No One Is Exempt from Pain
Yesterday I shared a message about how a heavenly mindset will help bring healing and hope to our hurts, pains and sorrows. One of the points I made is that Christians are not exempt from this issue of pain and sorrow—they happen to everyone. Scripture promises us tribulation, persecution and all kinds of troubling things.
It’s important for us to understand this point. While Jesus promises to walk through it with us, we can’t believe that we are somehow exempt from experiencing personal tragedy and heartache.
The following excerpt helps drive the point home. It’s from Sarah and my book, Have Heart: Bridging the Gap Between Heaven and Earth.
When tragedy strikes, far too often we ask why or question God’s presence, love, or wisdom in allowing this thing to happen. Or we may say, “This isn’t fair” or “This isn’t right.” Somehow this kind of thinking has crept into our minds, and it goes something like this: “We’re Christians and we should be exempt from brokenheartedness.” This simply isn’t true. Sarah and I want to say boldly and compassionately that the church needs to wake up and grow up—brokenheartedness can happen to anyone at anytime.
First Corinthians 13:11, 12 reminds us that we need to put away these immature, childish notions that we are somehow exempt from suffering and let mature thinking prepare us for when the rug is pulled out from underneath us. We need to be prepared for that moment, because it’s foolishness to follow the lie that nothing bad will ever happen to believers. We all need the truth to stand on should tragedy strike.
Unheavenly things happen on earth to believers and unbelievers alike. There is no discrimination. Anyone, in just a second, can have a broken heart. We need to settle this misconception of exemption in advance, when life is going great, so that we’re prepared should God allow heartbreak in our life. Not being prepared for the possibility of grief and suffering opens the door to a whole host of whys, and on this side of the thin veil, we’ll never get satisfactory answers to why our hearts were broken—you won’t and we won’t.
Looking for answers to the whys will only add another layer to your grief and will stall the healing Jesus wants to bring. If you are clinging to pain until you know why, you must throw your whys to the wind.
Instead of clinging to pain, we must cling to God’s love and settle in our hearts and minds that we know where to go for reprieve and remedy—God’s Word. What we know is that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). What we know is that nothing can “separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:38, 39). What we know is that He makes “everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). What we know is that He will ”not leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:8). What we know is that He is “near to those who have a broken heart” (Psalm 34:18). What we know is that He does “all things well” (Mark 7:37).
Consider this account in Matthew’s Gospel:
Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.
Did you notice that the rains fell, the floods came, the winds blew, and the elements beat on both of the houses? It happens to both the wise and the foolish, the saint and the sinner alike.
The issue is, will you fall or stand in the midst of your brokenness? It all depends on you responding to God’s truth. If you respond with faith, trust, and obedience, you will stand, and you will make it. Trust us, this is what we’ve chosen to do, and as you’ll see, we’ve seen God at work in mighty ways in the midst of our pain and suffering. If you respond with doubt, anger, and self-pity, you will fall, and you won’t make it. You won’t have the truth to guide you.