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Monday, August 29, 2011

Faking The Pain – (Part 4 of 4)

Sometimes, we pretend like the more spiritually “mature” we are, the less pain we feel.  Granted, we use over-spiritualized language and make those around us feel foolish – even sinful – for walking in pain.  See if this sounds familiar.

“If you are really following God, you won’t base your happiness on circumstances.  If you start putting your hope in God alone, he will take away your pain.”

Really?

And where does God promise to “take away” our pain if we just have enough faith?

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that God is a healer and a comforter. I believe that He takes great delight in meeting us right where we are.  I just start getting nervous when Christians start claiming that you just need to have more “faith” and the pain will go away.

Sometimes, it doesn’t work that way. 

Did the Apostle Paul feel “happy” about the thorn in his side?  Did he lack “faith” when he begged God to take it away?

Did Jesus dismiss the excruciating pain as he hung on the cross?  Would the pain have gone away if he just had more “faith”?

I think not! 

For reasons I will never understand this side of heaven, God purposes to use pain.  In fact, sometimes it appears that pain alone can produce the kind of enduring strength that most of us long for.

So why do we think we are entitled to a “pain free” existence?  

Could it be that pain is for the strong?

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[For those of you who have followed the "Faking the Pain" series, many thanks.  Thanks especially for your private notes and emails.  No more faking the pain around here, ok?]







7 comments:

Charming's Mama said...

Wow, good words Susan and lots to think about. I have a saying posted on my blog (maybe you've noticed it) that says, "God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears and light for the way. - Anon"

I also think that God allows us to be tempted, the point being that it is better to overcome rather than to succumb. And in all that many of us forget that God calls for our obedience, because being weaker is sometimes easier than maintaining the strength necessary to withstand whatever it is we are facing.

Heidiopia said...

You're right, Susan, so many of us DO think our existance should be pain free. God shapes us, challenges us through pain. It's an instrument that brings us closer to Him. Maybe we should welcome the pain and hence the opportunity.
Happy Monday, my friend. :)

Jenny Sulpizio said...

Great post, Susan! You are so right too-we sit and contemplate, and ask God why we have to go through so much pain, and what we can do to possibly ease it. But we forget about the cross, we for get what Jesus went through, and we forget that God has our back-if only we could just release our fears and trust in Him a little more.

Life isn't supposed to be easy. We are supposed to go through pain, trials, and even tragedy. It is those times that we are tested, and those precise times when our faith is strengthened.

Jennifer @ GettingDownWithJesus.com said...

I'm with you, Susan. I stand right ... here ... with ... you, and I shout the Amen!

Even our faith is a gift from God (Eph 2:8), and it's not something we just drum up on our own to get us through hard times and make it all better. It *is* God's gift.

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

Preach it, sister! I don't love pain, obviously I don't. But I can look back at more than one very painful period in my life and see that God's gifts bloomed in ashes. I don't believe he causes the pain, but I do believe he can create good out of bad.

Laura said...

I am such a slow learner that sometimes the pain is the only way I get the message. What a great post, Susan. Especially that point about how we try to deny the pain the more "spiritually mature" we think we are. Just proves we aren't doesn't it? God can be glorified in the midst of our weakness. But first we have to admit that it hurts, don't we? Oh, just ouch. Thinking about this some more...

Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

Well, I think today's post deserves a hearty Amen. I do a lot of reading around the Middle Ages and those guys were spot on with a few things. For example, they realized that we learn through suffering.

I'm not one to wallow in the pain, but your series has reminded me not to deny it either.