Last night, as I was preparing dinner, I made the mistake of grabbing a pan handle that was hot. The result was that I immediately pulled my hand back, dropping the pan and all it’s contents on the floor. As you can probably imagine, it made quite the mess - which is why I had to put dinner prep on hold while I spent 20 minutes cleaning up.
So as I was wiping sauce up, and pulling noodles out from under the stove, I was reminded that what happened when I grabbed that pan was a great analogy for what happens in all areas of life when we experience pain - and that is, we recoil. And we try to drop whatever it is that’s causing us the pain. It’s a natural reaction when we experience physical pain, but also when we have emotional or psychological pain. We want to quickly pull pack from whatever it is that’s causing us the pain, because pain is not a comfortable thing. And if we can’t drop the pain, then our next reaction is to push through it as quickly as possible.
For Christians, the problem with this reaction is that God often allows pain and suffering in our lives in order to accomplish something. Romans 8:28 makes this clear as it tells us: “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” So whether it’s to turn us away from sin, or to draw us closer to Him, or to strengthen our faith, or to prepare us to minister to others - God wants to use the pain in our lives for our good, and for His glory. So when we pull back, or try and quickly push through, we will short-circuit what God is trying to do.
So does that mean we seek out pain? No, absolutely not. Life will naturally give us enough pain and suffering without having to seek it out. However, what it does mean is that, when life gives us pain, we have to let God use it for good in our lives. And we can do that by holding on to the truth that God allows us to suffer because He loves us deeply. He knows that pain and struggle have an amazing power to transform us. We see that in the world around us, as some of the world’s most empathetic, loving, and patient people are those who have known suffering, and have experienced devastating loss.
I’m not sure where you are in life when it comes to pain and suffering. Maybe you’ve experienced it at one point, but don’t feel it as much right now. Or maybe the suffering in your life was recent, and you’re just trying to recover and move on. Or maybe you’re going through painful things right now, and are doing all you can to pull away, or push through. Wherever you are on this, join me today in surrendering to God’s plan for our lives - even the difficult and painful parts. Instead of trying to pull away, let’s ask God to use the difficult things of life for our good and His glory. Let’s allow Him to take all the pain, hurt and suffering - and use them to transform us into the people He’s calling us to be.