I’ve been thinking about pain quite a bit this past week, probably because I’m in the midst of it at the moment! My close friends and family know that I have been to the National Migraine Clinic (NMC) in London. Before they can treat the migraines I need to take a 12 week break from all my painkillers. This is proving difficult as I also rely on painkillers most days to manage & tolerate the muscle pain caused by M.E. The leg pain in particular has been almost unbearable, sitting, laying on the sofa, in bed, heat treatment, massage mat; none of these things have provided me with much relief.
We all experience pain in our lives, the cause of it will be different, the intensity of it varies, but pain is still pain and it hurts! I don’t enjoy pain and I don’t seek it out, however, God is teaching me that there is blessing in pain. It’s my experience of this that I want to share with you today that you may be encouraged and blessed too.
Although I am learning to see there is blessing in the pain I need to be honest with you, I still pray to be released from the pain and the pain still reduces me to tears at times.
I read the following sentence from one of the factsheets from the NMC: “Nature has provided us with the ability to feel pain so that we can protect ourselves from further injury”. I’d like to re-phrase that, but you will need to read on to understand exactly what I mean. God has provided us with the ability to feel pain for our good. A few years back my son, Josh, decided not to listen to me when I told him not to touch the iron because it was hot and it would hurt him. He touched it and, of course, experienced pain. That pain was good for him – it has stopped him from making the same mistake again by touching the iron when it is hot and causing himself more injury.
So then, here goes, the blessing of my pain:
1. Your response to pain can either draw you away from God or draw you closer to God. God, in his grace, is drawing me to him. I am experiencing his presence with me in my pain in such a way which I would probably not know otherwise. I seek him more, whereas sometimes I can have the tendency when all is well to carry out my life without that same level of awareness of him. I am so blessed right now to have him speak to me so much through his word, giving me encouragement, comfort and hope. “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4a. (NLT)
2. In my pain I lean on him, I am all too aware at the moment of my weakness, my inability to do much, and because of it am all the more aware of his strength and his grace. As I lean on him he enables me to endure. My pain reminds me that I am not self-sufficient, that God doesn’t expect me to do things in my own strength. Whereas I would usually rely on painkillers, I now turn to him. He is my rock and my fortress, the one I can depend on.
3. Experiencing pain helps me understand that earth is not my home, my time here is fleeting. I look forward to my eternal home with God in heaven. Hebrews 13:14 “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.” (NLT) We may not know a lot about heaven but I do know that there will be no pain, no sickness, no tears! Now that is something I am definitely looking forward to! Can you just imagine it? Revelation 21:4 “He (God) will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (NLT) If everything was wonderful here and we were comfortable, we would never be interested in the heavenly home God has prepared for us. My pain stops me from becoming too attached to the things of this world.
4. Pain helps me realise I am blessed with some incredible friends – and I have to say God has blessed me with many (and that includes my husband). I have friends who have sent encouraging words through facebook, emails and text messages, I’ve got friends, who, rather than “lecture” me with what they think I should hear, give me hugs and assurances of their prayers, I can’t tell you what a comfort this is! Friends who know I don’t feel well enough to do activities with my children and so take the kids out for me and friends who don’t wait to be asked, but have said they will come and do some of my housework.
5. Pain teaches me humility – ouch! I don’t like to admit I need help, I don’t like being vulnerable by expressing how I’m struggling. I like to do things myself. Those things are because of my pride. So in this season God is teaching me humility through pain, I’m not sure it’s a lesson I will ever fully learn! Probably when I think I’ve got it, God will show me again that I need to review the lesson and spend time revising on it, just as Josh has to do at the moment with his GCSE lessons.
I know there are other blessings in pain, but these are the main ones for me at the moment. I’m sure there will come a time when I will experience others and will probably be sharing more with you.
The blessing of pain may seem a contradiction to you, humanly speaking, why would anyone say that, but daily, and over the years (more than 17 of them) I am learning the truth of that statement. I know that there are others who will be experiencing far more pain and suffering than I have ever gone through, but I believe that what I have written can be as true for you as they are for me, if you will just turn to God.
To Think About:
“God has provided us with the ability to feel pain for our good.” What are your thoughts on this sentence? Do you agree or disagree?
If you are in the midst of pain right now, spend some time alone with God, be honest with him. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8 (NKJV)
If you aren’t yet able to see the blessings God gives you during your trials, ask him to reveal them to you.