The Problem with Pain...

My friend Kevin Bussey ( in his blog "Confessions of a Recovering Pharisee" asked a very profound question last week. One of his posts was entitled "What Happened to My Brady Bunch World?"

And now, more than ever, that is a very real and relevant question.

As the events of recent days have so drastically have reminded us, this world (and those of us who still inhabit it) have a problem with "pain." I can't begin to imagine what the people connected to Virginia Tech must be experiencing now--and the level of pain they must endure.

I can't begin to imagine how those families who lost loved ones and friends in the Twin Towers tragedy (almost 6 years ago now) must have felt then, and must still be feeling.

But I can say that I have not been immune to pain in my own life. I have known the pain of being abandoned as a baby, and being raised without parents. And even though I wasn't aware of the pain at the time, I did feel it's realities some years later.

I have known the pain of being betrayed by family members, and being abused by those whom you trusted. It's no fun, but that didn't stop it from happening.

I have known the pain of being betrayed by friends whom you knew would be there--and for some reason they weren't. And I've been guilty of doing the same thing, sadly enough.

But, as I look back on the incidents of "pain"--I'm reminded of what the Apostle Paul said to the Christians in Corinth, when he referred to all the "pain" in his life and ministry as "these light afflictions."

I'm very thankful that "this world" is not all that we have, or can look forward to in the future. I'm eternally grateful for the promise that we can indeed hold a title to the "City Whose Builder and Maker is God."

The writer of Hebrews tells us of God's people who endured all kinds of things (Chapter 11), and he/she ends that particular thought with these profound, sobering words: "of whom the world was not worthy...."

Oh, that my life and moreso, my outlook on life, would be like that!

A marvelous hymn that I learned many, many years ago has these precious words:

"Some through the water
Some through the flood
Some through the fire
But all through the blood.

Some through great sorrow
But God gives the song,
In the night season
And all the day long."

It's those very precious "songs in the night" that reminds me that God knows, feels, and understands my pain.

Even when it's self-inflicted (but that's an entirely separate post).

But any pain that I might feel could never compare to what a miracle-working, humble, generous man felt one day more than 2000 years ago when he stood on a lonely hill outside Jerusalem and cried. He was on a Cross. He felt forsaken and alone.

But even in His pain, He took the criminal on one side of His cross to Paradise that very day.

He never denied His own pain. But He never let it stop Him from doing what had to be done.

That man, Jesus Christ, made a way for me to endure the pain, by enduring His own pain. He made a way for me to see "beyond the pain" because He saw beyond His own.

The words of John the Revelator says it so well..."I John saw the holy more pain, nor sorrow...."

I look forward to that time. Really, I do.

But until then....


Gretchen said...

Phil, this is a beautiful post.

Diane said...

This is a beautiful and poignant post..;.filled with such wisdom. Clearly, you have offered the pain of your life to God...and He is using it for His Glory! No greater value can come out of pain!