“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12
The Bible teaches us that pain is a certainty in life. It is unrealistic for us to expect or even hope for a life that does not involve pain. I do not totally understand pain nor do I claim to have reconciled pain completely with my understanding of God. By faith I understand my way through it-or I should say, by faith God sees me through it.
Pain is a high mystery. I am also convinced that pain is never a neutral experience. It either deforms you or it transforms you-it never leaves you the same. Suffering is both teacher and torturer. Its lasting effect on us becomes our choice. Scripture tells us that Jesus was a student in the school of pain and so are we.
“Though he was God's Son, he learned trusting- obedience by what he suffered, just as we do.” Hebrews 5:8 (MSG)
Nothing teaches with such precision and clarity like the sharp sting of pain. It is true that many of us will not learn and grow apart from pain. A divorce that opens the eyes to the value of real love-but only after it is lost. An abrupt firing that finally shows us we are difficult and stubborn. A public moral failure that at last humbles ushering in grace that before could not reach us because of our persistent independence and pride. Lessons like these and a world of others are made possible only through pain.
I am no stranger to pain I assure you. The last three years of my life are marked by painful loss, betrayals, and damage to my God-given dreams. My question is what is the effect? Am I more of a reflection now of the Image of God? Am I becoming more like Jesus? Do I trust God more as a result of my pain or less? Am I bitter or am I better? I like to think that I am growing but I cannot see myself the way that others do-the way that God does. They/He can be the judge. I can only agree with this:
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son.” Rom. 8:28-29 (NIV)
May your pain work to better your life.
May you choose to believe your way forward.
May you trust until you are better.