If we’re honest, most of us spend quite a bit of our lives avoiding pain. Of course, there’s that whole “no pain, no gain” crowd, but really, most of us are striving for comfort over discomfort, peace over chaos. We like our lives to be secure, manageable, and hopefully filled with a little fun every now and then. If we are able to do this, then most would consider our days a success.
However, the avoidance of pain has some downfalls. Ask a teacher whose student has always been protected by mom and dad and you’ll quickly learn that if we never experience pain, we would never develop into a person capable of dealing with it. Even more aggregious, if we avoid dealing with the painful situations in our lives, we forgo the opportunities they afford us to look forward to the better things ahead. This doesn’t mean we should go searching for painful opportunities; no, we should rejoice in the times of solace and rest that are rarely afforded us. However, it does mean that pain of any kind on this earth should prompt us to look forward to the place where pain is obliterated and Peace reigns (Rev. 21:1-7). For in doing so, our pain is, in part, used to bring God glory, and we recognize that no earthly pain is greater than His provision for it. Also, as Pslam 23 reveals, it’s in the valleys of shadow and death that God comforts us. When we are hurting, He is near.
May God grant us the fortitude to see pain not only as a trial, but also as an opportunity, and may every moment of life be used to demonstrate how great He is.