If you have ever been through something traumatic, when the dust settles and you realize that you are still alive, you often ask one question: God, what are you doing? I have always believed that God never makes mistakes and that He is always right…but life has a way of causing you to second guess everything you thought you knew, doesn’t it? Even as you are reading this you are wondering to yourself, why am I dealing with this, why am I going through this, why isn’t this over yet? What often makes matters worse and is even at times annoying (at least for me) is when people give you classic church lines. I know that I have definitely been guilty of this but my experience is teaching me to listen more than talk. Have you ever been wondering what God is doing and then people give their commentary with words such as: God is making you stronger! Or: The devil is angry because of how much you have been serving God. Here is another good one: God doesn’t put more on you than you can bear. And this may be the one that takes the cake: If you need anything let me know. This line is probably the worst because when a person is dealing with difficulty and trauma they usually have NO idea what they need or what is even going on. So, you actually put more pressure on them to think of something to tell you. For many people difficulty does not afford them the mental capacity to locate what they may need. They definitely need something! Truthfully they need their nightmare to end.
The reality though is that unless a person is deeply in tune with God they honestly don’t know why you are experiencing what you are going through and don’t really know what God is doing. You can think of a thousand reasons as to why a person is going through what they are dealing with and all of them could be wrong.
When one’s faith has been shaken by difficulty it presses them to either deepen their relationship with God or to deny their relationship with Him. A denial (and this has definitely been a personal temptation of mine) of the relationship means that you have been broken to the point that life no longer makes sense and the God you thought you knew no longer exists. It means that you are so confused about what is going on that you have to move forward in something that seems to make more sense. But if the bible is true (and I believe it is) most if not everyone who seems to have had a strong and deep relationship with God went through something that made them question their relationship with God. To deepen my relationship with God however, do I HAVE to go through pain…difficulty? Maybe, maybe not. What I do know though is that pain has a way of teaching us something that perfection doesn’t. So, in my current pain, let me offer some things that pain teaches.
- Pain teaches primarily that pain hurts. Now this may sound very elementary however at a closer glance what I am really suggesting is that pain allows you to experience God from a different perspective. Being in pain allows you to have a front row seat to see how in the world God is going to deal with the amount of and level of pain that you are experiencing. Pain may arguably be the toughest feeling a human being can experience. There is arguably nothing more difficult than dealing with emotional or physical pain. Seeing how you are able to literally “get through” that pain gives you a window into the mind of God as to what He is doing.
- Pain teaches that dealing with pain is often a lonely experience. Everyone does not deal with pain at the same time. Maybe that is so that those who aren’t experiencing pain will help to encourage those who are in pain? I have learned though that people who have not dealt with certain levels of pain can be incredibly insensitive (not intentionally) to those who are experiencing pain. Its not their fault though. There is just severe ignorance about what to say and what to do for people who are in pain. Our ignorance about what God is doing fuels our ignorance as to what to say or do for people in difficulty. Pain is a road that you sometimes have to travel on yourself. Sure, there are occasional exits you take to get food and gas stations you stop at to help you continue traveling, but oftentimes you are in the car by yourself. Maybe its to teach that while you are driving, though you can’t see Him, God is in the car riding with you. And even though nobody enjoys being lonely, pain helps you to understand that God will ride it out with you.
- Pain teaches that you have limitations. Like all of the lyme flairs that have sent me to the hospital…I have not been able to walk. Feeling like a baby of not being able to walk, but knowing I’m a grown man and have walked before is mentally draining on so many levels. When you experience difficulty it is a reminder that you are not in control and that you as a human being have limitations. For me, because of my limitations, I have had to at times do nothing but lay down in the bed and literally do nothing. Have you ever laid down in a bed but still not be comfortable? Pain has a way of teaching that when life wants to, it will put you down and until your time is over you are limited. Pain though has taught me that limitations can at times lead to revelations. Because you are confined to a particular space and place and cannot do much its a great opportunity (if you are open to receiving) for God to speak to you. Although He may not reveal everything that He is doing, He will sometimes tell you what He isn’t doing…He is not leaving you! So limitations are not a bad thing after all because it helps you see and even hear God in a different way.
So what is God doing???? I still don’t really know…I just know I am learning a lot of lessons on this journey.