Facing Life’s Pain

Article by: Bridgehaven Team

When I was in my twenties I used to think that when I got older life would become easier.  I thought that at least it would remain the same.  When I pondered retirement I thought with the idea that my body and mind would be in its present condition and that I would have most of life figured out.  After all, I’ll be more experienced and will have been around the block a few times.  It makes sense to think that way, but hold on.  I have bad news and good news.  First the bad news, but stay with me till the good news.

The reality is that as we get older, it does not get easier.  In fact, it often get’s more complicated.  Although it is true that I have more experience and have learned to think better and make better decisions, I still am not freed from the broken world or the presence of sin.  The book of Romans tells us that as believers we are freed from the slavery of sin, but, again, the presence of sin remains.  That’s why we must be on our guard as the enemy prowls about.  He’s looking for trouble.  So, life does not necessarily become easier for us.  Although that may not bring great encouragement to your heart, I hope it brings greater perspective to your problems.  And here is where the good news begins.

Paul said in Romans 8:28 that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.  Often Christians will embrace this passage to give the false impression that it’s possible to live a problem free life.  God will get me out of this and then I’ll be happy.  That’s not why he works all things together for good.  As Romans 8:29 says, he does so in order for us to reflect Christ more clearly.  In other words, he redeems the events in our lives, good and bad, in order for us to experience the reality that the Living Water really is all that will satisfy us.   Okay, on to more good news.

Although my life has not gotten easier, but more complicated in many ways, it has become more fulfilling!  In fact, as a man, as a husband and as a father, I have never been as fulfilled as I am now.  How is it that in the face of a complicated life that I am more fulfilled?  It’s because I have been intent on pursuing Christ and getting to know him.  It has deepened our intimacy and allowed me to see that I can trust him with everything I am going through and experiencing.  He is the Living Water and he promises that if we drink of his water we will never thirst.  That is not only amazing, but it’s true.  The question begs, though, what does that mean?  Let me offer some thoughts in closing.

  1. Stay in his word.  It’s your only source of objective truth.  We must be hearing the truth of God’s word and as we ponder it’s eternal truths this will seep from our head to our heart.
  2. Ground who you are in how he sees you as a disciple, not in how you feel or in things that are ultimately temporal.  As followers of Christ we can read about our true identity in Ephesians 1:3-15.
  3. Keep connected to other believers.  You were created for relationship.  Hold them dearly.  Life and discipleship is severely hindered when it’s done in isolation.
  4. Remember, he must be your first love.  You’ll get burned out if your faith is merely obligatory and you are doing things “just because.”  Sometimes our faith does feel academic, but ultimately we need to think of it as a vital, life giving relationship.

As you encounter the struggles of life don’t be afraid to embrace them and allow them to draw you to your knees.  God wants to use those moments (and seasons) to make us more like Christ and that is always a great thing.  We don’t come to Christ because we get all of our questions answered, but because he is worth it, we need him and because only he can satisfy us.