Pain is not pretty, but it can be your greatest teacher. Oh do I know it well. And when my personal drama is finally over, I’ll be more than willing to share that experience. But right now, I want to speak about pain, not from a perspective of weakness, but a position of strength.
A fetus hangs out in the womb where it’s dark but comfortable. It begins small, but then continues to grow until it can no longer extend its arms or legs. At some point, its mother’s uterus begins to contract and it gets squeezed periodically at first and then regularly every 3 to 5 minutes. I’m sure it must be asking, what the heck is going on? Why am I being squeezed? Why is my present world being disrupted? Involuntarily, it moves down the birth canal and then approaches a faint light. The darkness starts to disappear yet there’s one more hurdle. Its head is thrusted, painfully through a small opening and then the darkness is completely gone. It has entered a new life.
The master preacher, T.D. Jakes preached a sermon that brought tears to my eyes but solace to my heart. He said, “God promotes you to the level of your tolerance of pain.” Well surely if that’s true, then I will eventually become a general or perhaps a CEO because on a scale of 1 to 10, my level of emotional pain has been at 100. But there is good news. As a result of that pain, I took self-inventory and looked at all aspects of my life that needed improvement. I now rise early and write. I jog 2 miles a day. I’ve made long-neglected medical appointments, rekindled old friendships and made new ones. I am a much better person as a result of that dreaded pain.
Ricky Byers Beckwith, a brilliant songwriter wrote, “In my pain, is the seed of my strength.” And she was right. Beloved, when pain comes, don’t run from it. Embrace it. For it is your greatest teacher and also your greatest healer.