Source: Embracing the Pain
The Lord is close to the broken hearted ; and He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18
Whether you are black, white, Buddhist or Christian- beyond the theologies and doctrine that makes us different from one another, the pain of life is the one thing that we all share. Sure our doctrines may teach us different ways to deal with adversity but we’re all seeking the same thing. How to deal with hurts, loss and insecurity. We all want to live our lives free of pain and suffering.
I can tell you from my own personal experiences in life that it is simply not possible to live without joy and pain. I have no illusions about it. Period. So I learned to accept the fact that pain is a part of the life we live here on earth ! I also have learned that all pain (in life) physically and spiritually has a purpose. And this is where I want our conversation to begin.
Pain Has A Purpose
I know that you may not be able to see the purpose of the adversity in your life while you’re in the middle of an awful situation – believe me when I say that I’ve been there. Yet I can assure you that your pain, whatever it may be- your pain is purposeful and a necessary step in God’s plans for your life. Without emotional and physical pain we wouldn’t know when something’s wrong.
Take your physical body for example, even in this case pain is necessary. For instance, the pain center of the brain plays an important role. Pain is the body’s way of saying that something is wrong with you. Say that you stub your toe, the awful throbbing you feel immediately after let’s you know that you’ve injured yourself. In fact there are some people who have the rare condition of having no sensitivity to pain at all. You’d think that this condition was a great thing to have except it’s not. Why ? Because the people that suffer from this syndrome are always in danger of losing limbs, severe burns , infections and in some cases death ! If your body’s immune to pain it is unable to alert you when something’s wrong ! How would you feel the symptoms of an appendicitis ? How about the symptoms of a heart attack ?Without the help of pain in your chest would you be able to call 911 or take an aspirin or do anything to preserve your life?
You got the point. Pain is just a symptom of a larger problem. The pain in our spiritual lives isn’t any different; it’s the emergency alert that tells us when we are in trouble. Therefore it’s necessary and has a unique purpose in our lives and spiritual development. So now that you’ve got an understanding of the role of pain in life- what’s next ?
Next we have to do an honest assessment of our spiritual health. When I say honest I mean honestly look at where we are spiritually . Sort of like a little check up . I ask myself questions and I think on the answer . How’s my prayer life ? Am I sick with resentment and frustration ? Am I living with unforgiveness or bitterness ? I could go on and on but you get the point . I’m not saying that the pain in our lives is a result of something that you did or didn’t do . I’m just saying the challenges of life gives me an opportunity to stop and think about where I’m at spiritually and what area I may need some help with from The Lord .
What do we do when we’re going through something painful ? Since the natural human response is to flee the pain and suffering , it’s seems like facing the pain would be unnatural to the average person. However I have learned that not only should I face life’s adversities, but I’ve learned to embrace the pain That’s right I just said that I have learned to embrace the pain. From the excruciating (and at times debilitating) pain of Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis, to the devastating loss of my husband – I have learned to take the pain. Not just for the sake of being (or looking) strong. I endure those painful moments because I know that they are temporary and that God has promised that things will only work to my benefit in the end. I’m going to admit it, I still don’t understand how the death of my life partner is a benefit for me. I do know that I’ve become much stronger in a spiritual sense and I’ve got a new perspective on life. I now know that I have the strength to go through just about anything . I don’t take anyone or anything in this life for granted anymore .
But I’m still working through a process that only those who have been there could fully understand and appreciate. This is why we must all find our courage and faith in the Word of God. For example I can’t even conceive of the reasons why the death of a loved one would be a part of the plan that God has for my life. Or why there are children dying in Syria because of a civil war.
I don’t know what good will come out for people who are trapped inside war torn countries . There are inarguably terrible things that happen to people who are Christians (or not) all over the world but The Word of God promises:
“We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose,”Romans 8:28 CEVDCUS
So even though I don’t get it- I do have faith that The Lord will use our to be a benefit for us. I couldn’t be so certain of that fact without the faith that comes from an experience of suffering . Through suffering we have the amazing opportunity to see God at His best. In Phillipians Paul states that’ His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses ‘ . Paul then goes on to say that for ‘this purpose I will boast in my weakness. In other words, he too learned to embrace his pain. I have learned to embrace my inner pain because I know that I’m being brought closer to God. I’m being made stronger and wiser.
