Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pain Begs for Change...

Pain begs for change, doesn't it? I came across this thought while reading Barbara Taylor Brown’s book, An Altar in the World. When we are in pain, we want it to go away, don’t we? We want our circumstances to change, our paths to straighten our hurts to dissipate.  Pain does indeed beg for a change.

A friend of mine talked about how pain colored her world when she lived in a particular U.S. state that will remain nameless. Her pain was intense, unrelenting; however, her pain provoked her toward CHANGE -- a change in mindset, a change in her communication with God -- In her pain, she renewed and strengthened her relationship with God to a point that she may not have otherwise reached had it not been for her pain. Indeed, pain begs for change, and I would venture to say each of us has our own testimony of change through pain.

I recall seeing my children in pain. No parent wants to see a child hurt even if it’s from a simple scrape on the knee. As loving parents, we hope our children will be pain free; however, we know that unless they experience the pain and challenges of living, they cannot grow or change into thriving adults.

When Brennan was 18 months old, he was hospitalized for 5 days with a bone infection. We had noticed a decline in his activity. He wasn’t playing on the playground at school. He seemed sad, but we were unaware of his pain. We just pushed him to play and wondered why he was down.

One day, however, as he was walking out to the playground, I noticed the slightest limp in his left leg. He wasn’t talking much yet, but I asked him about his leg, and he managed to tell me that it was hurting. After x-rays with the doctor and an MRI, it was concluded that Brennan had an infection in his hipbone.

The infection prompted our hospital stay and 5 days of IV antibiotics. At the time, our children’s hospital was in need of updating. The beds for the children were like little cages. Truly, they were  cribs, but they were made of metal bars and seemed a bit archaic. Each night, I climbed into Brennan’s little cage and curled up next to him while he was hooked up to his IV. During the night, the nurses would come in and take him to a brightly lit room for vitals and blood work. This was excrutiating. For Brennan it was painful, for me it was torture to see him held down by the nurses, his little body tense from screaming.

After our 5th day, we were discharged and sent home with 3 month's worth of oral antibiotics. Brennan’s hip pain begged for change. Had we not sought out medical attention, the infection could have spread and been much worse than it was – it was bad enough.

So many of us are faced with challenges of our own, but when it comes to our children, we would easily take their pain upon ourselves. We would bare their burdens and carry their load. That’s how God feels about us, His children.

While He may allow us to suffer a little while on Earth, “…our light and momentary troubles are acheieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17).  

Pain begs for change. It is not our destiny to remain on this Earth. It is not our destiny to stay in pain. Our destiny is change from pain into glory.

Change leads us to breakthrough. There is no breakthrough without struggle, there is no breakthrough without change, there is no breakthrough without pain. Pain drives us to break through. God provokes us to come to Him in our pain. God always meets us in our pain no matter the source, no matter our condition. God is the God of all Comfort. There is none beside.

 "Shall we indeed accept good from God, and... not... adversity?" (Job 2:10). Even Christ, the Lamb of God, suffered pain. In His pain and through His pain, His comfort rested in His Father. Matthew said, "Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered."  The Psalmist reminds us, "My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life."  

In this week of Passover leading to Easter, remember the change that Christ has given us through His very pain and suffering on the cruel cross. His death and resurrection assures us that our pain here on Earth is temporary, light in comparison to what we could have suffered had there been no Savior. Graciously, Jesus bore our suffering and has given us the promise of life-eternal free from pain forever - the ultimate in change.

Hold fast to His promise.