Recently I heard my Creative Worship Pastor Drew Powell from Cross Point share a message of how we interact when we go through pain. This is perhaps one of the most sensitive kinds of communication. None of us want to talk about or even address a past pain or tear. This came across my heart like an ointment, touching my very soul.
What pain has taken place in your life, that you have never wanted to address? How have you worked through the darkest moments of your life and what are you proactively doing to illuminate the caverns in your soul?
Isn't it always easier to simply not think about your past problems. Remember in the Lion King, the joke about "It's all in your past after he was struck in the head". We laugh, but underneath smiles there can be so many challenge areas of your life and like a physical wound, they need healing too.
My children are having trouble bearing children and the while there is an outward sign of acceptance, the feelings of hurt, depression and even resentment can easily overtake them. We, like many other have been praying for them to conceive a child, but nothing has happened so far. A pain is building. I am so very proud of my son who is written about this openly accepting whatever the future is and learning to be thankful. However, like all pains whether small, big or even buried, they can surface at the worst times.
In God's word when Job had difficulties, the Lord stepped out of the whirlwind and simply made a powerful group of statements and asked, "I have some questions for you to answer." There are times in our lives when God himself places us in the middle of a storm and He does this to allow us to see life through another lens. "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth and called the morning into existence?"
Drew pointed out that God said, "Brace yourself like a man" to Job. Even God knews there are storms when you will have to brace yourself for huge conflicts. J. Franklin recently talked about how God has placed all the disciples in the boat knowing full well the storm was coming. He knew they needed to see life from the unsafe waters, not from the safe shores. Did you really understand what this means, is my question to all of us...
Whatever your pain, God sees you. He knows the pain you have endured in your life and understands more than you know or realize. His Son went through amazing pain, for us. He knew you before, during and what you will do in the future and His plan is from a different perspective. I recently bought a red shirt that said Perspective on the front but it was graphically communicated backwards, so it only reads proper when looking in a mirror.
There have been many times in my life where the pain became so unbearable, I didn't know if I would live. In my childhood, I experienced some horrible crimes against me. Only a handfull of people know because it is painful to openly discuss and I don't want to hurt anyone. Things upon which I have never shared publicly but I know might wound some people are better left secret,
Through a great deal of counseling I learned that God was with me, even when I became a victim in the worst storm a child might ever have to endure. Later in life, the residual issues of insecurity which were torments to my heart continued and manifested themselves. Like a domino, my fears which were buried began to resurface and after an unexpected flashback, I realized why I had issues all of my life in an area.
Through failure in a marriage because of built up fear, anger and resentment, I lost who I was and why I was born. There were many reasons I had been placed in the storms and they were to make me more like God. It has even made me mad at God for allowing things to happen to me personally. What if I just chose to blame God the rest of my life? Some people do this to others even now.
Even when people didn't understand or they wrongfully judge, we know this is not right. Feelings are still present during pain and we must be able to see through a different lens, a God lens. Through pain, I was able to have more compassion. When my own children felt I was abandoning them, the trials were only beginning. Then, when I felt my own children were abandoning me, it was the natural discourse created by the enemy. Neither was true, because we can never abandon our children if we love them.
As an older man, I have come to know that God loves me just as if I were a newborn child. He will keep putting me through storms, because He wants me to be more like Him and I am still under construction. Through spiritual counseling, I have become more endeared to wise counsel, more desirous to know God's word and more real about others and their pain too. The pain I have had in my past I am still dealing with, but I approach the solutions differently. This does not mean I am cured, but still "in process".
Learning to have grace, to be filled with compassion, to surrender my heart over to His love on a daily basis causes me to love Jesus more. Sometimes it is really hard tho. This helps me love others who are not like me and to reduce any judgement on anyone as I don't know the pain they have gone through, or what they are facing now. I do know they need love and prayer.
Don't worry about how others feel or what they think of you. If you have a pain, then find someone who will sit down and talk with you about it this, as a friend, a comrade and will not be filled with judgement. Professional counselors who have an understanding of the Lord are rare, so scrutinize. We support HIS TRUTH TRANSFORMS because we know their heart.
Confess those things in your heart where trials or temptations have conquered your spirit for a time. No problem is too big or too great for God. Pray more and remember when you do, you are not just speaking words to the air, but instead you are communicating with the creator of the universe. Keep believing, even when others decide for one reason or another, they don't believe in you anymore.
I am thankful for a pastor who will speak truth like Drew did this past Sunday. I am also thankful to Craig Groeschel for asking us to pray for his daughter Mandy because of her pain. Honesty means, "Accurately reporting the facts to those you love, even when it hurts", and we must all be respectful of each other. It takes bravery to overcome every pain and situtuation we are facing. It's not easy to ask for prayer, but sometimes pain leads us to this.
This morning I am praying for you. For every person who reads this, just know you were prayed for this morning because I love you. I believe you carry within you the pearls of the universe. These jewels were placed around your neck because you have suffered and the BIble says, "There is a crown of righteousness waiting for you" because of your faithfulness.
If you have messed up, you have made mistakes, you have done things you are ashamed, we serve a God of second chance and He has a new doorway for you. Don't allow stinking thinking to destroy you when you think of yourself and allow it to crush your spiirt.
Unfortunately, we have a young friend addicted to heroine and she has to face some serious choices soon. These will be of life and death and her pain right now is very great, So, we join together as a community and pray for her, because we believe healing can take place, through every pain. Yes, even the impossible and supernatural can turn the chartered boat of your life into a new nautical direction filled with hope.
The Hoskins family believed strongly the importance in sharing the BOOK OF HOPE to people around the world. They sacrificed and gave everything to make this mission possible. Decades later, there are nations who have been given a book of hope, because of their belief in providing hope through every pain. We celebrate this ministry in helping people overcome.
Sometimes, you will have to play through the pain and in this, we are remembering you, even today.
Dr. Kevin McAfee
Kevin McAfee is a filmmaker who writes for the purpose of inspiring others to make a difference in the world through faith in God and using the visual language of film. His blog shares the hopes of impacting culture, because his heart is in media missions and the church.