Pain is an interesting topic. It causes us to react in unique ways and inspires different viewpoints based on our individual belief systems.
Some believe in Karma, which in a simple definition, you get what you give. When pain enters their lives, they inherently believe they must deserve it somehow.
Others view the world as out to get them, an enemy ready to knock them down at every turn. They look at pain as something unfair done to them.
Yet another viewpoint is a more neutral take on things. People in this camp view pain as a part of life and think, “What is the cause and what can I control?”
I am very much a believer that who we are is created by a combination of nature and nurture. Nature, personality or how we’re wired from birth, and nurture, how we’re raised and the sum of our experiences good and bad. So, our belief systems stem from how we see the world, which is shaped by how we’re made and what we’ve been through.
Depending on what your experiences are, you may even have a mix of the above viewpoints. I would venture to say a mix is relatively healthy since each situation and hardship is different with various causes.
Sometimes, we deserve what is happening, natural consequences for our choices. Other times, we can very much be victims, something bad just happens to us and it is unfair. Other times, pain is just a part of life and there may not necessarily be a specific reason.
Pain has been on my mind lately (quite literally on my mind, specifically, severe, weekly migraines that are unexplained and chronic). I’ve gone through all the various camps of thinking. Is this pain something I’m causing to myself? Can I help myself somehow by adding or subtracting something in my life? I’ll sometimes come to terms with the pain and think, pain is just a part of life, hopefully a solution will present itself in time.
Lately I’ve been feeling like a victim. “This is unfair. Why me? I’m doing so many things right, why then am I having all this pain?” It’s discouraging and defeating. It threatens to suck me down into a pit of despair.
Isn’t that typical of pain though? When we are in it, it’s so easy to believe the worst case scenario.
It’s so easy to believe God has abandoned us.
If God is so good and powerful, why then doesn’t he take this pain away from me?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought this. Usually, I don’t find an answer and stuff down the disappointment at seeing others healed through prayer or answers, while I struggle with an unknown cause. Comparison.
Some of us end here. We experience pain and the subsequent discouragement and feelings of abandonment and then don’t move on. Those that stay here are sucked down into a black hole of suffering and darkness. Little light is let in and all we can see is the bad and negative. We become bitter and sour and lash out at everyone and everything.
We can’t end there friends.
In those moments of darkness, what keeps me going is God. I have to choose to believe he is for me, not against me (Romans 8:31). I choose to believe he is the ultimate promise keeper and means what he says (1 Corinthians 1:9; Hebrews 6:13-15). I choose to believe God has good plans for me, plans to prosper me that I will see while I’m alive (Jeremiah 29:11). I choose to believe God is the Great Physician and has healing for me one way or another (Jeremiah 30:17). I choose to land on the truth that he sees all my needs and will meet them – I am not abandoned, I am loved (Philippians 4:19; Jeremiah 31:3; Hebrews 13:5).
I believe God is who is says he is and does what he says he does. Why? Because he has proven himself to me time and again.
I look back on my life and see his hand in everything.
When I was so poor I could barely afford to live in a house with 6 other roommates, I never went hungry or was unable to pay my bills. To this day, the math does not add up. There’s literally no explanation other than God.
Those times I put him to the test and stepped out on a limb only to have him come through for me. For example, two years ago to the day I was in desperate need of a change, needing to see something give. I finally decided to pursue a career path in counseling (a big deal for this Enneagram type 9) after a particularly hard and crushing season of my plans crumbling. I was applying to jobs and finally just prayed, “God, I would like to have a job before the first of the year, so I can know and plan.” It was getting a little down to the wire and I started to lose hope that something was actually coming. Then I get a call for a phone interview, which turned into a full interview and before you know it, I had a job within a week. This all happened a week before Christmas.
God didn’t have to, but he showed up and provided in ways that I am still thanking him for. All because I had faith and waited for him to come through for me. I prayed and he answered.
He didn’t let me down then and he won’t now.
Every hard thing I’ve ever gone through, I’ve grown closer to him in it because, for me, there’s no other option. I have to cling to him or I will crumble. When I run to him he holds me, tells me how much he loves me, tells me to trust him and promises that healing is coming.
I don’t have any answer other than Jesus. I have nothing but the feeling of him being close. I grow closer to him because I choose to trust him even when I can’t see how the situation could ever come to a resolution. I can’t fathom what the answer is. But, I’ve been here before and he has come through for me every. single. time.
That’s the key friends. Hope. Trust.
Trust this good and faithful friend, Jesus. He loves you more than you can imagine and is working on your behalf, always.
I don’t have the answer to the “whys” – why do you have pain? I have no idea. All I know is that God is hurting with us and there is a sovereign reason as to why we have to walk through it and it’s always for our good and benefit.
Every hard thing I’ve gone through, I’ve grown as a person and grown closer to Jesus. It has refined me and made me better in the end. I choose to believe the same about this situation as well. He is with me in it, and won’t let me down. I am growing. There IS a purpose. We serve a good God, he doesn’t just let us go through something hard just for laughs.
I say all this, not to get sympathy or attention for my pain, on the contrary, such words and attention make me feel uncomfortable. I say this to encourage that person who is going through the same thing and is having a hard time finding hope in their situation.
To these friends I say, don’t give up hope. Trust God in the unknowing. Think back and remember the times you have gotten through every other situation, he didn’t let you down then, and he won’t now.
Find the good, it is still there I promise you.