Befriending Your Pain

“I want to say to you that most of our brokenness cannot be simply taken away. It’s there. And the deepest pain that you and I suffer is often the pain that stays with us all our lives. It cannot be simply solved, fixed, done away with. . . . What are we then told to do with that pain, with that brokenness, that anguish, that agony that continually rises up in our heart? We are called to embrace it, to befriend it. To not just push it away . . . to walk right over it, to ignore it. No, to embrace it, to befriend it, and say that is my pain and I claim my pain as the way God is willing to show me his love” (Henri Nouwen).

C. S. Lewis said that God speaks to us through our pain. Oftentimes, pain is the only way for God to get our attention, distracted as we are by our pleasures and pursuits. Living in a beautiful but broken world, it’s not hard to find pain. God simply uses that pain to speak to us, to gently remind us that He is near, to mold us into something closer to His likeness.

The growth itself is painful as well. The transition from selfish to selfless, from hateful to loving, from carless to caring is never easy and is never enjoyable, but it is necessary. All growth of any kind hurts. But more painful is to remain stunted and unfulfilled all your life and to never realize your full God-given potential. So basically, there’s no escape from pain.

But God is stronger than the pain. After the pain ends — and all pain must end eventually — God remains. God works all things together for good, even suffering, and makes it all more than worth it in the end.