How do I know that ? Because I was broken, torn apart and empty. I didn’t even want to pray. Now if you knew me personally that would probably shock you but it was true. But even in my brokenness The Lord was there . He was there picking up those broken pieces and transforming me in the process.
“So I went down to the potter’s house; he was working on the potter’s wheel. But the piece he was making was flawed while still in his hands, so the potter started on another, as seemed best to him.”Jeremiah 18:3-4 CEB The Lord is the ultimate potter, what we see as a bunch of broken pieces He sees as the material for a masterpiece, and a chosen vessel.
Your trials come to perfect you!
No Weapon – Commissioned
Envision the clay and how it goes around and around the potter’s wheel. It looks like a lot of nothing at first but as the potter continues to press and mold the lump of clay starts to take a form. He is the potter and we are the clay. It doesn’t feel good to be pressed. It isn’t pleasant to feel the mashing and pressure to be spun into shape. But the end result of the process is beautiful and amazing. The result is a vessel that can be used for a good purpose.
It’s the getting to that point of being a vessel that trips us up. The pain of the pressing issues of life and the pushing through those things are difficult.
He’s also promised that He is closest to me when I am brought so low that I feel like I may never recover.
The Lord is close to the broken hearted ; and He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18
When I can’t understand why the Lord would allow the inconceivable to happen in my life, there too the Word of God has given me an assurance .
“For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.”
Jeremiah 29:11 AMPC
Look I’ll be the first person to talk about how much adversity has touched my life and the tragedy that has shaken my foundation of faith. But I can also say that without those experiences, I couldn’t be who I am in Christ today. It’s just like a cut or open wound on your body ; initially the area is raw and painful to the touch. You treat the wound with an antibiotic ointment to prevent an infection. The last thing you want to do is get an infection ! The next thing you do is cover it with a Band Aid or something to keep it clean and protected. The pain of the cut draws attention to the area and makes you focus on what you need to do that will help it heal. If you’ve done everything to promote healing- it gets better. In most cases the body creates scar tissue and the skin around (and on top of) that cut is tougher than the other skin. The cut has not only been healed but it’s even tougher than it was before. The same thing happens when you get a spiritual wound.
When you get a spiritual wound in your soul, the pain of it makes you pay attention to an area that needs some treatment. Hard times in life make us turn God for healing and relief. Turning to the Lord means giving Him those things that we have no control over , no idea what to do with and giving Him the those things that just tear us apart. Don’t worry about shocking The Lord with anything because He’s already knows what’s in your heart.
“God, who knows the heart, testified about them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just like he did to us.”
Acts 15:8 WEB
The Lord is just waiting on you to do what He does best – be your ‘burden bearer ‘. The best thing about it is that Jesus knows how heavy the weight of a burden can be . The night in the Garden of Gethsemane for example, the night when He was arrested , as Jesus prayed to God, He was literally feeling the weight of the world on His shoulders. In that moment even Jesus had to pray for the strength to carry out the Father’s will . “Saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.” Luke 22:42 AMPC After unburdening Himself, He was given the courage and strength to do what He was born to do – lay down His own life and die for you and I.
“Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail). [I Pet. 5:7.]”
Psalm 55:22 AMPC
Today I hope that you’ll gain the courage to face the pain of life’s difficulties and hardships. I pray that you’ll find hope in The Word and be encouraged by the knowledge that The Lord is closet to you when you’re hurting. Finally I pray that like me, you’ll get a true understanding of the spiritual purpose of the pain in our lives.
Be Blessed Today,
Source: What About Your Friends?
“Some friends are fun to be with, but a true friend can be better than a brother.”
Proverbs 18:24 ERV
When I was a teenager and gained a circle of friends my mom said to me:” Shan friends come far and few between, be careful about who you call your friend “. I heard her in that moment but didn’t get the full understanding of her words until I became an adult. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with having friends or being ‘friendly ‘. On the contrary. In fact the Bible speaks about friends and friendship on several occasions. I’m simply asking the question : What about your friends?
Friends are a very integral part of our support systems. In a world so full of chaos and volatility, we all need a strong support system to depend on. Yes, God is our truest friend and you’d do well to remember that always. Still in times when you need an earthy friend – only a real friend will do.
I’m an outgoing person and I’ve always had friends. In fact I celebrate all of my trusty friends who’ve been there for me in good times and bad. People that I’ve known for years and people who have shown themselves to be friends through and through.
