Ultimate Joy

Never Left Alone Holding the Pain

Posted on: June 3, 2012

The other day, I was assigned to “control the dog” so my husband could paint our dining room. My trusty canine and I banished ourselves to the upstairs bedroom, where I watched two episodes of one of my guilty pleasures on television. Because it was the long holiday weekend, the channel showed episode back to back to back. Normally funny, the two episodes I watched drove me to tears.

In both, two young brides faced heart-wrenching decisions. One’s fiancé was recently diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) while the other was just one day out of the hospital recovering from a random act of violence that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Both planned to go ahead with their weddings and when they cried on television, I cried right along with them. 

I cried, I kept telling myself, because I felt their pain. But stripped down to its smallest part, I had no idea the deep torment they were facing. I’ve never been in those situations, though I have felt the pain of knowing life isn’t going to work out the way I planned it to be.

The experience left me wishing  I understood pain more than I do. Not to experience it more, but to understand it. Pain doesn’t make sense to me. Oh, I’ve heard the story that pain is a product of The Fall; it came from Adam and Eve’s failure to stay away from the apple. But when you are in the midst of it – when life is defined by the pain as it is for those two young brides – those aren’t the words you want to hear.

In my previous blog posting, Clouds, I mentioned that God reveals Himself more to us in our pain than in the pleasurable moments in our lives. This is a mystery that unfolds throughout our lives.

I thought about how many times I’ve walked beside a friend in the throes of terrible grief while I yearned to make them feel better.

How different that is from God! He uses pain to make us better; stronger in character, joyful in our dependence on Him, mature in our faith. Psalm 58:6 states that God collects every tear we shed in His bottle. Our pain grieves Him so much He records our tears, each and every one of them.  He does not take pain and our resulting tears lightly.

Life is about the hard work of overcoming pain, getting stuck, being confused, but holding on dearly to our Creator’s hand so that we finish well. There are spiritual implications to pain – using it as opportunities for transformation to overcome fear, self-sabotage and failure.

I don’t want more pain in my life, nor do I wish it for anyone else. Yet when it strikes, I know in the loneliness, the craziness and the heartache, my God holds my hand through it. Yours, also. For He understands your pain because He experienced pain Himself. He sees the hard work you do in the midst of pain. He values it and He values you!

Pain is messy, but when we cling to God to overcome it, His goodness and love permeates it. He never leaves us alone holding the pain.

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