Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Only He Can Make Your Bad Stuff Good...

"Take away my capacity for pain and you rob me of the possibility of joy. Take away my ability to fail and I would not know the meaning of success. Let me be immune to rejection and heartbreak and I would not know the glory of living." -Ross W. Marks

I don't know who Ross Marks is, but I love this quote. Especially that first line..."take away my capacity for pain and you rob me of the possibility of joy..."

I've been burdened with the subject of pain the last week or so. I had lunch with a friend on Sunday and, when talking through a bit of a touchy subject...with love, of course...I heard myself say that the potential for pain wasn't a deciding factor for me in this situation, or any, for that matter. Now, I didn't plan to say that. I hadn't thought the words through in any way, but I did mean them. Why? Simply because the most painful events of my life have also, without question, been the most beautiful and fruitful.

And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:2b-5)

Let me be clear. I'm not saying that I loooooove pain. I'm not even saying I'm really a fan of pain. And I'm CERTAINLY not saying that we should wallow in our pain...that's a whole different story. What I am doing, however, is admitting that pain has a very specific place and benefit in our lives...a benefit worth rejoicing over...but we spend our days running from it, like it's the devil himself. And not just running. We plot, we plan, we think ahead and manipulate, we self-protect, we shelter and build walls around ourselves, all in the name of safety from pain.

I believe that pain suppressed, pain ignored, pain avoided, is one of the enemy's greatest weapons of destruction. It can destroy you, and those you love. Pain accomplishes what nothing else can...it brings a specific kind of abundance and joy...


October 16, 2006

"We live in a fallen world. It hurts. Situations and people cause us pain...we disappoint ourselves. One thing I have learned since I lost my big brother, probably the most valuable, is the truth that nothing can ever destroy me as long as I have Jesus, and I choose to look to Him. I am privileged to join the ranks of others who, first-hand, know this truth. We are not destroyed. We are encouraged and hopeful and in love with a God that can take the darkest moment of our lives thus far and shine His light so bright, that it becomes something beautiful and life-changing."


I love that 2 weeks after Chad's death, this is where He had my heart. It was all so beautiful and life-changing that I would go back and live through it again, just to behold that beauty and cherish the moments. I really would. Pain that is acknowledged, felt, embraced in a godly and healthy manner, accomplishes through Christ a beauty that nothing else can fathom.

After all, isn't it pain that accomplished the Cross? Isn't it the profound suffering of our beautiful Savior that accomplished our freedom and eternal life?

"What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race... (Ecc. 3:9-10a)

And it IS work, isn't it? Working through your past, dealing with the baggage, feeling all the hurt, and going back to places you would assume forget? It IS work to begin a journey that frightens you, to choose vulnerability, to take the road less travelled? It IS work to walk by faith, when another way seems to make much more sense. It IS work!

But let Him finish...

"What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." (Ecc. 3:9-11)

Ephraim.

It all comes back to Ephraim.