Friday, August 10, 2012

Love Permits Pain

This morning I awoke with so much pain in my back.  Each day there is pain but some days just become unbearable-or at least it seems unbearable at the time.
We have some sweet gals visiting for a few days and before they left to visit Venice they prayed for me and my back pain.  I was thankful and hopeful that the Lord heard the prayers and would be faithful to ease the pain.
About an hour or so goes by and I find myself in so much pain that all I could do was cry.  I was frustrated and just tired of being tired of this back pain.  As I got up from my chair with my heating pad I grabbed my Streams In the Desert Devotional to read for the morning.  I opened to the page for today and before I could even read the entire devotional, my eyes went straight to the sentence with the words "Love permits pain".
I read the devotional through tears.  Tears that acknowledged that God indeed hears our faithful prayers and doesn't ignore them, but for whatever reason, He allows us to endure pain.  It's not always physical pain.  It can be emotional, or some other type, but He will allow it.
The devo was talking about Mary and Martha when Lazarus was ill and they sent the news to Jesus.  It says they didn't doubt that as soon as He heard the news He would come quickly-but He didn't.  He waited.  As you can imagine, even more tears started to flow.  He heard, but He waited.  How those words ring true for so many.  We pray, we get others to pray and yet the pain, whatever kind it is, endures.  It doesn't go away. And often we wonder why.  Why, God, why aren't you healing me?  Why are you allowing this to be?
For me, sometimes I get so frustrated with this back pain.  Why in the world would God call me to be in a foreign country-to serve Him and yet be limited in what I can do?  Why did I bother to exercise and want to be fit for so many years just to end up like this?  Why when so many prayers go up to Him does He choose not to answer them.  Sometimes I think...God, are you there, are you listening to these prayers?
Today's devotional was such a sweet and tender reminder that He does hear, He does care, He does remember.  But, love permits pain.  Why does love permit pain?  I honestly can't answer that.  We have all listened to tons of bible studies on why God allows pain, why He allows things to happen the way they do.  But, for each person, the answer is different.  People even say it's because God wants to teach us a lesson.  I don't always like that answer-sometimes it sounds so mean the way they say it.  As if God is punishing us or making us be in pain because we have to learn a lesson.  You know, in some ways that is true.  But our God is a loving God and He's not up in Heaven figuring out ways to inflict pain upon our lives just to show us who's boss.  He doesn't make the pain happen, but He knows it is there and He will allow it to be there and He will use it for His glory if we let Him.  He will get us through it.
For each day, for each task that God has called me to, I know that I have to rely on Him for every ounce of strength to be able to do it.
I am so thankful for that little phrase I read today.  I think it will be a stone of remembrance for me.  No matter how I feel physically I know that my God knows what I am enduring and He will help me through it and for that I am grateful.
If you are going through some kind of pain today, rest assured that He knows, He has heard your pleas, your prayers, the prayers of those who have prayed for you.  He will be strong for you and help you through it.

Don't ever think that His delay means He doesn't care or He doesn't hear.  Always remember there is something greater.  It was in His delaying to go to Lazarus that Jesus spoke these amazing words:

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”