“I never thought I was going to hurt this bad.”
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone share those words, or words like that with me. I sat across the table from a woman recently, she had tears running down her face as she shared with me the struggle and the pains of her marriage. It was a tragic story. Her story was not a fairytale, or one of Hollywood’s romantic comedies. Kate Hudson would never play this woman’s character. Think more like Jennifer Lopez from Enough.
What do we do when life hurts get us down? How do we respond when life doesn’t seem to be going the way that we expected it to go?
These are questions that I have had to answer for myself, and unfortunately I have people ask me those questions almost on a weekly basis. We live in a broken world. Our world is fractured with selfishness, greed, lust, anger, and pride. Those are just a few of the ugly things that rear their heads in our world. The good news is that Jesus came to heal not only our brokenness but the deep fracture that exists in our world today.
Pain is not always bad. It is never fun to go through, but my experience has been that pain shapes us. Pain has an incredible way of growing and developing our character. Here are four things that I see pain doing in my life.
1. Pain causes us to Cry Out.
My wife Tiffany always makes fun of me, because whenever I get hut I vocalize it. I can’t help but yelp when I mash my thumb with a hammer. I can’t help but grunt when I twist my ankle. That is me vocalizing what is going on inside of me. When we go through pain, we need to vocalize what is happening. Pain should cause you to cry out. I’ll never forget laying in the hospital bed almost 3 years ago now, unable to move, or even open my eyes because the pain was so intense. All I could do was just quietly cry out to God, “Jesus help me… help me…”
2. Pain causes us to Slow Down
If you’ve ever broken a bone you know that life doesn’t go back to normal immediately after they set the bone. The doctor prescribes a period of healing. Sometimes it can be 6 weeks or more before you are healthy enough and before your body has been restored to the place where your bones can handle the stress and pressure on them. Emotional pain has the same effect. It should cause you to slow down and proceed with caution. Your hurt causes you to test the waters a little bit before you dive right in.
3. Pain causes us to Think About the Root
I don’t know about you, but I never want to repeat painful situations. If we don’t want to repeat the pain, then we better figure out what caused it. After injuring myself I will never do that activity the same again. You can’t right? We have to figure out the root cause for the pain and then try to remedy it. I was always taught that the most dangerous knife was a dull knife. So now I try to keep my knives sharp because I remember the pain of cutting myself…
4. Pain causes us to Live Differently
Living in the wake of pain is not necessarily bad. It does however have the ability to affect our daily patterns. Sometimes pain is so difficult that it causes us to live totally different than before. It may cause us to rely on God in a new way. It may require that you wake up on a daily basis and change your routine. We do this to avoid getting hurt again.
Pain is not always a bad thing. I love what it says in James 1:2-4, “Consider it all joy my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” That is not always an easy pill to swallow, but then again it is easier to go through pain when you know that there is something good that will come out of it.
Don’t be afraid to cry out in the midst of your pain. Our God is there to listen!