Pain, like laughter, is one of the few universal human experiences shared across cultures and socio-economic statuses all over the world. Sometimes public, sometimes hidden. But the experience of pain… rather the response to it… is one of the most powerful gifts we can offer each other in the Body of Christ. Have you ever overcome a deep moment of temptation? Or been consoled through a tremendous loss? Or seen the unexpected conversion of a loved one? Perhaps it was through the offering of pain by another sister or brother in Christ that effected this grace… only in Heaven will we be made aware of how interconnected the Body is.
And so there is only one way to hurt actually. And it’s, as many might suspect, the way of surrender. The more we resist pain and try to course correct things beyond our control, the more agony we drink into our own soul. But there comes a point in most people’s lives… and especially in all Christian lives, when we will be faced with our own limitations. We can give direction to building our lives and exercising our freedom, but one day, helplessness will walk right up and come into the house of your soul without knocking and make himself at home. And this powerlessness hurts and is a feeling in our human nature to resist. But by laying the table and offering the finest bed to this guest, we become masters of an extraordinary gift…
There’s nothing to be done except peacefully accept this suffering. We abandon ourselves to the mercy of God knowing that He can draw good from everything.
What’s more is that the deepest kind of peace is that which can’t be bought at any old lemonade stand. It’s not a peace that means we’ve achieved a pleasant, problem-free sort of homeostasis. Father Benedict Groeschel (pray for us!) once said that if an angel walked in his room offering a promise of a happy, problem-free life from now on, he’d chase it out as a wicked devil, yelling “No! Never!” Christians have been promised the Cross. It’s our baptismal guarantee and part of our family inheritance. And the most profound kind of peace is the kind that embraces our powerlessness, accepts and even loves our weaknesses to some extent. This unfathomable kind of peace can only be found when we consent to our true, authentic identity as a child of God. He who was not just our Creator… but He who was and is and ever will be our loving Father. By our baptisms we were adopted into His family and there is no other family I’d rather identify with. No other Man I’d rather call Papa than He whose love is inexhaustible… whose mercy never fails. I’ll be just His little girl for as long as I live…
Don’t be afraid to hurt. Don’t be afraid to be fragile. His greatest gifts are often only experienced when we are the most poor and the most wounded.
Happy are those who weep, they will be comforted. So many graces and lessons can be learned only through the painful period of waiting. If we don’t spend days, months or years yearning and begging for His consolation (which He does promise)… our Father’s glory will never be fully manifested or abundantly experienced. He does not answer prayers in response to pious manipulation… but in a way that respects our human dignity and with an eye to a future full of hope and goodness that we ourselves can not see when standing in the deep, shadowy valley.
Anybody out there reading this, know that you aren’t alone in your pain. All of us have been given a custom piece of the Cross. Kiss this relic and identify with it. He will see us through. And know that faith in the promises of our Father is a decision, not a feeling…
We can strengthen the entire Body of Christ this way. We can use our pain. And we can trust that God Himself sees us and allows this suffering as a way to purify our own hearts and bring about the glory of His name.
WOW writing my blog and don’t know how exactly I came across yours however SOOO thankful !!
“The more we resist pain and try to course correct things beyond our control, the more agony we drink into our own soul.” RIGHT??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So YES!! abandon ourselves to the mercy of God knowing EVERYTHING is used for good..for His precious ones…and THATS US!!!!!!!!!!!! MUAH!!!!!!
Beautifully said. This has been something that I have been really comforted by as a new convert.