It’s Only a Flesh Wound!

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For the past few days I’ve contemplated suffering.  Not the pain in and of itself, but rather what role pain plays in my life – my decisions, ideas, plans, relationships, etc.  As I move through each day in the aftermath of Don’s passing, the pain of missing him moves with me.  It changes me.

I read somewhere that pain is what changes us.  We are (generally speaking) creatures who like comfort and take the path of least resistance.  The article I read posited that pain was the only catalyst for true and lasting change in our person.  I think that might be true.  In particular – and my own personal experience – I think that pain is the catalyst for changing how we view the world.

Before God saved me, I reacted to pain and suffering in my life with rage against Him.  And fueled by that rage, I would vow not to break.  I was as ridiculous and insane as the Black Knight in Monty Python’s The Holy Grail.  “Ha, God!  It’s only a flesh wound!  I’ll bite your legs off!”  I chose defiance and bitterness with God as my reaction to pain and it changed the way I saw everything.  I viewed people cynically and with suspicion – everything was broken and everyone had an angle.  My vision dimmed and blurred until I saw nothing and no one and didn’t even realize I had become blind.

Now that I’m His, I react differently to suffering.  I let the pain break me, and I bring Him my brokenness and say “Help me.  I can’t bear it and I can’t fix it and I hurt.”  I let my Father hold me, and He lets me cry in His arms.  Then the Comforter comes and dries my eyes.  When I open them, I find that I see a little clearer than I did the day before.  I see Jesus.  I see Him in other people.  I see the Father’s hand and heart in the world around me.  I choose to thank Him and praise Him for allowing the pain that breaks me.  And I feel the healing of my broken heart take place – one piece at a time, one day at a time.

The pain I feel now is sharper than any before, but so is my vision.  I see more clearly every day that while my world is dimmer without Don, my God shines brighter all the time.

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