NONE of us will go through this journey of life without pain and suffering invading our hearts. Pain is no respecter of persons. It won't just be a one time event but a sporadic companion until we enter eternity.
Pain changes us.
Pain messes with us.
Pain leaves us broken.
Pain makes us uncomfortable.
Pain humbles us.
Pain helps us to realize we are not in control.
Pain reveals our hidden struggles.
Pain challenges our faith.
The above is not so bad, right? SO, why do we do ALL we can to avoid it?
Could the reason be more about what accompanies pain than the pain itself? You see, pain will never come to us solo. With pain can come fear, worry, anxiety, insecurity, depression, hopelessness, anger, guilt, shame, and so on. Anytime there is pain these "trashy" emotions are not far behind. SO, what do we do? How do we find treasure and throw out the trash? How do we experience pain and keep our hearts uncontaminated by the garbage that steals the treasures that were meant for our benefit?
It is a choice. You and I get to choose whether we will allow trash or seek treasure each time we are faced with painful circumstances. The trash will come to us easily...almost automatic. We must intentionally filter out the trash from the treasure. The Word of God is our ultimate filter. It will expose the garbage of our hearts. As we confess and surrender each piece to Him, the blood of Jesus cleanses us and transforms us into vessels of honor for His Glory. God is so amazing!
Not only that, but sometimes, God may use someone close to us to help us recognize when we have allowed trash to be thrown in. Our stinkin' attitude will, in no doubt, reveal what is in our hearts. Our flesh is all about "me" and "my" happiness and "my" wants. If we allow our flesh to be in control, it won't be long before the trash of bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness, etc. turns toxic in the open wounds that pain has left behind. What a waste, right? This trash releases unhealthy thoughts and mindsets that spreads like cancer if not removed. Everyone around is influenced by it's stench. These things will never produce anything of value.
Treasure is quite the opposite. As you know, treasures are rare and few find them. Those who do find them usually don't just stumble upon them. They have searched with wisdom and courage on their quest. With divine, empowered determination they have ignored the negative voices that speak to their wounded hearts. Forgive him? Love Her? Pray for them? They will not allow this kind of garbage to steal them of opportunities to find treasure in their trial and purpose in their pain. They fix their eyes on the true riches found only in Christ.
Some have bought into the world's selfish mindset that your spouse, family, and friends were placed in your life for the sole purpose of bringing you happiness. This thinking can create enough trash to warrant a landfill! The truth is, these dear people will sooner or later cause pain to our hearts. But there is beauty even in that. ALL of the relationships in our lives are about transforming our hearts to be more like HIS. They are not to define us, but change us! As we allow that transformation to take place, joy happens. The trash of bitterness, anger, shame, offense, guilt and unforgiveness is replaced with the treasures of love, humility, peace, and grace. It is in those dark places that Christ teaches us valuable lessons that we would otherwise miss. With each heart break, we get the opportunity to learn more about Him and His amazing love and grace. We learn to be thankful for the relationships He has given us. We are free to love others because we realize that our true value, security and wholeness comes only from our relationship with HIM. WE learn the valuable treasures of trust, surrender, and faith. Don't get me wrong, I don't like to be hurt, I do not like pain. I have experienced my own accumulation of trash that needed a huge dumpster on occasion. Nevertheless, I can tell you, it is in those painful seasons, as I finally surrendered my stubborn self, that I have sensed my Father's love like no other.
What about you? Are you hurting, dear one? Are there wounds on the landscape of your heart? Please be assured that Jesus cares about your brokenness. He says in Psalm 147:3 that He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Isaiah 61:1 tells us that He was sent to bind up the the brokenhearted. My friend, your pain does not for one second go unnoticed by God!! He sees, he knows, and he understands. What you are experiencing was allowed because God plans to use it for good in your life. There is PURPOSE in your pain. In Romans 8:28, He has promised us that He will work ALL things together for good according to His purposes. ALL things includes your pain and season of suffering. What if, instead of being so preoccupied with our pain, we desired God MORE than we desired for the pain to be removed? I can tell you that there would be much less garbage to deal with and so much more beautiful treasures to share. We must shift our focus from our pain to our Healer. Not an easy thing to do but so worth every attempt. Just remember, dear friend, God takes and creates beauty out of our messes with His precise grace. What now may seem so difficult and so painful, will be used to create the pathway of God's divine destiny for your life. Thanks be to Jesus that in Him, no pain is ever wasted.
So, will it be trash or treasure? It's a choice each one of us has to make. It's a choice we get to make over and over again!
Consider all joy, my brother(sister) when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing