Pain is the Portal

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He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
    it was our sorrows that weighed him down.

Isaiah 53:3-4

I have a wise friend who always says, “Breakdowns come right before the breakthroughs,” and I tend to believe her. If I look over the course of my life, the worst and most unwanted breakdowns did create a portal for growth and change unlike the times of smooth sailing.

It was the unplanned pregnancy, the church betrayal, the abusive relationship and the affair that set the stage at various points in my life allowing me to face the music and choose to act differently.

Now I don’t suggest you wait until you blow up your life to make a change, but often we don’t know we need to change until a crisis does happen. And then the pain is great enough that we are willing to take a look at what is causing it. Hopefully.

So I recently finished a 40-Day blogging challenge during Lent and I did not expect to dig up so much of my past. It’s brought forth feelings I didn’t know were buried inside and memories I have decided to revisit and heal. This created another crisis. The crisis of self-reflection. Because often life is lived looking in the rearview mirror where we can see the wreckage and make some sense of it.

This has not been easy. In fact I shared a few days ago that I even decided to start working with a therapist for a bit to help me sift through some of the pain and put the pieces of my life into place. And that is called growth.

Life is not about avoiding pain. Life is walking straight into the pain and saying, “God I trust you.” For the unexamined life is not worth living, another wise friend reminded me.

There was a popular Christian song I remember singing at various revivals I attended during my college years called “Refiner’s Fire.” It came to mind as I was writing this so I looked it up and decided to share it with you.

To me it’s all about being open to the fire. Be open to the pain of life and be willing to see how God is using it to make your life richer. Refining is meant to remove the impurities and separate the gold from other less precious metals. And God knows you are Gold.

Today if you are going through your own pain, whether that is emotional pain or physical pain or spiritual pain remember that nothing can separate you from the Love of God. Not your past mistakes, your present challenges or anything that life may bring in the future.

You are in the palm of God’s hand. You are right in the middle of His heart. I say that as much for me today as I do for you. I need to constantly remember that there is more love on the other side of the pain.

Jesus suffered and then he was resurrected. Pain. Then victory. But He had to go through the pain. So must we. Pain is the Portal. Let God do His work, remove your impurities and reveal the Gold that is inside of you.

May this be our prayer today.

God, Allow me to walk through the pain and the fire. Give me the courage to say YES to the refining process you are taking me through right now. Help me to surrender to Your Will. Help me to trust you and reveal the Gold that is in me. I know you are doing for me what I cannot do for myself and I thank you for never leaving me or forsaking me. Amen.

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