Pain, the Teacher

Pain the Teacher (Simple Morning Reflection):

Pain can be an incredible teacher. It is in our human nature to avoid pain. Yet some great lessons can come out of pain. We can change; realize what matters most, and what doesn’t. Pain can shift focus from things that are not important to what is important.

You learn some relationships are dead weight anchors you are dragging along trying to keep alive. You pour in, trying to keep alive things the other person could care less about living or investing in to thrive. You learn to let go of things and people that are killing your soul.

You begin to analyze what is necessary and what is obligation or unecessary. You reevaluate your time or energy because it’s limited.

There is something about pain that teaches you to value the good moments even more, you savor them. You start avoiding the things that are like elephants sitting on your chest and run after the quiet moments with Jesus.

The things that used to bug you seem so small. The people you used to invest in and do all the work with zero mutuality, you simply stop doing it. You look for ways to make the most of each day.

This is what happens when I go through seasons of pain. Priorities shift. Agendas shift. Everything shifts.

There are great lessons that can be learned in seasons of pain. You find out who truly loves you and who is a person of opportunity. Some are present in their need, not present in yours.

You learn the safe places and genuine friends. You learn the comfort of God has no end. You learn, my goodness, you learn.

Earth’s focus becomes dimmer while eternity becomes brighter. You begin to see something greater woven through the tapestry of grief, of loss, of pain. Woven in this tapestry is the very face of Jesus-the one who knows the depths of human suffering.

Compassion grows leaps and bounds as you find yourself throwing out anchors of hope to others in the midst of your own storm. Pain can teach you so much about compassion because you simply do not wish for anyone to suffer alone. It moves you beyond praying to participating in the solution for someone else.

Pain can be an incredible teacher, revealing the deepest parts of the soul-what we believe and who we are is pressed to the surface. What we believe about God is placed on display. Trials reveal so much.

God brings in His love to reveal to us that He is present in every storm. No tear goes unnoticed. No cry goes unheard. No child goes unloved. And even if God seems silent and the pain is louder than His voice, He is still present and He is still love.

“God is close to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit.”

“The arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ears deaf to hear.”

Pain writes a new song in your heart, a song only God can hear. Friendship with God can deepen in seasons of loss, mourning, or pain. If we turn to God, instead of away from God, we can learn so many things. Gratitude can elevate. If we cannot give thanks for what we have, we can celebrate what we have been spared. We can share with others even in our lack, for there is always someone with less. There is always someone with more pain, more sorrow, more problems. We can be a blessing in our own storm.

Pain the teacher…you have taught me so much.

I bless you and pray your week overflows with the love, peace and joy of Jesus. He is pure joy. I know no greater love, no greater comfort.

Love,

Erin Lamb

Empowered-free.com

OperationGodisLove.org

Encountering God in the Midst of Tragedy, Disappointment, & Pain

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Photo Credit: Time Warp Wife (Pinterest)

“Though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress…Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. “ Psalm 36:3-11.

We live in a sinful world. It is a world not immune to tragedy. It is a world that if studied for long periods of time can bring great grief, pain, and hurt. If that is where the story ended, we could cry and live depressed lives. Life will hurt. Disappointments will come. No person is immune from the potential of disaster or a tragedy striking. Jesus said, “In the world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.”

I would not be able to write this post if I had not walked through my own personal tragedies with God. The unexpected phone call. The friends who have betrayed me. The loved one who didn’t get healed. The loss of something held dear. Or even an accident that changes life forever. I’ve been there. For seven years I felt I lived there. Year after year it seemed someone was dying or a part of my life was dying. I spent most of my teens and early twenties trying to survive. My life is still not immune from trials, hardships, or pain. This year alone I’ve lost three aunts, was in a car accident that totaled my car, and have had some overwhelming disappointments.

Looking back:

I recall the day my mum died. I prayed like my life depended on it that she would live. We lived at the hospital, and I knew God healed. I had seen it with my own eyes. I went to work the day she died. I worked a full day. They told me to come home instead of go to the hospital. I knew something went wrong. I arrived home and felt like the bottom of my chest ripped open. One of my best friends was gone. Where was God in the midst of my pain? He was was holding a fragile 20 something together. I had just graduated college and life was changing forever. God flooded my heart with worship. During those moments and even after her death, I did not have anyone to hold me. Everyone had their own grief; I had God.

People have called me independent, but I’ve learned to lean on God. I know what it’s like to try to lean on people who cannot help you and some don’t want to. They don’t like their own pain, let alone yours. I knew and know there is no better source than Jesus. In moments of suffering with God, I can confidently say, “God is able!”

What God showed me through grief:


He’s bigger than any disappointment or pain and God’s ways are higher.
My mum told God she wanted to go home. She had her own personal relationship with God. Her life belonged to Him. She was tired of being sick. Her life had already touched so many for Jesus. We all have an appointed time to die. This life is but a whisper. I was hurting, sad, and thought of all the ways God could have done things differently. Looking back, the more I surrendered my pain to God, the more comfort He provided.

God doesn’t watch our pain, He enters into our pain. He doesn’t watch His children suffer and provide comfort from a distance. He stands right in the middle of the fire with us. We hurt, God hurts.

