Embracing Pain

“By greeting life’s pain with something other than denial we may find something unexpected.  By inviting God into our difficulties we ground life- even it’s sad moments – in joy and hope” – Henri Nouwen 

For years I have been under the assumption that in order to be free from soul pain I must do whatever it takes to find the source of  pain and staunch it’s flow from bleeding into the rest of my life.  For years I have been led to believe that stopping pain from existing is the only way to truly lead a joyous life.

Until recently I’ve never even come close to embracing the idea that perhaps pain, suffering, hurt… (insert your own word here), actually opens you up to an expectant wonder of God working in your life.

I think we’ve been trained, particularly the North American church, to believe suffering is the enemy and that the only way to relieve it is to pray or confess it away.  And the notion fits well for a moment, because really, who wouldn’t want a life that doesn’t shine the love of Jesus in a joyful glow.  All. The. Time.

Until…

We come across a pain that can’t be tucked away behind the bravado smile and the I’m fine.  We come across a hurt so deep the words we pray can’t possibly be enough to fill the cracks of wounds that continue to open and fester.  

And it all has me wondering why we try so hard to deny that God is in our suffering too.  Why we try so hard to not embrace suffering as something that brings us closer to God, instead of something that separates us from Him. 

We’re human, of course, so our initial response is to hide or deny its existence because somehow we’ve believed the notion that pain is bad and letting others see how truly messed up we are means we are somehow “less than.”

What if we walked fully into our pain?  What if, instead of trying to beat a path to what we perceive to be joyful living we allow our pain to serve the purpose of informing us that our hearts long for and need Jesus?  Desperately. 

What if we used our tears as an invitation to God to join us in the middle of difficulties and there find the beauty of His extravagant love for us? 

I’m tired of living a life FOR Jesus that only includes the good times.  I want a life WITH Jesus that has Him with me every step of the way!. 


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