I don’t think you would do it. As a matter of fact, I KNOW you wouldn’t. If you knew ahead of time that your loved one would betray you, you wouldn’t trust him. If you knew before it all went down that you would have been wrongfully accused then let go from your job of 16 plus years, you would have taken the job that paid less and was 20 minutes farther from your house. If you had any clue whatsoever that your lover would have not only left you but left you in debt with your heart shredded in an innumerable amount of pieces, you would never had gotten married. If you had an inkling that the business venture you felt in your gut was legitimate would falter after six months, there is no way that you would have invested all of your 401K and the last of your savings. So there it is- in any situation, if it is at all possible, we will avoid pain, adversity or discomfort. I know. You are probably thinking that it doesn’t take Einstein to figure that out, but it seems like it does take a genius to make sense of the pain.
PAIN- Part of speech: noun- Definition: physical suffering or discomfort caused by illness or injury. Yeah, well, that’s one kind. The writers of this particular definition perhaps forgot to include the emotional pain (which in some cases can be just as crippling as physical pain) that sits on your chest as you watch your husband walk out the door and slam it unmistakably and tightly SHUT on a sixteen year marriage or the kind of pain that reaches up your neck and strangles you when you hear the doctor’s slow and painful proclamation of cancer for the first time. The writer may have never felt the type of emotional sting that rushes over you like a tsunami after you find out you cannot have children or one of your children dies unexpectedly in the middle of planning for his graduation from college. Or what about the insurmountable pain of betrayal, unfounded lies or flat out rejection- not from enemies (you expect that from them) but from church or family members who you thought loved you. Pain does not discriminate. It can’t be paid off to avoid its seemingly earthshattering effect. It doesn’t care if you are cute, popular, rich or talented. It will ensure an encounter with you when you least expect it and when you are least prepared for it, and it never makes sense to the HEART even if you have planned for its unwelcomed arrival in your HEAD. PAIN….
I am taking a HUGE risk by saying this, but here goes. Do you know how to make sense of your pain? Stop wasting time trying to MAKE SENSE of it. That sounds like an oxymoron- a big contradiction. It may even sound cruel to those of us who think that somehow by understanding the pain we will lessen it. I will be honest with you. I thought that because I was a Christian that I had an “inside” to God’s “insight”. I thought that God would somehow make sense of every BAD thing that ever happened in my life. He would put all of the pieces of the puzzle together and somehow show me how it all worked together for my good (Romans 8:28). I thought He would speak to me, show it to me, give me the explanation in a dream or miraculously send a bird with a note in his mouth to let me know how the blaring noises of my life actually came together to make a perfectly harmonized sweet symphony. He would make pain make sense! Imagine my shock and disbelief when I found out that I was wrong! After a few bouts with this rationale and some pouting spells, I realized that there was NO EVIDENCE in His Word that He EVER said that hurt and pain would make sense. Well….
Here is the real truth: God owes us NO ANSWERS, but we owe it to ourselves to push past the pain. I found LOTS OF evidence that He would help us to do THAT! THE PURPOSE that is birthed through your PAIN will be worth the PROCESS. My, oh my, how we hate THAT word: PROCESS. PAIN IS A PART OF YOUR PROCESS. In order to become the absolute best version of yourself, in order to show up in this life fully prepared to dominate it, in order to win, to grow, to lead, to leave your mark and fulfill your destiny- you must go through pain, and not all pain will make sense. PERIOD. You won’t be able to label it, put it on the shelf in a pretty container and maintain it. Pain is never that easy to handle. But there’s good news! What you can do is accept it and accept it with the understanding that you may not “get it”- not then not ever, but you can make the most powerful decision to move on in spite of it- running, walking, crawling wounded- defeated- overwhelmed or distraught. EVERY day presents a new opportunity for you to look at yourself in the mirror and resolve to SHOW UP and navigate through the hardship as best as you know how. EVERY day gives you the chance to learn more about yourself, about others and about life. EVERY day affords you the opportunity to strengthen your faith and your focus. EVERY SINGLE DAY. So SHOW UP even when you think that’s all you can do- still SHOW UP, and before long you will be able to look back and smile about how far you have come and the person you have become on the journey.