Thank you Lord for pain.
Through it you draw me closer to you. By it you drive me to my knees in prayer. From it you forge in me the image of Christ.
Pain is a friend that I welcome with outstretched hands and open arms. Although he kisses me on the cheek while stabbing me in the side I am still glad to see him. Why? Because he was the closest earthly companion of my best friend Jesus. Pain was there in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus called out in utter desperation to God. But instead of giving up, giving way or giving in, Jesus took the cup that pain offered to him in the garden and drank down every last drop.
Pain was right there when the soldiers swung their whips and wielded their fists toward Jesus. He stood silently in the shadow of the cross as Jesus absorbed the punishment and pain that I so deeply deserved. Through pain Jesus bore the sin of my humanity of all humanity and screamed out “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?”
Through pain’s twin brother death I have been justified. By pain’s constant presence I am being sanctified. Out of the ashes of pain and death someday I, like my best friend, will be glorified.
Without pain I’d forget to pray, to trust, to wait.
Pain is the alarm clock that awakens me to the eternal. Pain is the cold water plunge that shocks my senses and makes me run to the warm blanket of my Savior’s love. Pain is the compass that points the way to the true north of hope and heaven.
It is the bitter bread that I must eat. Although I may choke it down, its nutrients are building me stronger every day. With each hard swallow I am taking into my being the bread of life, filling up the sufferings of Christ, so that someday I can partake in his glory at the feast of the Lamb.
Although Satan wants to use pain to destroy me, he will not prevail. I refuse to allow Satan to manipulate my friend pain to distract, embitter or engulf me. No, instead I will allow my dear friend to drive me to the foot of the cross so that I can be reminded of the one who endured the ultimate pain on my behalf.
Heavenly Father, I am on to you. I know your secret. Pain is the chisel in your hand that you are using to chip off the excesses of granite sin and rock hard habits that encase my frail frame. I know that your job is not done until the image of Christ appears in me. With one hand you hold the chisel of pain and with the other you wield the hammer of love. I can see the tears in your eyes with each blow. But those tears of love cover me in the midst of my suffering and give me the courage to endure and persevere. It hurts God, but please don’t stop. With every swing, every blow and every wince I see more and more of Jesus in me.
Swing hard. Swing true. Swing on.