I hate pain! Any kind of pain is awful. Physical pain can be debilitating, but there is something about an inner ache that can be far worse. The pain I am referring to is internal pain, emotional pain or what we often call heartache. If you are reading this devotional then you have experienced some type of internal pain. There are some of you reading this that may have experienced more heartache than you thought possible. And the question shouting out amidst all that pain, demanding an answer is: What is the purpose of pain? It is a fair question, but there is no easy answer.
I have spent many hours this past week writing so that my manuscript can be submitted to my publisher by October. I have found myself going down the corridors of my mind, picking off scabs and opening old wounds. In many ways it has been a painful process as memories, some happy and others not, have come to the surface again. Memory is a gift. It allows us to reflect on the past and make wise choices for the future. One moment it fill our hearts with warmth and the next with sadness. Even painful memories serve a purpose in our lives because without them we would be less than human.
As I have reflected this past week and penned my thoughts let me share some of them with you.
1. Pain is not a normal state: A life filled with continual pain is not the norm and I do not believe God ever intended it to be so. However, there are times when pain does serve a purpose. Pain reveals that something is wrong and because of that we have to respond in some way or other to our pain. Responding to pain is human. Your first response may be anger or tears or regret and sorrow. That is good because it expresses your humanity. Holding pain in and not allowing some type of release or response is not good for your physical or mental well being. Do not try to be brave – allow your broken heart release!
2. God is always with us in our pain: When our son Jay had his accident I went through the darkest hours of my existence as his sick body hovered between life and death. I have never felt such desperation before or since. But God shouted at me through my pain revealing His love through people – friends and family from all around the word displayed God’s love to us in our darkest moments. I look back and see His fingerprints in every detail of that awful time. Don’t push God away when you are in pain, allow Him to walk with you through your dark night.
3. Pain reveals my humanity: I would never have known the anguish of pain for my son if I had not experienced the intense love I had for him. It is because I loved so deeply that I grieved so profoundly. And in that sense pain is a gift because if I had not known love, I would never have known pain. Truth be told, my life is richer because of the ability to love so deeply. Can you imagine not feeling pain when there is loss? My pain exposes my humanity and my capacity to love. If I have never known pain then I have never known love. My humanity would be diminished without love and pain.
4. Pain taught me lessons I would never have learned elsewhere: I learned that life is short and the people I love can be snatched away in a moment. Our days are numbered, and truth be told, none of us know when our time will come to breathe our final breath. And so it is, that as a family we value each moment we have with each other. We don’t think you can ever say, “I love you!” enough. Each and every moment with each other is a gift so extraordinary and beautiful that somehow, there will always be joy emanating from a memory of deep pain! Pain taught me to seize each moment!
If your heart is aching and you are wondering if you will ever smile again, be assured that the darkness will pass and the sun will shine again. The Bible assures us; “Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Your morning will come, but until then allow God to hold your Hand and see you through this season. Whether your pain is from a broken relationship, the death of a loved one, a difficult marriage or a child gone astray, God will uphold you. The intensity of your pain will pass, the dawn will come and when the sun rises I assure you its beauty will be more astounding because of the darkness of your night. Be blessed, you are special and God loves you!
I am and always will be,
Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,