Pain can easily distract us from God. It isn’t commonly seen as a ‘help’ in our relationship with God. It can keep us from serving, from loving, and from worshiping. And sometimes, I have half a mind to give in and let it. It is so strong sometimes, so all encompassing, I don’t have the strength or the stamina to push the pain to the peripheral.
And maybe we shouldn’t actually disregard our pain so much.
A World of Pain
Pain is real. It is strong, and vibrant, and excruciating.
And I used to think pain was incompatible with Christian living.
When my pain flares, my self-focus blinders go on and it’s hard for me to worship God, serve others, and love as Jesus loved.
I imagined the only way to worship, serve, and love was in a bright, pain-free vacuum, but I was wrong.
That vacuum doesn’t exist here on earth. Everyone lives with some level of pain.
How Pain Can Help
Pain isn’t fun, as you’re well aware, and our default reactions range from anger to self pity to selfishness to pride. But Jesus intends for very few, if any, of our default reactions and impulses to stay exactly the way they are. He wants to teach us a new way. He wants to teach us more about worship, service, and love than we could learn in a pain-free existence.[Related Post: An Unnatural Reaction to Pain]
Pain is the Common Human Experience. So what if there was a different way to react to the pain? What if there was a way to take the pain and, instead of reacting on default we could convert our pain into worship, service, and love?
I think it is possible, and I think it is an important part of each of our journeys with Jesus.
So, what if?
What if pain led us to turn to God and remember his character. Or his faithfulness, or his power?
What if pain led us to cling to God’s word and sing songs of hope and freedom?
What if pain led us to prayerfully seek nonstandard service opportunities in our homes, churches, and neighborhoods? You and I may not be able to serve in traditional ways, but service is still possible.
What if pain birthed an empathy in us for others, unmatched by people with less experience with pain.
What if we prayerfully took it to Jesus and invited him to teach us how he’d like us to react to our pain?
Yes indeed, what if?
I rather think that’s a prayer Jesus is longing to answer in my own life. What about yours?
Now I’m curious! What has been an aid to you to help you turn to God in the midst of your pain?
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