The Incense of Agony

July 18, 2018

“And being in agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground.”  Luke 22:44  KJV.

Just recently I received a mortal blow to my heart.  The sensation felt like my heart was hit with enemy rounds.  I stood there shocked.  I could not move.  I sat down and I began to weep.  Then it was that my heart became like the rock that Moses struck twice, and the waters gushed forth like a river in a barren desert.

This took me down to my utter core of great pain, and all I could do was nothing.  All strength left my body and I was weakened.  Only involuntary waves of tears and crying overwhelmed me and all I could do was sit there.

I felt those words of Nehemiah became my own.

“And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down, and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.”  Nehemiah 1:4  KJV.

This is exactly in order of how my mind, then heart, then body absorbed it in that order.  You see there are certain blows we are going to take in this life, and they are one’s that make us fall down upon the ground.

When I heard these painful words spoken to me, I did “sit down, and I wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted.”

It felt that this was a process for me to get to that place where I was able to “pray before the God of heaven.”  The crushing of my heart, was nothing short of what the incense took in the temple during the days of the Priests who were ordered to “beat the incense small.”

The incense after being beaten became was greatly reduced in size, until it was a hard, solid brick.  Not to mention part of that beating process was to rid the impurities out of it as well.  Then when fire was put to it, gave off much more of a very heavy, thick pungent aroma; and it burned many hours longer.

There is something about the prayers that come out of a beaten heart.  They are not the same and they are sacred.  The aroma of them is of a higher quality and purity.  This is where we touch not the hem of His garment, but His very heart.  For He was beaten for you and me, “When His soul was made an offering for sin.” Isaiah 53:10 KJV.

I lay in bed last night wide awake and silent.  My heart was unusually peaceful in light of the grief, and the atmosphere clear.  I then heard these words….“And being in agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground.”

I arose “a great while before the day, and went out into a solitary place and there prayed.”  I was then able to release my spirit to the one Who gave it to me.  I wept before Him from the deep, and a quietness came over me.  There is something that happens to our hearts when it takes on a blow to great for it to handle.

The greater the agony, the greater the sweat of grief, the more of a very thick, heavy, pungent aroma burns long upwards towards the place of His glorious throne.  I cannot understand it, but I can certainly say, that it is in times like these that everything I was worrying about before, the bills, the deadlines, the multitudinous things, became nothing and meant nothing, and were seen in a completely different light.  That they are nothing to in comparison to those we love.

Because when we are taken down and go through that process, when all in the world has lost it’s incessant demands and worries, then are we in power though it might not feel like it.

The praying in agony, produces something that enters into the holiest place of all, in the temple in heavenly places more than any other prayers we can pray.

We then cast off everything in the sea like Paul the Apostle did with the 200 plus men in the ship about to be wrecked.  The tackling went first, next the wheat, then those who could swim, and finally the rest cast themselves “on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.”  Acts Chapter 27.

When there is nothing left except the love of those you love more than yourself, everything that held value before instantaneously loses all value.  Only a bravery begins, and the real prayer enters in through the gates of mercy like an officer in the courts of heaven.

Love has conquering power, and it is a potent force ushered from heaven.  I think we can never pray for those that we love other than when we are crushed and in despair over their lives.  Then are our hearts beaten small like those bricks of incense of old, to be then placed upon the altar of incense to give off the most pungent of offerings to God.

This pain is the pain Jesus Christ, and our Father in heaven experience always.  I think this kind of great pain changes who we are, and shapes these old vessels, when Christ finally brings us out of it at last.

Some will be brought out of it in this life time, while others will have their relief when they enter into the upper glories of heaven.

If you are going through a time a deep grief, and agony.  You are never nearer to the very heart of God your Father, and your Savior Jesus Christ than ever.  THIS is where you lean on His breast for comfort, and you will hear His heart beat with love for you.  All you have to do is lean in.

“Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm, for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals of fire which hath a most vehement flame.” Solomon’s Song – 8:6.  KJV.

Joanie Stahl
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