The Transforming Power of Pain

Posted: November 21, 2012 in Hurt, Jesus Christ, Job, Pain
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Hurt and Pain

Hurt and pain are magnified during the holidays. Loved ones who no longer gather around the Thanksgiving turkey; friends and family who have been crossed off our Christmas card list because of hurts they have caused. Gifts we can no longer afford because of economic setbacks. A home lost, a spouse or child gone, a family fractured by conflict all serve to remind us of pains and hurts that lurk in the darkest corner of our heart.

Having counseled many different people, I can attest to the sadness and depression prevalent during the holidays.  I know several people who dread the holidays. They seem to fall into a depressed dark hole around mid-November and slowly emerge in January.

Americans: self-absorbed with our feelings

Our spoiled American society is self-absorbed with its own feelings. Many people take pride in seeing themselves as victims and demand special tolerance, favors, and gifts. Americans too often give into their hurts and setbacks and expect someone to baby them or rescue them. We have our hands out far too often.

When we allow our heart and mind to be overwhelmed with our painful experiences, rejections, or emotional hurts, overwhelmed to the point of obsessive concern or depression, we cast aside any healing and deny the growth which can and should occur.

We find comfort in our emotional state, accepting it as a bandage, afraid to peel it back and apply healing ointment to the wound. Many cling to their emotions because they provide special “handicap” privileges, and they use their pain to justify what they believe, say or do. The pain is accepted and protected, but it is a demonic delusion that only perpetuates immaturity and denies the transformational power of Christ’s freedom and forgiveness.

Pain is designed to teach, transform and mature us, not box us into the darkness. Hebrews 2:10 says Christ learned by the things He suffered. His pain was His teacher. This is why He began his ministry by reading Isaiah 61:1, 2:

[God]…has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Jesus Christ came to free us from our pain and hurt, and to transform our lives to become the “planting of the Lord.”

…to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. Isaiah 61:3

The Transforming Power of Christ

Our painful experiences highlight the contrasts between this earthly life and the glorious life for which God is preparing us. However, the truth is, God wants us to experience this glorious life NOW, as we overcome the pain and suffering through faith in the power of Christ.

The power that Jesus provides for those trapped in pain is miraculous:

When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. (James 1:2-4, Phillips translation)

Jesus Christ reigns over every situation, even the ones of our own creation. He is the transforming power, but we must let go of the pain and through faith allow Him to be in control. We have to believe in the quality of endurance He will build in our lives!

A mind focused on pain will speak pain

The sad reality is that a mind that focuses on pain will most often speak pain, and, if left unchecked, will drive others away. Sharing a painful experience with a trusted friend is empowering and emotionally bonding, but continually sharing it with anyone who will listen deludes us into thinking that it is good for us when it is actually a kind of psychosis. Preoccupation with personal pain denies the presence of the power of Jesus Christ in your life. It produces no peace or love or joy. It is a faith killer.

Proverbs 23:7 teaches, “For as [one] thinks in his heart, so is he. Jesus shed further light when He said, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person” (Matthew 15:18). When we possess and obsess the pain and hurt, it will defile our heart and it will destroy our relationships.

It is easy to get caught up in life’s painful experiences, especially when you have more than your fair share. Paul (while himself suffering imprisonment) wrote, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). Consider Job, who suffered more pain and loss than any man on earth. Job did not receive healing and restoration until he prayed for his friends.

Job 42:10 And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

The best way to put aside pain is to care for the needs of someone else. The best way for your inner healing to take place, is to realize Jesus Christ experienced your pain so that you can experience His freedom. Rather than wallow in pity and despair at the suffering before Him, Jesus set His face like a flint to Calvary, and endured the pain for the joy that was set before Him.

Jesus promises us that His joy, the joy that got Him through the crucifixion, is OUR JOY!

John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Holidays often bring pain and hurts to the forefront of our thoughts. When someone asks, feel free to express some of the painful events in your life as long as you are doing so in expression of the freedom you have experienced in Jesus Christ. And do not forget to show interest and concern for their experiences, and offer them the encouragement and freedom that only Jesus Christ can give.

Love, to be real, must cost – it must hurt – it must empty us of self. Mother Teresa

Pain is Temporary! I Dare You to take a little PAIN! At the end of pain is SUCCESS!

Listen to this challenge from Eric Thomas!

Pain is Temporary. I Dare You to take a Little Pain from Jim Tompkins on Vimeo.

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