Often times people think of pain within Christianity as the “judgment of God” and falsely believe that if we are doing everything right then nothing bad will happen to us. (The only real problem with this thought is Jesus did everything right and wound up on a cross!)
BUT…pain isn’t always a bad thing; in fact, there are four things I am discovering about pain through this process…
#1 - Pain Is A Powerful Reminder
Honestly, when I first signed up for this marathon in Nashville I thought, “I am going to DOMINATE this thing.” I had gone on a couple of really great pre-training runs and was feeling like I was unstoppable.
Then “pain” came into my life and reminded me of how human I am…reminded me that I am getting old…and reminded me that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was.
The same is true in my walk with Christ…many times He allows pain to come into our lives to remind us that we aren’t as good as we thought we were…and without HIS help, HIS anointing and HIS favor we are absolutely screwed in regards to doing something that will have significant and lasting impact.
I know from personal experience that some of the most painful experiences I’ve had in life and leadership have driven me to my knees in desperation for God…and through that pain I saw the endless possibilities of a God who is all-powerful and unstoppable!
Pain is a reminder that I am not Sovereign—He is—and that I desperately need Him!
#2 - Pain Is A Strong Signal
When pain hits it MUST be examined…the worse thing a person can do is ignore the signals that the body is so clearly sending.
When my achilles first began hurting I tried my best to pretend it wasn’t happening…until it began to hurt so bad that it caused a noticable limp. (And then people began asking me, “Why are you limping?” I tried to deny that I was…but other people aren’t as stupid as me!) I finally realized that my body was screaming at me, “HEY IDIOT…you can’t continue to run like this, something has GOT to CHANGE!”)
Like I have said before—pain does not always equal punishment—in my case it was my body warning me that if something did not change then real, serious pain was heading my way!
God often uses pain to get our attention…and to ignore the pain isn’t “playing tough,” its “playing stupid.” I once had a friend who had a car where the check engine light always came on…and so in order to ignore it he finally put black electrical tape on his dashboard over the light…I guess he figured if he didn’t address it then it was not real.
BUT I’ve discovered that ignoring pain isn’t the best way to deal with it. Sure, there are times that we’ve got to “play hurt”—but EVERY TIME we experience something painful we should ALWAYS stop and ask, “Is Jesus trying to tell me something with this?” Addressing the painful issue that He brings to our attention will often times prevent a full blown breakdown in the future!