How To Respond To Pain

“Your grandmother has a beautiful smile.”

The young man nodded. “You’d never know she lives with migraine headaches.”

His comment triggered the same question, the one in my previous blog.

How do people live with pain?  

Some people say, “It is what it is.”

Others credit “God’s grace and people’s kindness.”

When I look at my own life, I realize how I respond to pain and suffering has a great impact on my well-being.

That’s because my response determines my mood which affects my ability to cope.

I’m a slow learner, but over the years, three Biblical principles have shown me how to respond during trials.

Acknowledge

Accept

Adore

Remember Job? His children died, he lost his fortune, he suffered from bodily sores and the insults of foolish friends. He was miserable.

“What is my strength that I should wait? And what is my end that I should endure?”  

Job questioned why these trials happened, but he never questioned God’s sovereignty in his life.   

“Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10)

“I know that Thou canst do all things, And that no purpose of Thine can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2)

Jesus Christ, in the Garden of Gethsemane, pleaded for God, the Father to spare him from the agony of the cross. Even so, Jesus was obedient, and willing to accept God’s eternal purposes.

Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done.” (Luke 22:42)

Hebrews 12: 2 says, “Jesus.…for the joy set before Him, endured the cross…”

Habbakuk, the prophet, trembled while he waited for calamity. He knew the people of Israel would be attacked and taken captive.

Even so, Habbakuk adored God regardless of his circumstances because he trusted God’s character.

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food …  

yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; … He enables me to tread on the heights. (Hab. 3:17-19)

Learning a lesson isn’t the same as application. 

My first reaction is not humble submission or praise. But whenever I am willing to …..

Acknowledge God’s sovereignty in my life….

Accept unpleasant circumstances because  “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God,”(Romans 8:28)

Adore God because He is faithful and “His mercies are new every morning”

Then I receive the Lord’s joy and strength which enables me to carry on even in this….pain and heartache of life.

Illustrations/photos courtesy of Microsoft Office

Balloons and Bikes

Festive balloons that once floated in the air to celebrate my birthday now huddle on the floor. The helium is gone; they’ve shrunk in size, resembling pastel Easter eggs.

 Some days, I feel like a deflated balloon. Someone or something lets out my air, slowly or with a sudden bang, and I’m face down with nowhere to look, but up!

God’s grace is sufficient, His power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Cor 12:9) Really, if so, then how do I respond to life’s circumstances?

Do I lift a limp fist and vow to rise again on my own strength?  Or seek God’s presence: empty, ego deflated; hands open wide to receive His grace and power?

Last summer, I went with my family on a bike ride. We didn’t realize the dirt path to the lake was predominately uphill. We spent more time pushing the bikes than we did riding them. Red-faced, I fussed at my daughter’s athletic boyfriend who chose the route.

At one point, the path flattened and we jumped on our bikes, pedaling with all our might until…..there was another incline. This time, the boyfriend rode his bike beside mine, and placing his hand on my lower back, pushed me forward while we pedaled. I was depleted, but I could continue the journey because I relied on the boyfriend’s strength. His strength was mine. And I understood how… 

Every circumstance is an opportunity to rely on God’s strength, experience grace sufficient for the moment.

 Trusting His Spirit to fill me, lift me higher and higher until I’m buoyant as a helium balloon rising in the sky; joyful and free in His presence.