The Blessing of Pain?
A favored quote from the Princess Bride:
“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
There is a lot of pain in the world, even as there is a lot of beauty in the world. There is no way to doubt that, and we can only deny it so long. Occasionally, we get a glimpse of something that is both, tied in a paradox that can be enjoyed and suffered through.
But let’s be honest – most pain sucks!
Rarely, do we see the beauty in pain, the glory of God revealed in trauma. It is very difficult, for the pain grabs our focus. It dominates us, it pushes us down, and yes it causes us to doubt. To doubt those around us, to doubt ourselves, to doubt God.
Yeah – it’s time to stop playing games – because of the levels of pain, it causes us to doubt God.
Even pastors, perhaps especially pastors.
Even apostles – hear how God had Paul reveal that in his own life.
4:7 Yet we who have this spiritual treasure are like common clay pots, in order to show that the supreme power belongs to God, not to us. 8 We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; 9 there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed. 10 At all times we carry in our mortal bodies the death of Jesus, so that his life also may be seen in our bodies. 11 Throughout our lives we are always in danger of death for Jesus’ sake, in order that his life may be seen in this mortal body of ours. 12 This means that death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (TEV)
While I know I exaggerate the pain I have to endure, these words of Paul so incredibly describe some days I have. It can be my pain, but often it’s the pain that people I walk alongside develop. The pain endured by people struggling with the loss of a spouse, or losing a parent. The people who are dealing with job sresses, or dysfunctional family members and dysfunctional families. The pain due to lack of trust, the pain of betrayal, the pain of opposition as we try to bless those opposed to us.
As we are troubled, as we doubt, as we deal with enemies, as we are “badly hurt”, how can we say this can be what this same Paul promises (speaking for God) that “all things work for good, for those who love God?”
The ability to endure such times, is to know the difference comes from seeing, knowing the relationship we have with the God. TO begin to grasp the life that is united with Christ’s cross, which happened to us in baptism (see Romans 6:1-8)
Knowing that we endure in Christ (scripture talks about us as being hidden in Christ as well) we begin to look to Him in the midst of trauma, in the midst of pain. We find His presence, and we find it very dear – even when we can’t see the fulfillment of the prophecies, when we can’t find the joy in the journey.
But we begin to trust, even in the midst our doubt – ever more and more, His presence. We realize our pain can cause us to run to God, as we look to Him for some hope, some sense of peace… and that is when the miracle occurs…. Like the disciples in the boat, we realize the Lord is with us… and the storms don’t die down, the pain doesn’t always diminish. But God’s presence becomes the dominant part of our life, not the pain… we begin to find ourselves ministering to others when they observe the pain..we find our spiritual senses more attuned, and eventually trying to praise God ….for in the midst of lament, we find some of the most honest, most dependent worship there is….
And that is when pain….becomes a blessing.
When we realize HE IS HERE… when we realize the Holy Spirit is called the “comforter”, the One who comes alongside, for a reason…
HE IS HERE!
And that is more than enough…. even though we can never explain how….
Posted on September 25, 2012, in Devotions and tagged blessing, Jesus, pain, paraclete, Presence, presence of god, problem of suffering, suffering, the Comforter. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.