Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pain--A Learning Experience

Recently I went through 24/7 excruciating, stabbing pain in my lower back to the extent that getting up or down from a sitting or lying position caused me to scream with pain. I asked the Lord “Why?” My question was not a complaint or a whine, but an honest inquiry to find out from God why He was permitting me to go through this experience at this present time when it was most inconvenient.

I believe that nothing concerning God’s children is random or without purpose. Every experience is always for our learning and growth in the fruits of the Holy Spirit and progress in holiness; we are in formation and transformation toward the image of Jesus while we are on earth.

Waiting on God in prayer and applying my mind to this question, I came up with many possible reasons for this painful experience for myself especially during a time when I thought I needed to be hale and hearty for responsibilities and involvement in a sacred event at Easter time. Some of these conclusions are deeply personal but at the same time applicable to other situations and persons. My basic premise is that since I am in Christ, God is working all things together for His glory and my good whether I see reasons for it or not. (Romans 8:28)

1. To be reminded of my mortality and weakness and limitations while I am in this body of flesh.

2. To realize that I am not in control or in charge of my life—God is.

3. To empathize with others and learn to be more compassionate to those who suffer both acute and chronic pain.

4. To practice praying without ceasing as I cry out to God for relief.

5. To resist the devil and claim God’s promise that he must flee if he is the cause of this situation.

6. To truly trust God that all things are working together in this particular situation whether I am able to fulfill my responsibilities or not.

7. To recognize that even this pain could be an answer to my own prayers to draw closer to Jesus.

8. To perceive that the devil may be attacking a specific event or persons involved, including myself. It may not be about me.

9. To show up my pride “that I am not like others…” but always seem to be a bundle of energy despite my age. This is to humble me and show my common humanity and vulnerability.

10. Since I belong to God, to trust that it is His responsibility to allow or not to allow illness or pain, to heal or not to heal, to use human means or divine means.

11. To test me if I really mean and practice what I preach when I say that I will accept God’s will if He does not heal my pain but allows it to continue.

12. To force me to cry out to God and declare continually, “Jesus, I trust in You.”

13. To demonstrate that my home (and my spirit) is truly a “house of prayer” and be more disciplined, consistent, and serious in my daily prayer life.

14. To practice what the apostle Paul learned about his “thorn in the flesh” not being removed despite his continued prayer for relief—that when I am weak, God’s strength will take over in a greater way.

15. That God may be laying me aside from over-activity in order to teach me deeper truths of the spirit in the solitude and quiet of His presence.

16. To learn more about how to identify with the sufferings of Christ to redeem my soul—by comparison my slight pain is as “a light affliction.”

17. To learn to genuinely offer up my own pain for specific persons and needs and pray for them.


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