Thursday, 9 April 2009

Pain: An Opportunity

Ah, after over 3 months of absence, I have returned to the blogging world. The explanation for my absence is quite simple: I have lacked time and haven't had anything worth writing. But this week I have been reflecting on pain and supposed I would share my thoughts, although I doubt anyone will read this.

Pain. Whether physical or emotional, pain is a God-given opportunity. That sounds strange, but I personally have come to see the truth in this wonderful concept. No, it's not easy. In fact, it's often very hard. But every time we encounter hardship and pain, we have a choice, and our decision may have a greater impact than we may think.

The first choice we can make is not a very difficult one, but results in even more pain and hardship. We can choose to give into pain and everything that comes along with it. We can allow fear to take over the situation and makes things seem a whole lot worse than they really are. Of course, that's what the enemy wants. We can despair, wallow in self-pity, whine, complain, and try to get others to feel sorry for us as well. We can allow our emotional hurts bring us down into depression and feelings of hopelessness. But this choice only makes the hurt more painful and the situation that much more dismal.

The second choice we have when encounter pain and hardship in our lives is to draw closer to our Lord and Saviour. It's an opportunity to come before Him in prayer, seeking Him, being bold before the throne of grace, casting our cares upon Him who cares for us. It's an opportunity for God to show Himself strong in our lives and demonstrate His awesome power and might. We can take refuge and lean on Him. He can be our strength in weakness, our courage in the midst of fear, our bread when we're hungry, and our water when we're thirsty. We can choose to remember what He did for us, how He went to the cross of Calvary, suffered, bled, and died. We can remember the pain and humiliation He endured to save us. I can be thankful for the great price He paid to save me, a wretched sinner, from sin, death, and hell and grant me eternal life and an inheritance undefiled and incorruptible. This is only a fraction of what I can do.

Something that God has been opening to is the fact that I have an influence on others. Right now, my sphere of influence is small--although maybe bigger than I am aware of--but it exists. And as I get older and experience more things, that sphere of influence is going to grow. When other people look at my life, what are they going to see? What will they notice about the way I act, speak, and the manner in which I relate to others? What will they notice about the way I handle trials that come my way? Thus, pain and hardship is an opportunity to shine for Jesus, to display His power, His glory, His love, and His grace to a world that doesn't understand why a loving God allows us to suffer.

This is my earnest prayer: that I may use my trials and pain as God-given opportunities.