The other night I went to bed with a splitting headache. I lay awake in bed, curled in a ball, nauseous from the stabbing pain in my head. As I waited for the pain killers to kick in and the pain to subside, I couldn’t think about anything, all I could do was breathe and wait.
Slowly, relief crept in. At first it was in bits, brief moments of comfort followed by a sharp reminder that the headache wasn’t gone yet. At some point I realized it had been a few minutes since I felt pain, and a warm, calming peace started to creep in. Before I finally drifted off to sleep, I remember feeling a surge of gratefulness. The relief from the pain had come, and although I was simply back to “normal”, I felt euphoric.
This feeling has come over me many times in my life when I’ve escaped physical pain, but even more so when I’ve been given spiritual or emotional peace. I’ve given up questioning why we must go through painful situations – I have yet to meet anyone who has managed to escape difficulty in their life so I’ve accepted that’s part of everyone’s reality. When I think about it in terms of the God Story, it makes more sense to me. Sin and strife is present in the world and no one is untouched. But what we experience when God heals, removes, or even momentarily relieves our suffering is what brings gratefulness in to our hearts. And there is no drug, mantra or self help method that can bring the overwhelming peace that we feel when He sets it right.
I think it’s pretty cool that he uses the negative, painful and disappointing circumstances in our lives to bring us closer to Him.
Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. — 1 Peter 5:9-10
I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God. ~ Elizabeth Elliot
Pain removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul. ~ C.S. Lewis
Though poor in this world’s goods, though grieving the loss of loved ones, though suffering pain of body, though harassed by sin and Satan, though hated and persecuted by worldlings, whatever be the case and lot of the Christian, it is both his privilege and duty to rejoice in the Lord. — A.W. Pink