I watched a sad movie awhile back called, The Fault in Our Stars. It was great but good Lord, bring you one of those carry in your pocket tissue packets.
This past year, I went through my own personal pain—both physically and emotionally, and now by the grace of God (and a good doctor), I find my pain to be very minimal. Hopefully, it stays this way? I mean, was it as simple as new medication? Why couldn’t this have been done for me in Colorado? Why didn’t my previous doctor care for me and examine me as deeply as my new doctor did? Before, there were days I could barely move properly without feeling intense pain anywhere– even after taking medicine and changing my life style. There was definitely a purpose, but it was as if the pain wasn’t going to leave until it taught me something. I finally feel like I’ve walked out of my own little tunnel with minor injuries, just enough to never let me forget that pain—demands to be felt—but, to also be learned from. It was more an emotional learning for me than anything.
Internal, emotional pain– it sucks doesn’t it? I don’t have all the answers as to why we go through pain, but I do know that God is there . . . and He says these things:
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10) and, “I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord” (Isaiah 66:9) and that there is a time for just about everything read in Ecclesiastes (Chapter 3: 1-8).
We all know that emotional pain can stem from just about anything: broken hearts, lost loved ones, abandoned children, death, diseases, war . . . I could indefinitely go on. Does pain stop once it’s taught us something? I haven’t the slightest clue, because sometimes it’s as if certain pain is curable and sometimes the pain is forever. Pain is so darn confusing sometimes. I didn’t think I’d wake up today having to answer a 4-th graders question, “So, are we at war with ISIS?” Not knowing if his parents talk to him about this or not, I proceeded with caution and answered the best way I could. All the while, I’m thinking about the ISIS articles I had just read about parents being held at gunshot while their children had just been snatched from their grip on a bus.
And then, pain demanded to be felt. I just swallowed and closed my eyes while my mind wandered to different things: ISIS killing dozens of people all at once, flashes of children’s eyes filled with fear, our soldiers fighting for our freedom, and then back to the sweet kid in front of me whose mother was on his way to pick him up. It’s painful because though you realize just how fortunate you are, you think about the ones who are not and there’s just no certain way to . . . justify it? That’s the best word I can come up with. But then . . . my heart fills with a hope that is only found in the grace and love of the One who says, “For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them,” (Isaiah 61:8) and, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12). We can do that. In the midst of our pain, we can be patient and prayerful to God, and have all the hope in the world that He is at work in our lives and in the world.
The truth is pain is inevitable. And sometimes, it demands to be felt and no matter how hard we try to suppress it or even ignore it by using chemicals from pills or alcoholic drinks or comfort food, it will always come back. We might as well confront the pain, go through the pain, learn from the pain, and always, always keep the hope, because in the end (no matter what pain we go through) God always wins–and He’s the good guy.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).