How Can Pain Be a Blessing?

We learn from pain. Some more than others and some quicker than others, but we all do in some form. If not, we wouldn’t be careful around hot stoves or warn our kids not to touch them. We usually have to experience enough pain to change anything about ourselves or what we do. Physical pain brought on by ourselves makes us more careful. You’ll more than likely avoid that coffee table corner after stubbing your toe on it or that person after being hurt over and over.

Pain we witness from others makes us more careful too. “Wow, that could be me!” It can make us think twice. Hopefully, we learn this way too. Pain brought upon us by others makes us mad. We didn’t want this pain. We didn’t ask for it, we didn’t even make the mistake to cause it. Still, so much to learn from this anger and frustration. There’s always something to learn.

As unpleasant as pain is, imagine what life would be like without pain receptors. The only way to know if we were hurt would be to see bones or blood. So, thank God for pain receptors. How would we live day to day without them? Extremely timidly, constantly hurt, and continually supervised.

If we learn from pain, it makes sense that the wisest people we know have experienced the most of it. They haven’t just been through it, they’ve allowed themselves to feel it. They’ve gone there, they’ve grieved, they’ve felt and expressed the pain rather than avoiding or covering it up. They’ve taken it to God. They’ve owned their part and they’ve changed because of it.

The pain of divorce may lead some to fight for marriage while others blame marriage itself and refuse to even consider it again. The pain of co-parenting may lead some to surrender and embrace while others vengefully fight the rest of their lives. The pain of betrayal may lead some to a deeper intimacy with Jesus and others to deem it foolish to trust anyone again or become untrustworthy themselves. The pain of failed relationships may lead some to a deeper appreciation of the one who’s different or to write them off altogether. The pain of family disapproval may lead to a deeper reliance on God’s or a life lived to please others.

Are you being crushed? All of these are painful, but it is in the crushing that the sweet aroma is produced. Grapes and olives must be crushed to make wine and oil, as it is with us. The deeper the crushing, the more pure the outcome.

Have you seen the joy and laughter it brings people to stomp grapes with their bare feet? That’s how I imagine the devil looks while we are being trampled on, thinking he’s doing us in. But, it leads to something so beautiful in the transformation and only possible by the crushing. I don’t recommend looking for pain. But, I do recommend gleaning whatever wisdom you can from it, looking for the blessings during in it, and remaining thankful in spite of it. There is always something to be thankful for. He’s always there and He knows how you feel. He may have allowed it, but He hasn’t forsaken you because of it.

The Lord says, “It was my plan to crush him and cause him to suffer. I made his life an offering to pay for sin. But he will see all his children after him. In fact, he will continue to live. My plan will be brought about through him. Isaiah 53:10 (NIRV)

Jesus wasn’t just crucified for us, He was physically, emotionally, and spiritually crushed before it for us. It’s in contemplating this pain that we come to tears and surrender over what He did for us. The suffering He endured for us is how His love was expressed and our ultimate gift provided.

I hate that Jesus experienced any pain because I love Him so much, but if He hadn’t, I couldn’t live with Him forever. He did it for me. It was because of God’s immense love for us that His worst pain turned into our biggest blessing.

Being crushed for His purposes hurts like no other in the process, but coming out the other side you recognize the honor that it is and the joy it ultimately brings. You’ll come out closer, forever changed, and with a sweet personal aroma (story) of who He is to you.

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This Is Me

“The Greatest Showman” is the talk of the box office right now. After watching an outtake that brought tears to my eyes over and over again, I bought 7 tickets. I was going to support these actors. No matter what I thought of the film, the “This is Me” singer was worth my money. Her emotion still sends tingles down my arms and tears to my face.

You can tell she’s been put down. You can tell she’s believed it. You can tell she’s at the point in her life where she only wants real. You can tell she’s learning to love herself exactly as she is and only desires those who do too in her life. You can tell she’s scared to death, but willing to not only stand up for herself, but others too. You can tell she’s finally willing to be walked away from or do the walking. She will no longer cling, hide, or strive to please, she will embrace who she is and who she was made to be. You can tell she owns her weaknesses and imperfections, but won’t let them keep her from singing. Not anymore.

I can relate. That’s where the tears come from, I guess. Maybe you can too. Maybe you’ve been put down and believed it. Maybe you’ve been afraid to speak your mind or your story for fear of false accusations or rolling eyes. Maybe you’ve been told something is all your fault. Something you’d never pick in a million years.

In the movie, she plays the bearded lady. She was hidden from society and called a freak her whole life, even by her family. But, she sings like an angel. They would let her voice be heard, but never her face. It took one man to call her out and celebrate her differences for her to feel valuable. Praise God for the people in your life that do this, and know that even when they feel hard to come by, your Creator celebrates you. You are who you are for a reason. Your trials, conditions, story can be used for His glory. And, He died for you.

We all have a story. Maybe you’ve been harassed, abused, neglected, accused, lied to, lied about, dragged through the mud, laughed at….Jesus, the Son of God, was spit on. For us. He was beaten, accused, and killed a tortuous death…for you.

When the ultimate accuser and liar (Satan) comes to ridicule you for who you are, what you’ve done, what is happening right now. Kneel down and then stand up. Because we can come boldly to the throne of grace and mercy when we need it MOST. And, He is victorious. God already did what He had to do to save us. To claim us. To keep us.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)

I claim this scripture. You can too. God looks at each of us in awe, wonder, amazement and love. He made you, not because He had to, but because He wanted to. Lean into that and when you are hurting, get real and honest with Him. Like the day you were born. Can we come to Him with no makeup on our face and no makeup on our situations and say “this is me”. Can we open up to Him and others and say this is where I messed up and “this is me”. Can we ask forgiveness, make amends, change, admit wrong, lay it down and say “this is me”. He loves us as we are, but never leaves us that way. He comes in, reminds us who we are to Him, and loves us so much that our hearts desire to reflect Him. We will WANT to be closest to the One who knows us best and still loves us most.

When you call out to Him “This is Me”. His answer is always “And I love you”.