Pain is part of life. If you think life is a long joy ride, you’d better take your head out of the sand. Do not hide behind the fear and discomfort of confronting deep seeded issues; do not think that by swiping concerns or worries under the rug, they don’t exist or that they will simply go away.
Pain is part of life and letting yourself live in a superficial, ignorant bliss, will only make the blow so much more blinding and painful when your entire life is going to come apart at the seams. But don’t despair as you are not alone!. Whether you’re still riding your wave of ignorance or you’re burdened by so much pain you feel like you’re going to crash, God is always by your side and he will heal you from pain for good if you follow 5 simple steps.
God is your creator and if you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, God is your Father, ”Yet to all those who receive him” – in referring to Jeus Christ- “to those who believed his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, not of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:6)
God, as your Father, loves you and He will never give up on you! He will always seek to bring you on the path of becoming your best self. However, just like earthly parents, at times God has to use pain to get a child’s attention to teach and redeem.
There are times in your life when you are so entranced in sin, stubbornness, destructive goals, unproductive behaviors, etc., that only pain has the power to get your attention. Jesus himself learned through pain, “Although he was a son” – in referring to Jesus Christ – “he learned obedience from what he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8). Wow! That’s powerful! God didn’t even spear Jesus from pain, so sure He won’t spare you.
So yes, God uses pain at times to help you learn whatever you need to learn at different stages in your life, but pain is not God’ choice because no loving parent enjoys seeing his child in pain, “Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to any human being.” (Lamentations 3’32-33)
God is unfailing is his relentless love for you, and he brings pain your way to get your attention. Pain is miserable so you instantly seek relief, but here’s the kicker: Seek God for pain relief because only God can help you banish pain for good: “Not only so, but we also glory in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
So what to do when you are in pain? Here are the 5 steps that will help you banish pain for good:
1. Do not make assumptions. When pain strikes, you have to resist the urge to jump to conclusions or to overreact! Do not make assumptions about why the pain has been brought into your life. These assumtions will take you into greater despair and make you take actions that will deepen the pain further. Remember you want to banish pain for good! Do not jump to conclusions by saying things such as: “I am going down. It is my fault. She doesn’t love me anymore. We should never have gotten married., etc” Take time before you judge and assume the cause of pain because if you make the wrong assumptions, you are going down a road that will only worsen things.
2. Do Not Fix the Problem Yourself. Pain strikes deep into your heart, so you seek immediate relief because no one wants to be in pain. The quickest way to find relief from pain is to eat an extra slice of cake or a burger, go spend a little too much money, loose yourself into work, drink an extra glass of wine, pop a Xanax pill, indulge in inciting sexual escapades, plunge into cocaine, heroin, other drugs… And why not?…
The pill popping, the spending, the illicit sexual behavior all make you feel better and your mind in distracted. Yes, your heart shuts down, but who cares, the pain is gone! Ha, you even tricked God! You don’t need God, you just need another pair of shoes or another sexual escapade and the pain is gone! But remember, God never gives up on you so He comes knocking at the door with more pain hoping you are ready to listen now.
I understand how tempting it is to find fixes to your pain in superficial pleasures because the pain can be so bad and go on and on that it comes a point that you desperately need just a bit of comfort. So a little pill or a sexual escapade can dull the pain and maybe even put a fake, sort of smile on your face. But you have to stay strong! Ask God for strength because if you give into “patching up” the pain, in the short term you may find some relief, but eventually you will bring more pain your way and to every loved one that’s around you.
3. Do not look outside of you. When pain hits, it is normal to rush to blame others especially when the pain is not of your own doing. But even when you are the main source of pain, normal human behavior makes it difficult to take responsibility for your own actions and you are tempted to shift the blame unto others.
God brought this pain because He wants to get YOUR attention, so when you blame others, you are not addressing the reason for the pain. Put aside all pride, all ego, and ask God: “God, what are you wanting to teach me? What do you want me to learn?” Depending for how long you’ve been running away, lying to yourself that everything is “fine and dandy”, the more lessons you have to learn. So persist in your prayer and ask God repeatedly: “God, what do you want me to learn?”
4. Turn to God. God has a special love for you. He knows you intimately, every thought, every desire, every weakness, every sorrow, every mistake. So His teachings to you are deeply personal. After you ask God what He wants you to learn from your pain, quiet your mind, stop everything, and listen to God. The lesson he wants you to learn is a deeply personal lesson, just for you. Maybe you hid in fear all your life and he wants you to learn to speak up. Maybe you were afflicted with addiction, and he wants you to break from your addiction. Turn to God and ask Him for daily guidance. When you are unsure, tell Him: “God, I do know know what to do! Please, help me!”
I recently asked God for guidance because I am lost without him. I was running errands and I said: “God, please give me wisdom beyond my years and tell me what to do.” He instantly – what a blessing – said to me: “Speak from your hear!” But my turning to God didn’t stop there because what does speaking from my heart mean? In what tone should I speak? Softly, angrily, happily? And how deep should I really go into my heart? So I continued to ask God to help me understand what speaking from my heart meant. It took days but I am pretty sure I’ve learned what God’s plan is for me.
This stage may make you feel exposed and vulnerable. It may even make you admit to mistakes you’ve made in the past so guilt will follow. However, humbly accept your shortcomings in front of God and ask God to help you learn from your weaknesses. Yes, the process will be painstakingly uncomfortable, ridden with remorse, full with fear and uncertainty but all these negative feelings will be temporary and so worth it! Because in the end you will emerge a strong, vibrant person who is at peace with yourself and with God.
5. Always Stay True to Your Real Self. When pain strikes deep into your heart, you panic and you become capable of doing things outside your character. Now imagine that pain goes on day after day, week after week, month after month. You think you can’t take anymore pain, and then more pain is dumped onto you and a month later, more pain is dumped onto you and a month later, more pain is dumped onto you. Your once safe world is coming apart. Hurt, betrayal, despair cloud every second of your breathing life. In the midst of all this you need to remember the following:
All this hurt is thrusted onto you because God needs your attention but the Evil one will use the pain against you with one and only intent: to dismantle your true self. The Evil one will use this pain and work tirelessly to turn into a bitter, dishonest, revengeful, cold, mean, inconsiderate and ultimately evil person. Do not stray away from your true self! Ask God for strength in the face of evil and find the power within you to stay as the lovely person you are. Do not let any amount of pain change who you really are.
Yes, you’ve been hurt, maybe by the closest person to you, maybe you’ve been betrayed and humiliated by many. You cannot let those who hurt you and the circumstances that hurt you change the character of who you truly are. If you veer from your true self, you forgo your inner peace and you are going to dislike yourself to the point of self hatred. And when self hatred takes root in your heart, you are asking for more pain in your life because… remember, God loves you and He never gives up on you so… BAM! He brings more pain your way hoping to get your attention yet once again.
God uses pain to bring you out of your comfortable blissful ignorance and expose your sin. He knows the amazing person you are and wants you to raise above all your weaknesses and become your best self. So yes, no one likes pain, but embrace the pain as God talking to you. Ask God what He is trying to teach you; ask Him for constant guidance; ask Him to give you strength to stay your true self and in the end you will emerge a better, stronger person who is closer to God more than ever before.
Note. This article has been inspired by the amazing book Love & War by John and Stasi Eldredge
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