Responding to Pain

It has been said,

"...man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward"
Job 5:7 

No matter how hard we try, no matter how much faith we have, in this life we are going to have to deal with adversity.  Sooner or later trouble comes to us all.

For some of us trouble is nothing more serious than a broken relationship, or a business deal that goes bad, or a stint of unemployment.  Others experience trouble of a more grievous nature.  A mother loses a child.  A father’s firstborn, a son, ends up in prison.  A wife early in her marriage discovers that her husband is an abuser.  Now she lives in terror, fearing for her safety and the safety of her children.

Faced with life's inevitable tragedies we have three choices.  We can curse life for doing this to us and look for some way to express our grief and rage.  Secondly, we can grit our teeth and endure it.  Or we can accept it.  The first alternative is useless.  The second is sterile and exhausting.  The third is the only way.

Acceptance is not resignation.  Resignation says, "Whatever will be will be."  But acceptance, which believes for a miracle even as it accepts the harsh reality of the present difficulty.  Acceptance does not demand a predetermined conclusion; rather it leaves the nature of the miracle to the wisdom of God.  That miracle may come in the form of divine intervention in the circumstances of life.  Or it may come as a miracle in our spirit, enabling us to make peace with our pain, to see it as an ally rather than an enemy.

T. J.  Watson, the president of IBM, once gave a struggling writer some sound advice.  He told him,

"You're making a common mistake.  You're thinking of failure as the enemy of success.  But it isn't that at all.  Failure is a teacher -- a harsh one, perhaps, but the best.  You say you have a desk full of rejected manuscripts?  That's great!  Every one of those manuscripts was rejected for a reason.  Have you pulled them to pieces looking for that reason?  You've got to put failure to work for you.  You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it.”
T. J.  Watson

What a thought!  We can learn from every tragic experience.  It need not destroy us.  This pain, this awful, unrelenting pain, could be made an ally.  Yes, pain is a harsh teacher, but that very harshness sensitizes us to lessons we might otherwise have never learned.

Maybe you are in the midst of a painfully difficult situation right now.  Maybe fear and anger have pushed you to the point of despair.  Perhaps you're ready to give up. Don't give up!  Instead, make peace with your pain.  Learn from it.  Ask God to use it to make you into the person He has called you to be. He has not forsaken you.  He still has plans for your life. As Jeremiah 29:11 says, "...plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Terry Crigger

Terry is a husband to Cindy, dad to Ashley and Haley (and Austin), and papa to Rya, Sophia, and Stella. He has served as the Senior Pastor of Christ's Chapel for over 25 years.