Once while working on a project I hit my finger with the hammer. Ouch, I threw the hammer down and grabbed my hand. Then I proceeded to jump and dance as I held my hand and sang ouch, ouch, and ouch. I had almost stopped working for the day, but I decided to put up one more board. I had the board up and decided to swing the hammer one more time. I should have stopped while I was ahead, but I didn’t and now had a finger that was the color of a grape and it hurt “ouch”.
It is a funny thing about pain, no one likes it and yet we know that it is a gift from God. Yes, it is a gift, can you imagine what my hand would look like if there were no pain? I probably would have pounded my fingers into mincemeat and not even realized it. But God gives us the pain to protect us from ourselves and the world. So “ouch” is a wonderful word!
Pain comes in many forms. The pain I have been talking about came about from a careless accident. It was physical. The finger healed, but I will remember it and be more careful. We often have emotional pain and sometimes we have spiritual pain. And sometimes all three combined. At these times we wish we could be like a wounded animal, and go find a deep dark cave and curl up and die.
I have felt this kind of pain as a result of being a pastor. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I tried to be a good pastor. Seeking God’s will, all week long I would pray as I prepared a sermon. Then I would pour my heart out for the congregation. Only to be pounded by people I thought I could trust, as they would go home and have roast preacher for lunch.
That pain was intense. There have been times when it was physical, my heart would hurt so bad that I was afraid I was having a heart attack. Emotionally I have faced depression; I have suffered from a loss of appetite and even lost the desire to preach. After all, why preach? No one is listening, or so it seemed. Spiritually, I became like Job and wondered why God had turned his back on me.
I know now that pain is my friend. Through it I learned how to trust God and I learned how to pray. I thought I already knew these, things but I didn’t. In the last chapter of the book of Job, he says, “I had heard of God with my ears but now I have seen Him with my eyes.” In effect, he was saying, before I thought I believed but now I know that God is real. Job had finally gotten to the place, where God wanted him to be. And that was the purpose of the pain in his life.
You know we face nothing that Christ did not face. As a pastor, I understood that. When people abandoned me, I knew how Jesus must have felt when people went back from following him. When I was betrayed I remembered that a disciple betrayed Jesus with a kiss. When I hit my finger with a hammer and felt the intense pain, I knew that it was nothing compared to the nails driven through the hands and feet of my Savior!
So what should be our course of action? Well since pain teaches us about Jesus, when we suffer, let us worship Him. Pain will teach you how to pray, be strong, and be wise. So when you suffer; kneel in prayer, stand in His strength, and depend on His wisdom.
Pain, Ouch! A gift from God! Bringing us from where we are to where we must be if God is going to use us. Count it as all joy to suffer for Christ because He first suffered for you.
Douglas. & Deborah Huff
From Down Where The Pavement Ends