Emotional, relational, situational, circumstantial, physical and mental pain is a reality of life. Every life. Just hearing those words I can safely assume you've conjured up images of past painful events of your life. Perhaps it stung your heart right now because of present pain in your life.
Pain is usually a momentary motivator to let us know something is wrong or has done harm to us and signals to us that we should retreat and seek safety. Think of touching a hot stove... it is ridiculous to think that you'd leave your hand on the heat while you consulted Google to see if you should stop touching it or not. Pain says "get out."
But pain often goes far beyond the momentary to the chronic. Chronic pain is a lingering condition, not a momentary warning sign. If a painful moment is a warning that something is wrong and must be dealt with, then chronic pain is generalized condition that something is "always" wrong, and hopelessness can set in when it seems like nothing can be done. Understanding chronic pain as an ongoing, generalized condition that has the potential to lead to discouragement and hopelessness brought me to this realization: The sin nature is the chronic pain of the entire human race.
We are all sisters and brothers of the chronic pain resulting from the sin nature. I live with chronic pain and so do you. As I sat in a town hall meeting last night addressing heroin addiction in Bradford, PA, it became quite clear to me that the resounding theme in the room was PAIN.
Something seemed to be very clear to me: We have lost sight of how to deal with pain in ways that lead us to life, health and wholeness. We have conditioned ourselves to reach for solutions that are not solutions at all. I would like to share some thoughts that were aroused in my mind as I listened and prayed in this meeting last evening.
How do you deal with your pain? When relational or emotional pain emerges, what action do you take? Do you find rest in unhealthy habits, emotions, language, actions or substances? They are not the answer.
Lord Jesus, help us through your great wisdom to learn to deal with our pain in ways that do not add to our death, but lead to life. We thank you that you can relate to our pain, not just because your bore the stripes, but you also bore our chronic sin. Call us to hunger and thirst for a move of your powerful hand in our midst. Spring up wells of compassion in our hearts. Draw us to greater revelation and understanding. Heal our land.
Brett Heintzman is passionate about the spiritual formation of God's people. These writings are designed to draw us close to God and to help us live out of the riches of His presence. It's all about being in the world but not of the world.