Last week I shared with you my pastor’s thoughts on not being consumed with trying to make all our pain go away, but instead learning how to be invincible to it–“incapable of being conquered, overcome or subdued” by it. Those who accomplish this “are an unstoppable force,” Pastor Brian said.
I’ve been trying to be invincible over the last nine months, which–without going into detail–have been and continue to be a huge health ordeal for my husband and me. Suffice it to say, that next to having cancer and chemo in 1990, this has been the most difficult year of my life.
And unlike Superman I wasn’t born “invincible,” so today I’m sharing some more of Pastor Brian Jones’ “pain” blog including my thoughts at the end. His words (in italics) have been a great reminder to me during this season of suffering and I pray they will be to you too.
I know this sounds counter-intuitive – but I want to challenge you to pray a prayer of thanks right now for the pain you’re going through.
Thank God for your trials.
Thank Him for the person these trials are helping you become.
Ask Him to help you reinterpret the pain you’re going through, from viewing trials as “signs of His absence” to viewing them as “opportunities for His goodness.” Allow the Holy Spirit to train your mind to be “invincible”–unstoppable–to pain by seeing God’s presence in any and all our circumstances.
Sometimes the goodness of an event can be recognized immediately. Other things like problems with kids or a sickness can take years to put our finger on any silver lining.
And let’s be frank, some events will never be able to be viewed as blessings during our lifetimes. It will take standing next to Jesus Himself and having Him show us the big picture before we’ll be able to make sense of what happened.
Until then, let’s pray for the courage to pick up our crosses instead of walking around them.
If you are like me, the last thing you really want to do is pick up a cross. But it’s an action required of all true Christ followers: “Then (Jesus) said to the crowd, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me’.” (Luke 9:23, also Matthew 10:38, 16:24; Mark 8:34; and Luke 14:27).
I’ll readily admit that when it comes to my health–or my husband’s–I’m “selfish.” My prayers become very self-centered and self-serving: Heal me, Lord. Father, make this go away quickly. Jesus, restore him now (so I don’t have to be a constant caregiver!).
I’m always looking for quick fixes which will make me feel or my loved one better. But what if that’s not the cross God has for me to carry?
What if having to go to physical therapy so often causes me to develop friendships with people who need Jesus?
What if countless doctors’ appointment afford the opportunity for Christ to shine through me in those medical offices?
What if slowing down because of health limitations makes me rely more on the Holy Spirit’s power than my own strength?
What if all this waiting for test results and restored health is designed to help me be still and know that He is God?
What if the blessings I’ve been seeking are not as important as the ones my Heavenly Father has in store?
And as Laura Story sings in the video below: “What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?”
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s all for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Brian Jones is the founding Pastor of Christ’s Church of the Valley in Royersford, PA, a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, and the author of four books. He’s also my pastor and most important of all, a huge Buckeye fan! Connect with him at https://brianjones.com