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Learn to Let God Into Your Pain

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified ... for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6

"Pain is part of the process."

These are the things you tell yourself each January. Wearing resolutions as new as your running shoes, you pound the pavement at the beginning of the new year, vowing to lose the Holiday Ten. This resolve might carry you through February—perhaps March—if you're feeling really committed, extra guilty, or maybe a tiny bit nagged.

For me, last year started with the best of intentions. I joined the gym with all of the other resolute newcomers. I developed an ambitious plan with a personal trainer and hit the bricks hard. And it hurt.

Pain is part of the process of physical fitness, and perhaps it's this pain that underlies my resistance to forming more healthful habits. It's the same with the formation of the spiritual life.

In the autumn of 2013, I learned a difficult truth: I had particular life pains that remained unresolved. My son, Titus, was suffering from a mysterious illness, and despite my prayers, God seemed absent. It was this absence of God's presence that drove me to a therapist—a good and faithful therapist—who told me that I needed to explore this pain. I needed to invite God into it.

The exploration of this pain was a difficult thing, a thing I'd rather have tossed aside like a bad New Year resolution. Instead, for several weeks, I forced myself to sit in the pain of God's seeming absence, asking him over and over why he refused to heal my son. And it was in this exploration of pain, in my commitment to this process night after night, that I began to hear the quiet voice of God.

It was unintelligible at first, but as I worked to quiet my mind, it became clear. "I will never leave you nor forsake you," the voice said. "I'm with you—even here in this pain."

FOR FURTHER REFLECTION:

Is there an unresolved pain point in your life that needs healing? Are you willing to sit in silence and wait for God to speak through that pain?

PRAYER:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me. Allow me the grace to examine my pain, to invite you into it, and to hear you speak. Give me the courage to listen and the faith to believe that you will never leave me nor forsake me. Amen.

READ THE PASSAGE IN CONTEXT:

Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel: "I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The Lord has said to me, 'You shall not cross the Jordan.' The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over ahead of you, as the Lord said. And the Lord will do to them what he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, whom he destroyed along with their land. The Lord will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave nor forsake you."

Deuteronomy 31:1-6

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