Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: Jehovah was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake, a fire: Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire, a soft gentle voice. (1Kings 19:11-12)

Friday, May 26, 2017

What Motherhood Has Taught Me: When You Doubt There is any Purpose to all Your Pain

You may call it crazy. I prefer to call it curious.

While anticipating the birth of my firstborn I was eager to fully know what it would be like to deliver the baby who had been formed in my womb. I was determined I would not dull the pain with medication during the blessed, rip-roaring event. I wanted a natural childbirth as far as I was able. I knew it wouldn’t last forever. And, besides, I have a strong aversion to needles. I’ll take a bit of pain over a poke.

But, here's the curious thing: I wanted to feel the pain of childbirth. I preferred to go through the whole labour and deliver and experience the excruciating pain and the exhilarating joy.

So, yeah, I guess you could say ‘crazy’.

Maybe the stranger thing is when I was in the family way for the second time, and I was fully aware of the pain that was ahead of me, but I was curious to know if it would be as intense as the first time round.

And by the time I was expecting my third child, you would think I would not need to wonder any longer, but my curiosity got the better of me. For the third time, I accepted the multiplied pain of childbearing that God spoke of to Eve back in the Garden of Eden.

I consider that bearing and bringing forth a child is a privilege and a blessing. Without any pain management medication, I breathed resolutely through clenched teeth and grasped the sheer strength and endurance needed to bring forth life.

It really was an exhilarating kind of pain. It's true when they say you somehow forget the pain in those first moments when you embrace the invigorating joy of seven pounds of new life placed in your arms.

It’s also true: we are often fearful of pain and suffering. If we can avoid it, we will. And I'm not talking about the punishment of pain in childbirth, but all suffering we endure for the sake of Christ.

What does it look like to embrace suffering for the sake of Christ?

I've always been struck with Paul's longing that he expressed in his letter he penned while suffering in prison.

"that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead."

His goal and aim in life was to know Christ in an intimate and personal relationship. The great apostle knew that to know the power of new life, he would have to taste suffering and become like Christ in His death.

Paul knew it's the one who suffers much that experiences the all-sufficient grace of God.

In suffering we will experience the exhilarating joy of God's power at work in us.

In the storms of life we will see the lighthouse that stands firm.

In pain our purpose is made clear.

A life without suffering lacks the need to look unto Jesus, the One "who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame" and was raised to heights of Glory at the right hand of the throne of God.

Resist suffering and you resist seeing God's powerful hand at work in your life.

Gratefully accept the thorns, the tremulous times, the troubles, and trials and God's power will rest upon those who gladly boast in their weakness.

Suffer for Christ’s sake and you will know a Power that brings forth new life.

This suffering brings us low. It hurts our self-glorification. The thorns press in and sting, but that is when God says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

In our weaknesses, the power of Christ rests upon us.

Oh, we're not just talking about crazy or curious speculations in life, but the whole purpose of suffering in your life.

The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Paul said. The one who was shown he was chosen to suffer greatly for the sake of Christ. He was the one who learned to be content in whatever circumstance He was in.

It was Paul who said, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Dare I say, 'bring on the pain'?

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