I have a disclaimer before I begin this post.
Please turn your imagination ON and picture this scene.
You are standing on a vast beach on a sunny and breezy day. The waves steadily pound the shore as the seagulls fly gracefully overhead. You see a child's red sand bucket sitting atilt. You walk through the warm sand to see what's inside. And it's full of sea water. And you look out to the horizon, and feel like you can see forever. Nothing but ocean, Majestic, powerful, and endless.
The red sand bucket is my knowledge. The vast ocean is God's.
I have some friends who are going through tough stuff. Incredibly tough. Like drop to your knees and feel you will weep forever. I know a couple of friends who are struggling and I don't know exactly what's going on, but I can tell they are in pain.
Pain is the human common denominator. We've all felt sucker punched by life. We've all been betrayed by someone. We've found ourselves in agonizing situations and wondered, "how did I get here?"
Most people—even those who are believers—blame God. Like He sits in heaven and zaps us poor souls here on Earth. But then, when good comes into our lives, we don't credit Him for that. But the blame game, we have down pat. That can be traced back to the Garden of Eden.
Remembering the disclaimer, I want to share what I've learned.
Pain happens for many different reasons.
Pain happens for many different reasons.
- Sometimes, it's caused by others, but at our expense.
- Sometimes, it's the natural consequences of our poor decisions.
- Sometimes, it's the tragic result of previous generations.
- Sometimes, it's the way we process a situation incorrectly.
But none of the above reasons are God's fault. Oh, I know He could have intervened and prevented it from happening. After all, He's the infinite ocean.
So why doesn't He? That's the question that haunts everyone in pain. Why…Why me…Why now…If He loves me, then why?
Now here's my red sand bucket philosophy.
I believe God allows pain to come our way. Before it hits our calendar, He knows the desired lesson for us. He is shaping us for what lies ahead. After all, He allowed Job to experience great loss and suffer incredible pain. He allowed Peter to be sifted. He allowed Thomas to doubt. He could have intervened but chose not to. Each grew in wisdom and faith from pain. And so can we.
When I look back, I realize that every painful situation taught me a valuable lesson. More faith. More patience. More compassion for others. More perseverance. More wisdom. More love.
When pain enters my life, I begin to look for the lesson to be learned. After all, before it hit me, it came before God and He allowed it to come my way. So the "why" doesn't really matter. Even when it hurts so badly I can barely breathe, I have faith that since He allowed it; I will survive like many other times in my past.
My desperate prayer goes something like this. "Lord, even though I don't understand or like this pain, I'm going to trust you. I know you love me and are here with me in the midst of this unbearable situation. So I'm depending on You to get me through. I believe in You and Your timing. If it's in accordance with Your will, help me to see why You allowed this in my life. And please help this to pass, the sooner the better. In Jesus Name, Amen."
Now I know that’s rather bold. The red sand bucket strongly pleading with the powerful ocean. But He respects the honesty of a broken heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 tells us, "For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."
I believe He honors those sincere prayers, opens my mind, and helps me see with clearer eyes. The awareness of the lesson comes. I learn. I grow. I deal with the situation even if it's only acceptance. I move forward. And the pain eases. To Him be the glory!
What do you believe? What helps you to survive and thrive through the pain? What advice do you give someone going through a tough time? Thanks for sharing.
Very good thoughts, Tammy. VERY good. And some of your best writing yet.ReplyDelete
Thanks Roger, for the feedback and the comment. Hope you and Kathleen are doing well.Delete
Love this -- don't love the pain, but you're right. God uses it, and his reservoir of knowledge and understanding is vast. Thank you for writing!ReplyDelete
I'm with you. I don't like the pain either but it sure can be motivating to do anything possible to stop it. I'm glad that we do have our endless God right there with us. Thanks for the comment!Delete
You are right, Tammy, circumstances will come that cause us pain. Some, as you say, are caused by other people or our own bad choices. Other situations, such as the death of a loved one, are completely out of our control. But in either case, our response should/must be the same--trust God and pray. It isn't easy, but He will be with us.ReplyDelete
So very true! That is the best response and usually the only one that brings us peace. Thanks for the great comment!Delete