I’ve been on a personal journey of late. God has been showing me my inner life and I have to admit that it hasn’t been pretty. Father has shown me how fundamentally broken I am as a human being. I can totally relate to the apostle Paul in Romans 7.
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” – Romans 7:15
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” – Romans 3:10-11
These verses and many others point out how all human beings are incapable of being righteous or good apart from God. This admittedly isn’t good news. I don’t like being reminded of how much of a screw up I am. I’d much rather hear people singing my praises. At the same time however, I do recognize the importance of seeing my true condition before being ready to accept the solution.
Take an alcoholic for example. Unless and until a person admits to having a drinking problem, they can’t hope to win the battle against their addiction. I had an uncle who spent all the years I knew him drunk or recovering from drunkenness. For whatever reason, he was unable to face the pain of his life. In order to escape reality, or his pain, he would continually medicate himself with alcohol.
Anyone who spent any time around him knew he had a drinking problem. Relatives even use to joke that his liver was pickled. As far as I know, he never gained the victory over his drinking problem and drank himself right to a predictable early death.
Most of us don’t have a problem with alcohol but that doesn’t mean we aren’t medicating our pain in one form, or another. For some of us it’s work. For others it’s television. For still others its cigarettes or drugs. One of my big ones is food. I have a sweet tooth. I enjoy having something sweet after my meal or for a snack. As you can imagine, this makes it difficult to keep my weight down. I’ve noticed that I use food as a way to make myself feel better. Like medication, when I eat certain comfort foods I temporarily forget about my personal, emotional pain.
The Purpose of Pain
Why do we experience pain? The simple answer is in order to tell us something is wrong. I believe God designed pain to help us know that something needs to change or something needs to stop.
God wants you and I to experience peace and joy. Inner peace comes only as we surrender ourselves to Him. He allows events, people and circumstances to cross our paths in order to form us in His image. Some of those events, people and circumstances cause us pain. Instead of dismissing this pain however, we should recognize that God may be trying to teach us something.
God loves us too much to allow us to avoid dealing with our pain. Will we allow Him to teach us? Will we learn to see the circumstances God allows as His will for us? His provision for teaching us?
There is Good News in my Brokenness
Even though I am fundamentally broken, the good news is that God loves me! He loves me irrespective of my performance or lack thereof. He loves me in spite of my weaknesses and failures. He loves me because he chooses to! Praise God!
The good news is that he also loves you! Will you let yourself believe it?