I hear songs on the radio telling me to cry out to Jesus in my pain. And I do. But songs are sometimes like sitcoms: They try to resolve too much in too little space. They don't let pain be. Sometimes pain has just got to be. Some of us live with pain and will live with it for the rest of our lives. Someone loses her father or her child or her spouse - you don't recover what you lost from that kind of pain. It becomes part of you. It molds you. From that point forward you are someone changed, someone other than the person who had not experienced the pain.
We think of pain as something evil. And maybe it springs out of that darkness, but it mustn't remain there. Like the pain of labor that brings forth a child, so all pain can be. The pain in my heart, the wound on my body, the humiliation of my mind or my strength - they can become something beautiful. Christ calls us to something beautiful, something greater, something less about us and more about him. Christ calls us to suffer, to share in his suffering that we might, with him, be participants in this world's redemption.
Pain is redemptive. Suffering is purposeful. That doesn't mean we don't cry out for release - it is pain, after all. But we must find the peace of Christ in it.
Sometimes I think that to be a real Christian is to be in real pain. But that's mostly just being human.
Real pain is the death of a loved one, the rejection of family and friends. Real pain comes from being a failure at what you were sure you were meant to do. Real pain is an illness that overshadows your very life; it is bleeding. These are the kinds of things that bring pain in our lives. But pain is not the question - we have pain. What will we make with our pain?
Some lie wrecked upon mountains too high to climb. Their souls bleed out of them because what they thought was the thundering voice of the Almighty turned out to be the voice of a crossed carpenter stumbling into Jerusalem. (But they cannot tell the difference when they hear the call - they can only choose whether to heed it.)
Persevere. Christ is in the pain; Christ is born out of it.