Leading worship during our service last weekend, I was singing a familiar praise song entitled "Blessed Be Your Name." You will probably be able to hum along as you read the verse printed below:
Blessed be Your Name when the sun's shining down on me and the world's all as it should be, blessed be Your Name.
And blessed be Your Name on the road marked with suffering, though there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your Name
I've sung it hundreds of times - and I've often even paused before I sang that verse, to think more deeply about what I was singing. But last Shabbat the words struck a very deep chord. What is the road marked with suffering? What does it mean to have pain in your offering?
The year 2016 will be remembered by me as the "Year of Pain in The Offering." I've written about it before - how many times this past year John and I have put our lives on hold and poured out all we had, doing all we knew to do, to try to bring someone healing or deliverance or a desperately needed change - and sadly, in each of these situations, our efforts were rejected and the healing didn't happen.
"What are you teaching us, Lord?" I begged him to reveal. There was a very powerful teaching by our friend Cole Davis on Friday night. He taught about pain. He exhorted us to remember that not everyone Yeshua reached out to received Him either! So we begin to identify with Him more closely. My favorite scripture is one that usually gets quoted only in the first half. Philippians 3:10: "I want to know Messiah and the power of His resurrection....." (Often the "motivational speaker stops right there). But the verse continues...."and the fellowship of His SUFFERING, being conformed to His death."
The fellowship of His suffering. That's that "road marked with suffering." The narrow path. The one nobody really wants to take, because it will be so much harder and it will hurt.
I asked Him again, "What are you teaching me?" This time I heard the Voice of the Spirit say, "Look at Mary, when she poured the costly oil on the feet of Yeshua. There was pain in her offering."
"Pain, Lord? Do you mean because it cost her so much?"
"No," He replied. "Because she was anointing Him for burial. She was sharing in the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death. And then she was chastised for it."
I remembered the story in Matthew 26. She was chastised by some of the disciples - and yet Yeshua rebuked them and made an astonishing statement. "Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
I really began to get it. It's never about me. It's always about Him, no matter whom we are serving and no matter how they respond. I open my alabaster box and pour out pain in the offering, and my Master is pleased.
Blessed be Your Name on the road marked with suffering,
though there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your Name
Kelly Ferrari Mills