I hate pain. Emotional pain. Physical pain. Relational pain. Family pain. When I am in the gym, I know pain in my muscles will help me, but I tend to balk when it gets too fierce. Any kind of pain I usually avoid. But as I have contemplated pain recently, here are a few things I am trying to learn.
First, pain is a great teacher. When pain hits our life in whatever form, it gets our attention. It stops us and shocks us. It forces us to examine our lives and deal with our perspectives. It causes us to assess and reassess what we are doing, what we shouldn't be doing, and how we can make changes in our life. Pain needs to teach us because we underestimate our need to grow and we have the fatal tendency of taking things for granted.
Second, pain can be a sign of God's love. Yes, you read that correctly. Hebrews 12 says, "God disciplines those he loves." I'm not saying every painful experience you go through is God's chastisement, but if God is chastening you, it is a sign that He loves you.
Third, don't waste your pain. I'm so disappointed how often I have allowed self-pity, selfishness, and a "woe-is-me" attitude cause me to waste some of the pain God is using to teach me. Thankfully, God wastes no pain I am experiencing, and He measures out what He gives to us. He will never give us too much (though it doesn't feel like it), and He will release the trial when we have learned what He desires. Let's learn in God's gymnasium what He desires and not waste our pain.
Fourth, pain makes you more useful to God and others. God is using pain in your life so that you will be more useful to others. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, it says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." The pain you experience will one day be used to comfort others.
Fifth, pain helps you know Christ better. I would not have known more of God's love and sympathy if I hadn't gone through the fires of difficult circumstances. In Hebrews 4:15, it says, "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses." How encouraging to know God sympathizes with us? He has been there and wants you to know He cares for every pain you go through. Every one! Pain is often the pathway to knowing your Savior better and loving Him deeper.
Sixth, embrace the pain. Yes, I know that is a dangerous prospect, but may I encourage you to embrace the pain in your life? I'm not saying you have to like the pain, but God is using it. It may not be apparent how, but make sure you know God is using it since He causes all things to work together for good (Rom. 8:28). The sooner you embrace what He is doing, the better you will be able to deal with the hurts you are feeling. One way you know you are embracing it is by being thankful (probably the opposite of what we are feeling) to God knowing that amidst the heartache and pain, He has a bigger plan He is working out in your life. Ephesians 2:10 says, "He has good works He has prepared in advance for us to do." Part of your effectiveness at doing those good works is experiencing the pain He directs. I am with you, my friend.
Seventh, pain will one day be over. One day, we will never experience any more pain! The physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological pain will one day be vanquished when we're ushered into heaven. In Revelation 21:4, God says, "He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or PAIN; the first things have passed away." Marvelous. Aim at that idea. The end of pain is coming! Until then, may you know more of His grace and embrace your loving Savior, Jesus Christ.
Thank you for joining me! I partner with parents and encourage and train kids and teens, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, academically, and athletically to help them develop the strengths and champion in their life. If you would like more information about how I might help your teen athlete or how life coaching works, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. If you are looking for encouragement and a tool to refresh your soul, check out my 52-week devotional, Refuel Your Soul. You can order it by clicking HERE.
P.S.S. Want more of Life Is Relationships? See past articles by clicking HERE.
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