Thursday, November 29, 2012

No Pain No Gain

So recently I heard a report about a young girl with a rare genetic disorder known as anhidrosis. This disorder prevents its victims from being able to experience pain. Now, our first response may be, "wow, that would be awesome, a life with no pain." However, the effects are tragic. God made us with the ability to experience pain for a reason. Pain tells our bodies that something is wrong. Whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual, pain is actually a gift from God. Without it, we continue in a path of destruction without even realizing the outcome.

The process of being refined or being moulded are prime examples of beauty coming from intense discomfort. When being refined by fire, we feel we will burn before the process is completed, but clearly the Refiner knows how hot the temperature must be to produce the best and most beautiful results. When the Potter is spinning and kneading, and moulding, we feel as though we will never recover, but the Potter knows the perfect design and the beauty He is creating.

Surely none of us enjoy pain, discomfort or prodding, but if the end result is a life that reflects the beauty of the Lord, then surely we will look back and say it was worth it. Similar to the woman in childbirth that forgets her pain once she lays eyes on her precious little one.

As I pondered this idea of being thankful for pain, I realized that many of the greatest lessons I've learned and the most character defining moments in my life have come on the heels of immense pain in my life. I'm reminded of the weight-lifter's mantra, "No pain, no gain." God is able to use our pain to minister to others, which is a beautiful thing. 2 Corinthians 1:4 says, "He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." I find it so amazing that God can take the most shameful, embarrassing, humbling and painful experiences of our lives and bring hope, comfort and peace to the lives of others. Only God can do something beautiful like that!!!  I have been through a lot in my life and I find comfort in knowing the things I've suffered can be used for good, to bring hope and peace in the life of another.

And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” Zechariah 13:9

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bravo Maestro

I recently shared with friends  that I had been going through a rough time for a several days. I couldn't seem to "pull" myself out of it. I read the Word, I prayed, I tried to focus on encouraging others, I tried to meditate on all I had to be thankful for, I attended church and it helped somewhat just as it had in times past. However, it didn't leave me completely. I had a heaviness that just didn't seem to fully lift. Then I remembered Isaiah 61:3 "Provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor." So I put on worship music and began to sing praises to the Lord. My burden lifted completely. I remembered the beautiful picture in my mind of David worshiping the Lord and bringing temporary relief to Saul's torment and this experience set me on a path of meditating on the beautiful gift of music God has given us. God knows us so well. After all, He created us. He knew music would soften our souls and relieve our heaviness so that we could use our mouths to sing His praises. Only our God could create such a win win situation. We are comforted, He is glorified. Thank You Lord!!! It was on the tails of this experience that God inspired me with this story: