In striking opposition to some preaching, following God’s will for your life will hurt sometimes! They don’t always tell you that when you first believe in Jesus. It’s not a deception, just a reality you are not ready to fully understand.
We should get the sense that pain is a part of our spiritual life from the factthat without the pain that Jesus suffered for us on the cross we could not evenhave a relationship with God. God doesn’t expect us to get in line forpain; He doesn’t ask for volunteers. He doesn’t hold back in givingus what will help us grow spiritually, and often it hurts.
I’m not referring to the kind of pain we create for ourselves by followingour own way. I’m talking about the pain that is a part of being and doingexactly what God shows us to be and do. Even when I am submitting to God’splan for my life, sometimes it really hurts. When things hurt, I tend to questionif I really am doing what God wants. I love it when the blessings are flowing,and I never question God’s will then. I’ve learned along my spiritualjourney that pain is often necessary for growth. When you think of it, even confessionof sin hurts. It hurts me to look at my sin. But that is exactly what will takeaway my pain. Following God’s plan for your life does not inoculate youfrom pain. Experiencing pain in the center of God’s will does come withone guarantee: you are never alone.
Not only is God intimately aware of my pain but He is closest to those whosepain is deep in their spirit (Psalms 34:18). He also knows that the absence ofpain is one of my greatest longings. He promises that there will be no more tearsin heaven. I know that God sees the pain and wounds I live with better than Ido. He knows the pain that is so painful in me that I am not ready to face it.When the time comes for me to grow up and deal with it, He never leaves me, Heis my comforter.
When I want to feel better about my pain in the center of God’s will, Ijust read 2 Corinthians 6:3-12 and listen to Paul’s testimony of the abusethat following God’s leading has caused him. Another place to turn is Joband I realize then I don’t really know what pain is. The ultimate exampleis the last few chapters of the gospel recounting Jesus’ pain that broughtmy redemption.
Don’t think that God is not acquainted with your pain. In fact, by humanstandards, my pain has not been that difficult; still God is just as presentin my pain as He is for someone going through catastrophic losses. The presenceof pain in your life does not mean the absence of God. Pain is indeed an invitationto embrace His presence more.