I don’t know about you but I’m not exactly a fan of pain. It doesn’t excite me in the slightest to think about going through pain. I’m due to have a baby in a couple of months and the thought of labor isn’t giving me any thrills. However, I can imagine the joy of meeting our new little one after my “labor of love”. I was thinking about this today and it hit me that sometimes God uses our pain to bring amazing blessings into our lives. What does this look like in life?
Pain quite frankly stinks. Whether its mental or physical pain we all probably go to great lengths to avoid it. For some people this can take on the form of drug and alcohol abuse or an addiction to changing spouses and friends when it gets painful. We can all most likely relate with a tendency to run away from pain. But is this healthy and what God really intends for us?
I believe most often the answer is no. For example, what if there was no pain when we broke our leg? Would we continue to walk (or try to walk) on it? I know a lot of people who would. Its why we take cold medicines like candy. We don’t want to be slowed down by a definite need for rest and healing. We feel the same way in relationships (at least I know this is my tendency) when we would much rather gloss over a problem or pull away from it then deal with it.
However, just like a broken leg hurts really badly and signals to our bodies to stop, a hurting heart should signal us to stop and pray. I know this has been the case with me many times. Without the pain, I would have kept right on going my way. But God sometimes uses the pain to stop us and turn us back into his way. If there were no pain in labor, would we even know the time for the baby’s arrival was approaching? If there were no pain in this life would we ever long for a new home prepared by Jesus?
I can think of many instances in the Bible where pain brought amazing blessings (after the pain). First off, there are lots of examples of childbirth, which we know is painful. But the Bible says as soon as the child is delivered the pain is forgotten for joy! And that pretty much sums that up. The Israelites had to go through the pain of slavery to bring them to repentance and eventually the Promised Land. Sarah had to go through the pain of infertility for years until finally God blessed her with a child. In the New Testament Mary had to go through pain (and most likely) rejection (because of her unmarried pregnancy) to bring our Savior into the world. Then Jesus went through unbelievable amounts of physical and mental pain to die for our sins. John the Baptist also had a very short life that ended quite painfully and dramatically. The disciples were put into prison, beaten, beheaded, rejected and Paul says “I reckon that this present suffering isn’t even worthy to be mentioned, in light of the glory that awaits me.”
What if we had that outlook? The one that says “give thanks in everything”. I don’t necessarily believe that it means give thanks FOR everything, but IN everything. We can find blessings in our pain if we look at them with truly thankful hearts.
So, how about you? Has pain driven you closer to the Savior or further away? How has God used pain in your life to bring blessings?