Thankful for the Pain

Thankfulness and pain are two things that I am not very good at. But I am learning. I am learning that sometimes pain is helpful, sometimes it is necessary. I’m also learning to be thankful for the pain. 

Pain forces me to stop and take a look at life. It forces me to search out the source of that pain and address it. I’m also learning that sometime I can be stubborn, if the emotional pain isn’t enough to stop me, then sometimes God sends physical pain. Physical pain is harder to ignore, stuff, or avoid. There are so many ways that people avoid pain. I personally like to bury it under piles and piles of stuff. If I fill my life with stuff, business and other such things I feel like I’ve got some control over it. I know it’s there. I’m not running from it. But I have some control over it because it can’t get away on me. But somehow it always manages to wiggle it’s way through all the stuff and emerge demanding to be dealt with. 

Sometimes I run away from it. I pretend it’s not there. I tell myself “well it’s not that bad” or “it could have been worse” or, and this is the tricky one, “I should just be thankful…” This one is tricky because it looks as is I am choosing to be content and thankful. I think many people feel that this is a healthy response to pain. “Just be thankful” But I’m discovering that this attitude of “just be…” is another form of denying the pain. I have learned to be thankful for certain pains in my life and even certain painful situations. But it wasn’t through willing myself to be thankful, it was through feeling that pain, grieving the loss and getting to a place where I could see God’s hand in it all. 

Please keep this in mind when comforting someone who is grieving. Please don’t tell them to be thankful, please don’t tell them they “just” need to do anything. If you truly want to comfort someone, sit with them in their pain. Allow them to grieve it. Please do not encourage them to deny it by stuffing it somewhere or burying it under something.  Because no matter if we’ve buried it or run from it, I think God gives our pain arms and legs to climb out of whatever box we put it in so that it can follow us until we face it. 

The blessing of pain: Without it I would not realize that things need to change. I would continue on in life hurting myself and others without stopping to question my actions. 

But sometimes our pain is not the result of our actions. Sometimes it is the result of someone or something else. So should I be thankful for that pain? Yes, because when I stop ignoring it, walk into it, and allow myself to feel it, that is when I find healing.  And isn’t that what we really need? Often we think we need to understand the pain or control the pain. But often there is nothing to be done for it. This is something I struggle with. I am a “do-er”. I like to do things to fix, solve, manage, understand or control a situation. But all too often there really is nothing to be done. Often the source of our pain is simply something that needs to be accepted. 

I don’t like this, but I am learning to accept it. Maybe one day I will be thankful for it. This scripture has helped me to accept the things I cannot understand.

Proverbs 3New Living Translation (NLT) 5b-8

    Do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
    Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
    and strength for your bones.

Christmas is around the corner. And frankly, this is a source of pain for me. We like to paint pictures of jolly characters and perfect Christmas dinners; bright lights and shiny presents. But often that is not what Christmas feels like.

And why should it? 

Christmas is about our Creator who sent His Beloved to a broken world to die. If there was ever anything that didn’t make sense, 
this is it!

Christmas is a time of Joy, Peace and Love, YES! But is is also a time of sorrow for our broken world, a time for tears for the loss of innocence, and of grieving the pains that we all feel. Because then, once we have grieved these pains, then we will fully experience, joy, peace, love, and healing!

So today, when pain hits, I allow myself to feel it. I thank God for His perfect plan that is beyond my understanding and I ask Him, which path to take that will lead to healing.