Often times when people hear of my pain they want to know how they can fix it, how it can be stopped; what modes of medication or medical treatment I am using to aid in my comfort. As of late this is met with looks of surprise or even bewilderment when I share that I am not currently doing any of the things that one would determine necessary. I am taking a supplement and simply trying to stay warm in this season. I am stretching and doing a bit of yoga and trying to make it to the gym when it seems like a good idea; often times it doesn’t seem like a good idea.
I found this “wanting to stop the pain” response to be a common one when we hear of others discomfort or suffering. How can we help, how can we make it stop, what can we do? Let me stop and say that those aren’t bad responses and I think they are rooted in good things. Could I challenge another thought though...could there possibly be a step in between pain and no pain? Could the time of suffering be redeemed into a goodness of its own? I am not a proponent of ‘God does everything for a reason’ or the dreaded ‘He only gives you what you can handle’. But perhaps with a few word changes and perspective shifts, we could see it a bit differently. Perhaps He only allows what He can handle?
These questions are not intended to minimize your pain or the chapter you are in nor the suffering you have or are currently experiencing. Rather the opposite. If we see our suffering as something He is attending to, as something He is holding, as something He sees and knows; we also can welcome the idea that we are not alone. That what is meant for us is not a Pollyanna approach in welcoming or searching out a silver lining, but perhaps recognition and admittance that what you are experiencing is hard -and if you feel emboldened by the Spirit that lives within you- that it is undesirable. He allows suffering but He does not desire it for us. He can use it to teach us but that isn’t its purpose, as if you needed to feel pain in order to atone. His heart is one that desires to take what wasn’t meant for you and redeem it to His likeness and for His purpose in you; to draw you in, to bring you closer and to return you into the right place of communion He desired for you from the beginning. And through that recognition of His heart we are able to see that He also cries when we cry, His heart hurts for our hurt and our suffering is a source of His mourning.
We are told in scripture that the Spirit groans with us interceding on our behalf to the Father. According to Romans 8 (NLT), He is currently pleading for us in “harmony with God’s own will” and we have been welcomed into this through the blood of Christ. All three parts of the Trinity, as one, working for and towards the restoration of your heart as you wait to be eternally rescued. Because you were chosen, not your pain. And through your choosing, you were called in full knowledge of your creation and purpose.
And through Jesus nothing can ever separate you as it says in vs 38: “neither death, nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”(NLT)
And in that, friend, we can even find safety and rest within our suffering. Not in your ability to get used to it, to deal or to survive. Not in or through your ability to change your attitude or believe better. But through the precious blood of Christ.
There is no need to stop the pain. The comfort is found within the desires of His heart to be near to us. To hear our voice and to collect our tears. You were made for holy communion with Him. Our identity is that of child and His is that of Father. And through that we will receive an inheritance that is incomparable to anything we have experienced here; with or without the suffering. We can anticipate and long for heaven because that is what is waiting to be given, and with that will come our ultimate healing, our ultimate relief and our ultimate redemption.