I certainly see this is true in my life – an unexpected phone call, a surprising decision, a parking ticket, a dispute between leaders, mediating problems, an offense threatens, the weight of my own burdens compounded with the weight of the burdens of others… Rarely, if ever do we deal with one blow at a time.
I recently heard this phrase from our friend Justin Tarsiuk. His point was that life rarely deals us one fatal blow, but death by a thousand cuts. Obviously, the idea resonated with me.
The phrase is coined from a form of torture, lingchi (which means “slow slicing”), that took place in China from approximately 900 AD until 1904 when it was abolished, thank God. Its a miserable way to die – tied to a wooden frame and literally sliced to death.
It makes me think of the soul. We have a real enemy who hates us because he deals in death and loathes life. He would like nothing more than to tie our souls in silence and shame us in mental slices until we cave into lies and worse, become them.
Saturday, we spent the morning on Skid Row. I can’t seem to go on the streets these days without some sort of attack – verbal and the like. Our team began to unload equipment and supplies for the homeless. Just walking, a man got an inch from my face and spouted off attack after attack. I knew better than to blame the man. I am well aware of my enemy… and His.
His weaponry is smoke and mirrors, while ours is love and light.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” In the midst of attacks, we have to remember our shadowy, deceptive enemy and know our shining, unchanging, unfailing God.
No matter our struggle-physical, relational, financial, mental, spiritual, we can all relate to the desperate need we have for help, for salvation, for freedom. Pain is a universal language. It levels the playing field. No one is exempt.
And none of us are exempt from choice. If we are to flourish on this side of heaven and if pain passes over no one, then we must decide on joy in the midst of our pain. We must lead others with our choice that they may experience the strength gained in choosing joy.
“Sorrow enlarges the capacity of the heart for joy” Richard Mayhew