When do you grow most in your life?
I asked that question to my Life Group last night, and got a lot of great answers – the Bible, good friends, missions and ministry. One answer really stood out to me: “Pain. God grows me most in the hard times of my life.” The whole Life Group paused, thought for a few moments, then started nodding in agreement.
We all know that we should be praying during our pain. God doesn’t always take away our pain but grows us stronger and surrounds us with people. We have to fight against drifting away – sometimes in pain we withdraw from church, community and Christ. Sometimes in pain we become obsessed with our hurt, and drive others away. We can keep our eyes on our Lord who knows what it means to hurt, be alone, and deeply suffer. We are not alone. We need to pray in the pain, and accept the love of Christ in community.
We also know that the world is full of enough pain (and we don’t need to pray for more!). So often for so many that means when life is good, we want to stay away from those who are hurting. It hurts to hurt with others. Yet this is what God has called us to do: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2 NIV). This last week of my life has been full of the pain of others – from struggling relationships to people drifting from church to people hurting in depression and addiction. It can be wearing, but Jesus is teaching me to actually pray in the pain, pray in those who are hurting in our world who so desperately need Christ and connection. I am praying that God will bring MORE of these people into my life, and into the church. That will mean I will hurt more, and need Christ more. It will mean that I have to keep my eyes on Him and stay encouraged and dive deeper into His love to keep a positive attitude.
Pray in the pain. Pray in your own pain and know you are not alone. Pray in the pain. Pray for more people who are hurting to be brought into your life so that God will use you to heal, and change you in the process of helping others. Pray in the pain.