September 15, 2016
Most of us are very selective about the parts of our lives we voluntarily bring into God’s presence. We hesitate to bring to Him traits that we consider shameful, either because we trick ourselves into thinking He doesn’t see them, we are trying to hide them, or we are ashamed to even think about them. Some of us are so used to living with pain, loneliness, guilt, fear, anxiety and stress that it never occurs to us to ask God to help us deal with various elements of these problems. We assume help is not available. We think the pain is an unavoidable punishment from which there is no relief.
Sometimes we act as though we can accumulate degree-of-difficulty points (like in diving) for overcoming hardship and pain. This is sometimes called the martyr syndrome or victim mentality. I often notice people trying to one up each other by making their own path seem harder, and even bragging about it. “You think your life was tough…wait till you hear this!”
For many, pain of some kind has been such an integral part of growing up that, in a weird way, it is hard for them to navigate life without the pain. They are waiting for the other shoe to drop, and feel they don’t deserve a break. If it weren’t for bad luck, they’d have no luck at all. People like this will actually sabotage situations when they do experience some level of success. Others will go out of their way to create problems to get back into their comfort zone of facing adversity. When preoccupied with our struggles, we tend to forget God is with us and wants to help.
God’s desire is to heal the hurting parts of your life. However, sometimes pain has been with you so long, it becomes part of your identity. When you are addicted to painful patterns, it’s difficult to break free from them. Only repeatedly exposing them to God’s healing presence and applying His instructions from the Bible will bring you long-term healing and freedom.
Have you figured out if you are someone who occasionally precipitates disruption? Maybe instead of making a situation better or resolving it, you actually worsen it. We all fall into these traps. Not many of us manage our pain well. There aren’t many role models. Few people teach us how to properly deal with pain. We all deal with most of our pain internally, hiding that process from our children, but expect our kids to know exactly what to do with their own pain.
Today, turn to your Lord when you are hurting. He will share and reduce your pain. Remember, the Bible is the book about suffering, especially spiritual suffering. The Bible tells how God loved us so much that He miraculously provided a way for ultimate healing. He also has many promises for the smaller daily sufferings we experience. Turn to your Lord when you are in pain and rejoice in these circumstances while remembering that He is with you. He has joy, peace and comfort, as well as a message for you. He is communicating to you through your pain. The Lighthouse Network resource, Comfort At All Cost, will help you understand God’s plan for your pain. If you or a loved one needs a Christian counselor or residential treatment, call our Helpline at 844-Life-Change (844-543-3242). Whether you turn to God to deal with your pain or you turn to a limited, powerless and finite object — it’s your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I am so grateful that I can come to You no matter what my condition is. I come just as I am. Thank You, Father. I am relieved that I don’t have to “clean up my act” beforehand. You already know the worst about me. When I am hurting, I want to be with someone who understands me without condemning me. When I am happy, I delight in being with someone who loves me enough to celebrate with me. I pray that You will help me bring more and more of myself to You. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who divides my pain and multiplies my joy, Jesus Christ. And all God’s children say AMEN!
“The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:6-10
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to set the captives free, and recover sight to the blind, and to set at liberty them that are bruised.” Luke 4:18