Not All Wounds Heal: Writhing, Thriving in Pain – Part 2

Continued from Not All Wounds Heal: Writhing, Thriving in Pain – Part 1.

You may walk through years of questions that aren’t answered and grief that does not subside. You may live a difficult life with challenges and tragedies. But what will you do with it? Will you become bitter? Will you try to negate God? Or will you believe that there is more than meets the eye, that He has a grand plan that you may not be able to see, and that even though you aren’t controlling it, it is good?

Weakness: The Antidote to Pride

We curse our weaknesses, hide them or find some way to glorify them so that we don’t have to look at our failures to overcome them. If we make light of a past hurt or trauma, we don’t have to acknowledge our pain. If we laugh about how much we drink, and paint a carefree, party image of our lives, we don’t have to really confront the problem of weakness and addiction.

Yet we need to honestly acknowledge our weaknesses, failures and shortcomings. Rather than assume that God is punishing us or that we’re just bad people, we need to see that God has a purpose in this. We can’t know exactly what that is, but God’s aim is always relational. He wants intimacy with you and dependence from you.

But it is our pride that quashes the willingness to be authentic, to admit need or to reach out to God for help. We want to show the world we are powerful, that we have it all together, and that we are the masters of our destiny. But how is that working for you?

God will use your pain, your weakness, and your failure to draw you nearer to Him. He will gently but firmly bring you to surrender. He will teach you humility. And then, as you finally wave the white flag, He will waste no time in supplying you with strength, grace and love beyond anything you could have asked or imagined.

Sweet Spot: Your Place of Pain

The thing you want to end, to get away from, to eliminate, to forget about, to drown and drink away—this is your sweetest spot, your greatest opportunity. It is the tender, beautiful place where God is to be found and His power is to be experienced. He is nearest to you in this very place and it is the experience He will use to help you to be a blessing in the lives of others. More than happiness, most people desire purpose. Your greatest purpose in life will very likely issue directly forth from your place of greatest pain. Be willing.

Strength in Weakness

No one likes to feel weak or to not have proper control of behaviors or feelings. We cringe as we see that we still grieve powerfully over broken relationship or that we continue falling into the same addictive traps no matter how many times we’ve sworn we wouldn’t. But this doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Though our culture rails against any sign of weakness and condemns those who haven’t figured out how to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” the Lord takes a different approach. He welcomes our weaknesses. He delights in them. When we admit and show that we are weak, we show that God is mighty. And this brings glory to Him. We deflect the credit and the compliments away from ourselves and shine them on Him.

God’s power is made perfect in weakness. And Paul, seeing this, became all the more excited to simply admit his many weaknesses because he loved to see God’s power expressed in his life. Rather than living a life of secret fighting, or trying to keep up the façade of perfection, and thus keeping God at arm’s length, he could be himself in all of his messy, painful, sinful imperfection. In doing so, He opened the door wide for God’s power to go wild in his life. For him, that was a glorious pursuit.

Writhing and Thriving in Pain

It is possible to thrive in the midst of pain and to rejoice in the face of weakness. But how do we do it?

To thrive, we must stop fighting. That doesn’t mean setting the hurt aside and refusing to look at it, it means embracing it with both arms. Take it to God, confess it, learn from it, and bring others into the struggle. And as you do, you may begin to see how this weakness—this very thing that you hate—might be the means by which you come to know God more intimately than you could have imagined, and by which you may minister to other hurting, broken, needy people.

Don’t hide your pain, your trauma or your weaknesses. Boast in them, embrace them, expose them, and allow God to work in them and through them. God’s victory is yours. His grace and power are more than sufficient for whatever you face.