Monday, February 13, 2017

Beauty From Pain

Jordy Nelson - physical pain (broken ribs)
Yesterday was a bright, sunny day. We haven't seen one of those for quite a while. With all the sunshine and melting snow it seemed as if spring might actually be coming! There was a renewed sense of hope in my heart, remember better, warmer days.

When skies are cloudy and temperatures are cold, it's hard to feel "encouraged" about one more day of winter. Yet, it is the winter weather that makes springtime so welcome.

This past week I spoke with two friends of mine who are going through extended bouts with pain - one physical, one emotional.

How does one cope with periods of extended pain? How does one remove painful memories resulting from a relationship gone bad?

The initial offering of the Christian to someone experiencing emotional pain is that Jesus can ease it. "If you'd only pray harder," some would say. Is that correct?

First, can God heal? Absolutely! So why are there still broken people in this world - both physically and mentally? Why doesn't God heal everyone?

Before that question can be answered one has to answer some bigger questions. Like, "Why are we here?" What is the purpose of our lives? God told this to the Isrealites through the prophet Jeremiah . . .

"11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you." - Jeremiah 29:11-14

  1. God has plans for you. God is going to use us in some way. How? Hmm. But we were created for a reason. Is God going to use your pain to accomplish something in your life or in someone else?
  2. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Prosper? You mean get rich? No. God wants to prosper us spiritually. To develop character in us.
  3. To give you hope and a future. His plans for you should give you hope. You have a purpose and a future in Christ Jesus!!
We are humans. We tend to think in human terms. God is thinking WAY beyond us. He is thinking eternally. Do you really think our current pain and suffering has anything to do with God's eternal plans for us? Maybe a little bit, but it is inconsequential. It is only a means to an end.

Is it possible that God would use someone's pain to draw them closer to Himself? Absolutely! God told us in 2 Corinthians,

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." - 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

When we are weak, we are strong, because it is at our weakest that we cry out for God to help us . . . to ease the pain and the suffering. God is using our pain to draw us closer to Him.

Again, why are we here? Is it to live a happy life and then die? For many, that is all they will have. But for the Christian, for the follower of Christ, we are here to learn and grow. We are here to worship and praise. We are here to prepare ourselves for the next life.

Did you see the Packer game against the Giants when Jordy Nelson had his ribs broken? This was a comeback season for Jordy, winning the Comeback Player of the Year. After returning from a major knee injury in 2016, Jordy worked hard through the pain. When he had his ribs broken he rehabbed hard and played the follow week. He played through the pain for his team's ultimate gain.

Our pain and suffering can cause us to lose our focus. There is a tremendous pull at us to think only of ourselves when we are hurting, not that God might be putting US through something so that, one day, er can help someone else.

Constant physical pain is a tough one. It eats away at a person, making them tired, frustrated and depressed. But if that develops in us a spirit of determination, a drive to get past the pain, to beat it, hasn't the pain helped to make us better?

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." - Romans 5:1-5

There's no magic cure to remove pain but if we can use it to grow and to power us past it, then that is what we must do. Pray with me please?

Father, we have many friends who are hurting. Whether it is relationship issues, physical pain, of an illness they can't seem to beat. Help them through their pain and suffering. Teach them to be strong in ways we cannot. Help them succeed in the ways you want them to. Draw them to Yourself and hold them close when they are hurting the most. And heal them, if it is your will to do so. Let us embrace the storms we face in life because they draw us closer to you. It is you we adore. It is you we love above all others. Ease our pain with your mercy and grace and lift our burdens from us as you promised us you would,

Thank you for hearing us. Thank you for considering this prayer. May we be your hands and feet in this world until you call us home. Though the hills might be steep and the rough might be rough, guide us to where you are. Where you want us to be. Amen.

This story and prayer are for friends in my life who are suffering. You know who you are. Be strong and courageous. Draw nearer to The Lord. I love you all.

Beauty From Pain - Superchick
Determined Paraplegic - BBQ pit

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