When Pain Becomes an Idol

I hate pain. Deep soul wounds in particular.

From the pain of saying no to sushi, all the way to the suffering that comes from being sexually abused as an innocent little girl. Some pain is a slight momentary uncomfortableness, while other pain feels fatal.

Then there’s the pain of causing hurt in the lives of others. Pain often times perpetuates pain, until someone stops the cycle.

Pain is so real and can be so deep and can lead us to hate others and ourselves.

Life is filled with pain. For those who try and ignore it or “stuff it, “ it turns into a cancer of the soul. Often times turning to bitterness that perceives the world as ONLY unfair, unjust and out to make our lives miserable.

No one signs up for an aching life. No one grows up wanting cancer of the soul. However, for some, pain becomes a constant companion even before words are formulated and minds can process why and where the pain came from.

I’ve had my own share of pain, feeling the world would be better off without me in it.

I am not trying to minimize pain as I spend a large portion of my time helping others learn how to feel their hurt that hasn’t been healed… because the longer we deny it’s there, the worse it can become.

As long as we believe that pain is fatal, pain wins.

When pain is winning, pain becomes an idol.

Stick with me for a minute because if you’re suffering, you might want to throw something at me right now. You might be thinking, “How dare her call my pain an idol?” By the way, I am not calling your pain an idol but I do want you to keep reading to see for yourself IF your pain might be an idol.

-Pain becomes an idol when we no longer see Jesus as bigger than our pain.

-Pain becomes an idol when it’s used as an excuse for why we cause others pain.

-Pain becomes an idol when we justify the bitterness that we have allowed to eat our soul.

-Pain becomes an idol when we hate someone else because of past sins against us either through them or people we identify as on “their side.”

-Pain becomes an idol when we don’t believe and receive that our Father in Heaven wants to and has the power to heal our pain.

Pain is indeed powerful. Especially the kind of suffering that rocks us at our core, causing us to question who we are and why we are here.

There have been people in pain since the beginning of time starting with Eve questioning God’s goodness to withhold something good from her. Eve’s curiosity instigated a cycle of pain and quickly found its way into the heart of her son Cain, who allowed anger to morph into bitterness, causing him to kill his brother.

(Emotional pain comes from a myriad of other thoughts or feelings about our perceived situation.)

Listen to what God said to Cain in his pain:

The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, (Anger is a pain emotion) and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at your door. It’s desire is for you, but you must rule over it “(Genesis 4:6,7 ESV).

Cain was angry because God did not accept his offering but that didn’t mean God didn’t accept him. God had good reasons He didn’t accept Cain’s offering. If Cain would have humbled himself and turned to God in his anger, God could have revealed truth to Cain. That truth would have set him free from believing lies about why his offering wasn’t accepted.

When God said, “If you do well….” He was saying, there is a way to do well in your emotions right now. God didn’t rebuke Cain from feeling anger but He warned him that it would lead him to a bad place if he let the anger rule his heart. Cain didn’t listen and killed his innocent brother.

(God, please help us listen to You above our pain.)

It’s the same for us in our own pain that can lead to anger or any other overwhelming emotion. Think about it. Cain felt rejected (Though he wasn’t)  because his offering was rejected.

Rejection, real or perceived, causes pain and often times manifests as anger.

I could go back and back and back and find the opening to pain in my life, your life and any other group of people. We all suffer to varying degrees. We all have to decide what we are going to do with pain.

I never heard the words from my grandpa, “I am sorry for sexually abusing you.”

If I needed to hear those words and know he was sorry to be healed from abuse, I would be giving power to pain, not to the God who has healed my pain. Not once has God ever shamed me for grieving, feeling anger and working through my pain.

However, I’ve shamed myself by not “doing well” with my pain.

If you are reading this feeling shamed for any emotion that has rocked your world with pain, I can only reassure you that God isn’t ashamed of you or your journey. He is calling you to come to Him so He can comfort you and heal your pain. The deep pain I felt six years ago has been healed, not because of time, but because I turned to Him in it.

Yes, I have scares and pain sometimes leaves battle wounds.

When we turn to God in our pain, He will do the same thing He did with His own Son, who cried out to Him in the Garden of Gethsemane moments before He took on the pain of our sin, despising the shame and then ascending to the right hand of His Father in Heaven… where He is now interceding for our joy.

Jesus humbled Himself in suffering and cried out to His Father, and though Jesus still had to go through pain, it ushered Him into His resurrection. The same Spirit who raised Him from the dead, now lives in our very beings as believers. We are never alone in our pain.

We can do this, friends. Even as I close, tears flow from my eyes as I ask the One who healed my pain to heal yours. Don’t let pain be more powerful than our God who heals. Stay on the journey of bringing your whole heart, pain and all, to our Father who sees all, knows all, and hasn’t missed one thing about your story from conception on. He not only heals every pain, He brings purpose to it. One day when the curtain of Heaven is completely pulled back and we see Jesus, pain will be gone forever as we look to the One who we ran to in our pain.

I am attaching the song Take Him to the Place by Aaron Crabb. This song is the heart of what my words are trying to convey. I am certain it will be more powerful than reading my words. And if you are not in pain, you can be a safe place for others to bring their pain, offering the gift of comfort while pointing to the One who not only comforts us in our pain, but also heals the source of that pain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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