Pain: the Shortest Path to God

“I’m in pain. I’m in deep trouble. God, save me and keep me safe.” Psalm 69:29 NIRV
There is nothing else in the world that will get a non-believer to pray to God quicker than pain. Physical, emotional, mental it doesn’t matter the stronger the pain the more prayer is involved. I find it funny that men and women every day that do not believe in God turn to him when they are hurting and cannot find a way to get around the problem at hand.
Psalm 69 is one of those psalms that just cry out for the hurting, lost, confused or those in trouble. It is a call and prayer for when you see no other way out. It is moments like these that people realize that we are not Gods and we cannot fix these things on our own. I think it’s a reaction that is hard coded into our being.
For a woman they say the worst pain one can feel is childbirth; for a man kidney stones. That’s physical pain, but there are hurts that we can have that run much deeper than these. Physical pain is something that I have always had a great tolerance for. It’s those pains that you can’t touch; those are the pains that get me.
Pain can call us to a quick call to Jesus, rarely is it not a scream or yelp that would be seen by most as vain. Pain can put us on all fours lamenting to the father to make the pain go away, even if we think he’s not real. People will cry out to him hoping that in this moment there is something more than them to help ease their pain.
There is a power in pain that is found rarely outside of it. When we are hurting in this way there is a vulnerability that can break even the strongest of shells. It is those times that we are but a child crying out to our mother or father to make the pain better. A child learns this because when they hurt and they are screaming it is mom or dad that picks them up and comforts them. It’s natural for the parent to do this.
So when we are older, we still yearn for this. Mom has not been able to pick me up and pack me for a long time, but it’s not mom that I cry out for anymore. It’s not dad either. I cry out to God because I know now that Mom and Dad cannot take care of all the pains that I feel. Today it’s just physical pain of a kidney stone moving around, but I cry out to God to help me through this.
In that pain I plead to God more than I do with just about anything else. That reaction is something that is biblical. The more we hurt the more we cry out to our God. The more guilty we feel for something that we have done; the more grim our earthly situation is; the more we cry out to God. Why?
Why is because we feel so weak and helpless in these situations and we realize the truth that is all through the bible, nothing we do can be done without God. Our weakness is amplified by our pain and with that weakness we draw on the one we should be drawing on for everything. God tells us to bring everything to him. Every hurt, every joy, every question, bring everything to Him. Prayerfully consider each and every action that you take.
It seems like a lot, how can God have time to answer my every question? Because he’s God and he loves you. We can turn to him when we are hurting so much easier because we know we are powerless to do anything about the pains that we are going through. It’s when we are strong and well that our pride keeps us from going to God.
God wishes to be involved in all that you do. There is nothing that you should do that God does not wish to be involved with. God’s not there just for when we hurt, he is there always. God created us and gave us gifts and talents, and he loves to see what we do with them. He calls us to glorify him and lift up his name in celebration.
Every busted knuckle, stubbed toe, twisted ankle is a reminder that God is right there. Why did he create pain? Sin required it. I do not see it completely as a punishment; I think he intended it to be a reminder to us that he is there. That may seem a little sadistic to a lot of folks, but think about it. When we have ran from our God that loves us, and refuse to turn to him, it is only in times of great pain that we reach back to him.
Pain is not a pleasant and happy thing and I’m not trying to make it out to be. Pain hurts, that’s why it’s pain. How many times do you need to touch that hot eye before you remember that it hurts to touch it? How many times do you need to try to fix that absence within you with sex before you realize that it doesn’t work? How many times do you need to hurt before you remember that God is right there?
God doesn’t want us to hurt. He wants us to be with him and love him. He wants us to converse with him always and daily. He wants us to be ever present in his glory. But we can’t do that when we are trying to do it ourselves.
We are the little kids that refuse to let their parents help them reach something that is just outside their reach. We are the teenager that thinks we know best. We are the adult that is too stubborn to listen to someone that is younger teach you a better way to do something. We are the Christians that cling too hard to tradition to realize that we are missing the point of Grace.
The law cannot save us; the Grace of Jesus Christ is something that you cannot earn. The Law cannot stop someone from hurting. The law teaches us a great number of valuable things, but it cannot replace Jesus; it cannot replace grace.
That does not mean that we skip the law. We still have to be told, “Don’t touch that it’s bad for you,” enough times to realize that it’s bad for us. Pain is just that reminder from the law that God is there and with that comes the fact that you don’t have to be perfect, you have Grace. Pain is just another way to get us to let go of the wheel and open up the possibility that God is real. Pain is a reminder that we are not God. Pain is the annoying teacher who you could not stand, but are so thankful you experienced it because of what she taught you.
“The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.” Aristotle

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