However, there are those people that I put into the ‘acquaintance ‘ category better known as ‘fair – weather friends ‘. The Bible speaks on this subject as well. “Every friend declares friendship, but there are friends who are friends in name only.” Ben Sira (Ecclesiastes) 37:1 These are the ones that disappear when you get into a battle or you go through hardships.
I remember when my condition progressed and I was not physically able to ‘go ‘ like I used to. The circle of friends that I had at the time began to dwindle slowly but surely. Even the church friends stopped calling me when the surgeries and extended rehab (nursing homes) stays started . Yes I was hurt by it but I also had the support of my other friends. Truer friends that I came to appreciate more. I had learned to be grateful for my real friends and to ‘be careful about who I called friend ‘.
Listen, we all need friends. Friends who will tell us what we need to hear and not what we want to hear. In other words, someone who’ll tell you the truth when it’s hard to do so. Think about the things you’ve been through and who had your back when you were going through it. The person that calls you for no other reason than just to say hi and to see how you’re doing- that’s a real friend. Everyone that is your Facebook friend doesn’t count as a real friend. Sorry, but I had to say that.
Don’t forget that friendship is not a one way street. The Bible says that ‘he that has friends must first show himself/herself friendly ‘. Be a good friend and cherish every friendship like the gift of God that it is. It’s great when my friend Lisa and I just spend hours with each other on the phone. Still I pray for her and her family and she does the same for me. When I awoke from a coma Lisa was one of the faces that I saw other than my husband and family. I value her friendship so much that I lovingly call her Big Sis. She’s not my only friend but she is the only one that I call Big Sis. Everyone deserves to have a friend who garners that type of love and respect
Today I hope that you’ll be grateful for your friendships. Even the friends that are also family because family doesn’t always mean friend. Call the friend who’s having some issues and encourage them. Express your gratitude to your friends that came to your rescue when you needed them. Even if you don’t have the time to call them, a text message is just as good- as long as you don’t become a ‘digital friend ‘. Above all make sure connect with your Eternal Friend – with Him you can bow your head quicker than you can make a phone call to someone else.
Have a Great Day and celebrate your friends!
As Ever ,
Hi guys I have been away for awhile. I just got home from five months of physical rehab. You’ll have to forgive me for my absence ; but there are circumstances that require your undivided attention and unfortunately that meant things like this blog had to take a back seat to my rehabilitation.
I wrote this at the beginning of my rehabilitation time. My hope is that someone is inspired by this.
I’ve been away for a good while now. I have had an ankle fusion and then as a result of an infection – two additional surgeries.In fact , I’m writing this from a rehab facility that will be my address for at least a month. I won’t list all the details of my journey to this point but I will say that I have been here before. I prefer to call these detours as being in God’s classroom. Stick with me and I’ll explain.
Ever felt like everything is just collapsing around you at one time ? Have you ever felt like God has a funny way of showing His love for you ? You can be honest, we’ve all been there on one level at one moment in our lives. We’ve all questioned a loving God would allow certain things to happen to us. If you haven’t – I’ll raise my hand and say I have.
Trials and tribulations are just the transportation that God uses to get you where He wants you to be.
Is there any benefit to our pain and suffering?
Take a moment and think back on a situation that you thought would break you. Obviously it didn’t break you but I’ll wager that you learned something. You found out that you’re stronger than you thought you were; or you went from one level of faith to another level of faith. A higher level of faith. A level of faith and trust in The Lord that you would not have reached without the hardship that you encountered.
My personal experience has been like being in God’s classroom. Through 13 surgeries and one coma and the sudden loss of my husband. , one thing that has been a constant is The Lord’s faithfulness. Even though I’ve had temper tantrums, questioned God – I’ve been angry with Him , even stop talking to Him.He’s still been faithful. It’s easy to get focused on the situation instead of focusing on the Savior. And I have done that frequently. However, like a ultra dedicated teacher who’s dealing with a problem student – He remained patient and kind.
What could I possibly learn from the chronic painful condition that I live with daily ? How can I gleen anything from watching my body become scarred from surgery after surgery? Where’s the lesson from that? I’ve had years to answer these questions but I’m still learning so I’ll just share with you what learned so far.
