I don’t like pain.
I avoid it at all costs.
I always have.
Pain makes me very uncomfortable.
I remember, as a little girl, being very uncomfortable with other’s tears.
Funerals did me in.
Divorce did me in.
Too much pain.
I hated to see my mother’s face, strained and red. Streaked with tears. I remember wanting to make her laugh. I remember acting silly.
Or ignoring her.
In hopes to minimize grief.
I do that same thing, still.
I am a minimizer of pain. I don’t like it, so therefore, I catch myself downplaying any emotion of my own or others that resembles hurt.
Of late, the Lord is doing a new thing.
Francis Chan writes, “There have been many times when I’ve tried to lead the Holy Spirit. I’ve wanted to direct Him and tell Him what to do and when to do it. The irony is that the Holy Spirit was given to direct us. The Spirit is God, a Being who requires that we submit ourselves to be led by Him. I honestly believe that most of us – while we might say we want to be led by the Spirit – are actually scared of this reality. I know I am.” – Forgotten God.
Well Chan, me too.
The truth is that, sometimes, the Holy Spirit leads us to difficult places. It is the Spirit’s leading that makes us want to serve the homeless, give away our money, adopt an orphan, sell our possessions, confront a brother, step out on water, lay hands on the leper, walk into the wilderness, or die on a Cross.
Although, the outcomes may be rewarding, and God never abandons, His leading can be very scary. And for a time, painful
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24
Crucify (stauroō)- metaphorically, “the putting off of the flesh with its passions and lusts,” a condition fulfilled in the case of those who are “of Christ Jesus.”
Well, I will be the first to admit that I have no “desire” for pain. Not one “desire” for hurt. No “desire” for tears. But, those who are of Christ crucify their passions and desires. Therefore, I put off my desire for easy. I put off my passion for pleasure. And I enter into pain, if He so leads.
I enter into pain, with faith.
Because what He is ultimately leading me into is Holiness. Sanctification. Making me into the likeness of His Son. Purifying His Bride. Drawing me to Himself. Allowing me to share, with Him, in suffering. To be more like Him. To need more of Him.
To “desire” Him – over my flesh.
Even though, being led by the Spirit, in true crucified style, may be scary, and often painful – He is always good.
He is always right.
He is always present.
His goal is always our Holiness.
And His Glory.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – Jesus speaking. John 16:33