Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Blessing of Pain

Some of you may notice that I changed the title of my blog from "Just Thinking" to "The Heart Speaks." I'm always thinking about something but I am learning more and more that from my heart, my mouth speaks and it's often not exactly what I'd wished I'd said.

I saw some old friends recently that I had not seen in years. It was wonderful to reconnect with these dear companions, but I was so hoping that I wouldn't see one individual in particular simply because of a wounding I had received at their hand. That spot was obviously still tender no matter how well I tried to cover it up.

Well, as God would have it our paths did cross. There was no avoiding someone who wouldn't let themselves stay hidden, much like I had chosen to do. I avoided contact for as long as I could, like a wounded animal afraid to be touched. When approached, I did what any hurt thing would do, I chose my words deliberately in hopes of ending the interlude as quickly as possible.

Afterwards, I was sick -- heartsick! Though I wasn't mean or rude, my demeanor was unloving and extremely detached. I had never fully released that which I perceived as an affront to me in my relationship with this individual. My actions revealed what was in my heart and it wasn't pretty.

In truth, what I thought was moving on from an offense I'd received was actually a cover up. Masking indifference for forgiveness is a dangerous infection no salve can mend. Fortunately for me, I tend to be pretty honest with myself in the end. As a believer, when we're honest before God we know when we're just plain wrong. I'm not saying it's easy. In fact, I hate it when I'm wrong. That usually means I have to do something about it, and God knows I will because I want to grow up in Christ, achieving the fullest stature of the Cheryl I was created to become. ...but, back to the heart issue.

It was rather telling to me afterwards, after all the fretting beforehand in anticipation of seeing this person, just how obvious it was to me that I was still holding onto the pain of that situation. Why couldn't I see it as clearly before? Maybe it was because until I saw this person, I was able to convince myself that I had moved on. Then while I was standing there face to face with them, the truth came forth and it hurt.

Do you you realize that pain is a gift? It is an indication that something is not quite right and it is in need of healing. The pain I was experiencing in my heart should've clued me into my greater need for healing. The Father's love for us is so great that He allows us to experience pain. Can you imagine having a broken leg and not experiencing any pain because of it? What sort of further damage could you inflict upon yourself without the indication that something is terribly wrong? Pain is a blessing when you look at it like that. However, just having the pain and not doing something about it is not a good thing either.

When we present our pain to our Great Healer who has the power to transform our hurts into our holiness, then we wince no more when those places are touched. What once caused us to shrink back and respond in fear, now compels us to allow the Spirit of God to search us and to reveal those places in our heart that need His healing touch. Exposure is a great thing! Living there is not always easy but as we yield to the Lord more and more each day, our defenses begin to crumble and weaken giving Him greater access to those deep places in our hearts.