- Some things just are , if it can’t be changed we have to : Acknowledge, Accept and Adapt
- Every situation has a lesson in it. Don’t get caught up on the why ? Look for the lesson, I guarantee you that there’s one or more to be found.
- No matter what God’s Grace is always with you – shielding you from dangers that you can’t believe. I’ve learned to depend upon His Grace.
- Take advantage of the situation. Sharpen your sword by digging into The Word. Increase your prayer life -draw close to God and He’ll draw close to you. Be determined to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus during the storm and watch the chaotic winds of your life become calm with just a word from The Lord.
While you’re ‘going through ‘ your test or trial , remember that God is good and His mercy endures forever. He’s not punishing you or playing a game to see how far he can push you. Every test is just another moment spent in God’s classroom. A place to learn from the Master. If we view it like that, we’d understand that our storms are temporary and necessary for our spiritual development and maturity. That won’t lessen the pain or the fear and frustration that you’ll feel ; but it will help you put things into proper perspective.
Furthermore ,it’s important to note that we’re all ‘spiritual beings having an earthly experience. For every heartbreaking, soul-crushing moment we experience, there’s a spiritual solution. Where there’s no solution- there’s God’s loving Grace there to comfort and guide us.
Throughout my life I have been confused, frustrated and I’ve felt lower than I can even put into words. But once I felt God’s presence in the midst of my pain – I learned to lean , depend and call on Him when all I wanted to do was give up.
I also figured out that every struggle, every battle is like taking a medication that leaves me with a side effect. Things like Grace, Gratitude , an enhanced prayer life, more love and wisdom- the list goes on. The point is that I grew spiritually and I grew in ways I couldn’t have grown without the entirety of my experiences. Basically it’s just like the song says “No Cross No Crown ‘. If we never go through anything, how would we learn to put our faith into action? Faith is a spiritual muscle. If you don’t use your physical muscles they’ll atrophy and become of no use to you. The same is true of your spiritual muscles: if you don’t use it you’ll lose it.
Remember that The Lord never sends harm , hurt and devastation- He only allows it.
“We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. These are the people God chose, because that was his plan.”
Romans 8:28 ERV
Did you get that? Everything in God’s classroom works for our good! That means those hard things that threaten to break your down. That means even the pain of losing my husband will work out for good. I must admit when it comes to that subject – I don’t see how any good could come from that. But I take God at His Word. I’m no longer a freshman in my spiritual education but not yet a senior. So right now I’m back in school. Being tested on the things I’ve learned in the past and being taught some things that I’ll need in the future.
The best place to be is in God’s classroom. Regardless of what’s going on or what’s happened – in this place we are safe and protected. Given the situation that brought you to God’s classroom might not be a pleasant one – in fact your predicament could be downright heart wrenching but… You can’t look in two directions and get very far. So why not keep your eyes on the Master and His chalkboard. Remember that there’s a lesson in every situation. There is a spiritual benefit to every difficulty you face. So adjust your perspective , pay attention in class , look forward to the lessons you’ll learn and most of all keep your eyes on The Lord!
This morning I had an article that I’d written, edited and ready to post- then I came across something else. An article written by John Pavlovitz , The Kind of Christian I Refuse to Be. I decided that I would share this article with my blog followers; in fact I wish that I had written it myself !
I do hope that everyone will read this article and I believe that those who do will be better for it.
Enjoy and have a Glorious Day!
The Kind of Christian I Refuse to Be | john pavlovitz
Today’s video ‘In The Midnight Hour comes from BeBe Winans feat. Debbie Winans
The song is a most powerful expression of how to endure the dark days of our lives I can remember vividly the terror I felt as a child when bedtime came and the lights were turned out. Fear would grip me and I’d put the cover over my head in an effort to hide from imaginary monsters.
As adults most of us no longer have a fear of the literal sense of the dark; but we might still fear The Midnight Hour of our lives. In other words, we still have things that keep us up at night. The fears and worries that rob us of our peace and situations that keep us up at night.
Have no fear! We have a God that never sleeps and never slumbers; He’s always there for us in The Midnight Hour!
Enjoy the video and listen carefully to the words; they’ll give you encouragement to get through the night! BeBe Winans & Debbie Winans ‘In The Midnight Hour ‘
Happy Friday and may you be blessed with a glorious weekend!
LaShandri Foxx Newman