Since Thanksgiving is the time of year where you stop to reflect and then scarf down half a turkey, I thought I’d go along with the cliche and state something on this blog that I’m thankful for.
As you can guess from the title, I’m thankful for pain. Does that seem paradoxical to you? It should, because it does to me, but yet it’s also a comfort. We often struggle with this philosophical “problem” of pain as if it’s an irreconcilable issue. Well it will be that so long as you decide to fight it, but once you embrace your pain (perhaps, embrace your cross?) a new thing happens. Suddenly the situation doesn’t seem so grim. Yes, it’s still dark, but when you embrace pain, seeing that it has a purpose and is not some random, sadistic act of God, then things and thoughts fall into line. You see the clouds, but you know there’s sunshine behind them.
Of course, the only group of people who have a real and realistic fix on pain is the Church..all those Christians, “led like sheep to the slaughter.” When you trust in a Sovereign God things make sense. Not total sense, perhaps, but some sense. We slightly see the point of the great tragedy and triumph of Christ dying on the cross, the ultimate picture of God suffering, for He did not remain dead but arose and through the pain came joy, through death came life, eternal life.
Am I thankful for the God who suffered the greatest on my behalf? Yes. But I am also thankful for the trials He puts me through. Over the past several months, as my life crumbled and cascaded down from the heights it stood on, I kept wondering, “one thing after another, how long till You leave me in the gutter?” But at the heart of this, in my own heart, I slightly see a reason…intense growth in my relationship with the King of all. As much as I’d rather have my life pristine and untouched, I cannot deny that I am very grateful for the pain that has refined and grown me.