There was once a man driving along the road and he was involved in an accident with another car towing a horse float. A few months later he tried to claim damages for his injuries, but the insurance company lawyer questioned his claim. “How can you now claim to have all these injuries?” he was asked “According to the police report, at the time you said you were not hurt.”
“Well It’s like this,” said the man. “I was lying in the road in a lot of pain, and I heard someone say the horse had a broken leg. The next thing I know the police officer pulled out his gun and shot the horse. Then someone came and asked me, “Are you okay?””
Pain and hope are strange companions, but great companions.
In Good to Great, Jim Collins said the chief job of leaders is to never lose hope AND name the reality they’re facing, no matter how brutal it is. He called it the Stockdale Paradox, quoting from POW Jim Stockdale:
You must never ever ever confuse, on the one hand, the need for absolute, unwavering faith that you can prevail despite those constraints with, on the other hand, the need for the discipline to begin by confronting the brutal facts, whatever they are.
Carey Nieuwhof - Canadian Preacher and Leadership Blogger
Now I see pain more clearly. Pain is not the enemy. False beliefs are the enemy. Lies are the enemy. We can waste years running from pain and avoiding difficult truths about ourselves. But when we get clarity around our pain, we can pursue the healing we need. We can stop fearing pain and begin to embrace it. Pain helps us see where something is unhealthy inside us. When you find out what’s causing the pain, you can get the help you need.
For me Jesus has become the focal point of faith and increasingly I am learning to keep the magnifying glass of my faith focused on him. In my Spiritual journey I have long lingered over the margins, puzzling over matters like the problem of pain, the conundrum of prayer, providence versus free will. When I do so everything becomes fuzzy. Looking a Jesus, however, restores clarity.
Hurt people hurt people.
Broken people break people.
Shattered people shatter people.
Damaged people damage people.
Wounded people wound people.
Bound people bind people.
Hurt people hurt people, but helped people help people.
Broken people break people, but rebuilt people build people.
Shattered people shatter people, but whole people restore people.
Damaged people damage people, but loved people love people.
Wounded people wound people, but healed people bind up wounds.
Bound people bind people, but freed people lead others to freedom.
When our pain outweighs our shame, then we are ready for change. As she brought her sin into the light, the love of God wondrously washed over her, and she went home with the hope and faith to be open and honest with her husband. Late that night, she shared the experience with her husband. He broke down weeping, pleading for forgiveness for not understanding and for the pain he had put her through for many years. He took her into the bathtub and washed her from head to toe and anointed her with oil, praying that God would cleanse her from every sense of shame and uncleanness. Then they had one of the greatest nights of their life, just a few years late.
But uncomforted pain can leave a wound for a lifetime. No matter how well your earthly father may have provided for you, even if you lived in a large home, wore the nicest clothing, and ate the best food, if you didn’t feel protected, comforted, or safe in his presence, you may never feel safe anywhere else in your life. If the wounds of your childhood were left uncomforted by your earthly father, you may never feel comforted in God’s presence. And you may spend your entire life looking for a place of safety and belonging, longing for a home.
Anyone who has ever performed physical exercise knows that there is little profit to exercising until your body feels a degree of pain. If you wake up the morning after exercising and you are not sore, you realize that the exercise only maintained your current condition. The same principle applies to your spiritual growth. If you do only what is comfortable for you, you will fail to grow. Whenever you are truly growing, there will always be an element of discomfort. You can look at it this way: “The dogs of doom stand at the doors of destiny.” In other words, the things you are afraid of often hold the greatest rewards.