish. It can pierce through our souls like a dagger to the point of not knowing how we can go on in our lives. It can make us want to go out away from everyone and scream our brains out and sometimes we do only to realize that any relief is only temporary. Have you ever found yourself in that kind of situation? I guess the reason I am writing on this is because I got reminded again recently of what it is to hurt that way in your heart. It seems that the ones we love the most and are closest to are usually the ones that cause the most hurtful piercing. As kids, most of us have done it to our parents over various things. Many times, our parents could see the end result of our actions before it happened because of their life experience. Try as they might, they could not convince us in spite of their wisdom. In the end, we suffered a severe, piercing, heartache, because we failed to heed wise counsel.

There have been times I have lost a relationship with a friend that was dear to me and nothing I could do or say seemed to make a difference. You try to move on but it is like a brier in your shoe; you may still be able to walk, but it hurts a little more with every step. I once knew a young man whose girlfriend has ended their relationship. He admitted that he spent over two years thinking the next phone call would be her, only to get disappointed each time. The sad part is; how much joy might he have missed out on by refusing to accept God’s grace. I call it “Elijah Syndrome.” That’s when you get to wallowing in self-pity and refuse to be comforted.

Just as Mary was there at the cross, sometimes there is nothing we can do or say to change the outcome of our situation. Even though we don’t want it and definitely can’t understand it, the pain and the piercing of our soul are the end result. There is an old saying that says; “time heals all wounds.” I personally have found that not to be true. Time eventually makes things a little easier to live with but some wounds never heal. Wounds also leave scars and some scars are often always visible and never fade completely away.

We have an obligation as Christians to display the effects of the grace of God in our lives so that others may see his goodness. Hebrews 12:15 says, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled…” When those times of a piercing sword come to our lives, we must be careful to not get bitter toward the Lord or about our situation. If we do, we diminish the effects that his grace can have in our lives. Not only did God tell Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for thee,” he also went on to explain why. “For my strength is made perfect in weakness.” God knows that we are hurting and weak when those piercing swords come, and the weaker we are, the greater his strength is. Have you ever wondered if the man who fell among thieves on the Jericho road had have been conscious and strong, would he have refused the grace of that good Samaritan who was hated by the Jews? He was so weak and injured that he didn’t care where his help came from as long as he got help. If we would only submit ourselves to God in those piercing times, what great grace he would manifest in our lives. The scars might remain but we could have our wounds healed. By the way, this is all easy to preach or write about, but always a lot harder to put into practice. Accept God’s grace. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!


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