Patti Holcomb Thompson
THE FRAGRANCE OF SUFFERING
While awakening from a nap, I saw Christ on the cross. He was as we often see renderings of him from various artists. He was bruised, beaten, bleeding and disfigured.
The Holy Spirit drew my attention to the crown of thorns upon his head.
I could see the thorns pressed into his scalp and the blood flowing from the puncture wounds. As I pondered the crown it turned into a ring of fragrant flowers. The thorns were no longer visible, only a ring of beautiful and perfumed flowers could be seen. And the drops of blood that were falling became drops of fragrant oil that flowed from his head to his brow, to his beard and then to his body.
I heard the words: “The Fragrance of Suffering”.
The words referred to Christ’s suffering, initially. When a shepherd applies oil to a wound, he does so that the wound may heal. It is a type of medicine applied to an open wound. The fragrant oil that was flowing from Christ’s head was a healing oil that gave off the loveliest perfume into the atmosphere.
In a flash, I also saw people who bore wounds. They were deep and crushing to the person. And I saw that those wounds could also be transformed to flower crowns that gave off dripping, healing, perfumed oil. I saw that human suffering could be transformed, just as Christ’s was/is. Our own horrible suffering can be transformed, with our permission, into healing anointed oil for ourselves and others. I did not see that giving permission for this transformation lessened the suffering immediately. But it did transform the suffering from a useless state of misery into a healing stream. But it required permission from the person who was suffering. One had to allow the Holy Spirit to transform the violence into a healing balm for others, and for self.
We are often taught to yield our talents, our thoughts, our future to the work of Christ so that we might be used to further the Kingdom of God. But in this I saw that we were also being asked to yield our sufferings. It seemed as if the suffering itself was what the Holy Spirit wanted to use…even while we were in the state of suffering. There was something private, very personal, very holy in allowing the Holy Spirit to have our painful sufferings.
“Yes, you may use my sufferings however you wish.” This was the answer that heaven was asking for.