God is good and can handle our doubts of His goodness. It’s impossible, at least in my thoughts, to go through a tragedy, betrayal, or trauma and not have the thought pop up, “If God is so good, why did He allow this to happen?” I think of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Lazarus died and Jesus stayed where He was. Jesus waited until Lazarus was good and dead before showing up to resurrect him. It was for the glory of God. In our situations God can use anything for His glory. I am not saying God causes the pain and suffering. I am saying He can use it.

Suffering builds compassion. I truly believe compassion is a much needed trait. And not the pat the person on the head ministry. I mean the ability to enter into someone else’s pain like it is your own. Jesus entered into people’s pain. He had compassion on the sick & healed them.

Cry it out, scream it out, let it out. God is not afraid or offended by our emotions. Some pain or grief is quickly healed. Some grief or pain lingers for years. And some grief and pain seems to go on with us for a lifetime. We will never forget the people we’ve lost. We may never forget how we felt the day the bad news came or the trauma occurred. I can say, though we may not forget, God heals memories. He brings comfort to them. He is the Healer.

God’s plan is good even when it doesn’t feel good. God has our best interests at heart. It does not always seem that way. Some things we will not understand until heaven when we see Him face to face.

There is always hope in Jesus. It’s easy to get jaded by life and say, “If God didn’t do this, then He won’t do that.” Disappointment is a horrible thing to be our foundation for what God can or will do. He can do anything. Just because He does not answer the way you or I would like, does not mean He is limited in any way. God is God. He is all powerful.

As someone who’s walking through this sinful world with you, I say these words of encouragement; there’s no better friend, Healer, or Savior than Jesus. God loves you! No matter how bad it hurts, He will never leave or forsake you!! This I can promise. May you invite Him into the pain. He will give you beauty for ashes and joy for your mourning. I’m practicing what I teach as I continue to invite God into my own pain, hurts, and disappointments. God bless you. You’re in my prayers.

Where’s God When Bad Things Happen? (Part I)

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For He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens, Job 28:24.

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before Him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything, 1 John 3:19-20.

And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account, Hebrews 4:13.

Have you ever asked the question, “Where is God when bad things happen?” If you have ever suffered, watched someone you love suffer, or seen suffering on the news you probably have asked that question.

When bad things happen, God is there. God knows all. God is everywhere. It does not make sense to our minds, but God knows all, sees all, and can be with all. You may ask, “Why doesn’t God prevent all the bad things that happen, if He can foresee them?” I hope to offer some insight from my own walk with God. I hope this blesses you. I hope this post helps unravel some of the question.

Evil exits in the world because of sin. Humans can choose to sin. God gave Adam a command.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:15-17.

God gave Adam the ability to choose to disobey Him. Adam disobeyed the command. We can read about the impact of disobeying God in Genesis 3. Sin, evil, sickness, and death entered the world.

I’ve heard people state God is in control. It is true nothing happens outside His realm of knowledge, and He can do what He pleases. God, however, gave humans the ability to defy Him. We can sin. He does not force us to do life His way.

Since God won’t force us to do what’s right, and sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, we live with the consequences of living in a sinful world. People can choose to reject God, reject His will, perpetrate evil, and hurt themselves or others.The impact of living in a sinful world is sickness, death, suffering, evil, and a host of negative things.

Before you become depressed, let’s look some solutions.

Jesus:

The Father sent His Son to solve the problem of sin. Jesus paid the penalty for sin and gave us access to the Father. Any person who chooses to follow Christ has been given a new life, freedom from being enslaved to sin, and a promise of life with God after death. You can read more about what is given in a relationship with Jesus on my Bible study/devotional blog, http://morena242.wordpress.com. Not only does Jesus save us, the Holy Spirit comforts, heals, restores, and helps.

Prayer:

God responds to those who seek Him. Jesus tells us to pray and taught the disciples how to pray.

 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from the evil one.’ Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT).

I believe there are many tragedies that are prevented because someone was praying or someone prayed. I believe we would see far more evil in the world if no one ever prayed (asked God for help).

What if you are following Jesus, praying, and bad things still seem to happen? Welcome to the world not yet perfected by God’s Kingdom. What is God doing when bad things happen? Here is my idea. I believe He’s shouting in the ear of the abuser or person inflicting pain, “Stop…you don’t have to do this.” That person may not listen, they may reject God’s voice, or have no desire for God. God does not delight in suffering, sin, or pain. We will talk more next post about how God turns bad things into blessings.

Father, I pray for every person who reads this post to have a deeper revelation of Your heart. May they know You do not delight in pain, suffering, or bad things happening to people. Heal, restore, and bring hope for restoration. May they feel You near today and every day. In Jesus name, Amen. Love, Erin.

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Encountering the Perfect Father in a Dark World

“I have told you these things so that in Me you would have peace. In the world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world,” ~Jesus. John 16:33.

Written by Erin Lamb, all rights reserved.

The photo above was taken the day my friend David died. David was the type of person you wanted to know. David was the first person to show up when someone needed help, and he was willing to sacrifice his life for others. He radiated God’s love. He loved, served, and helped so many. He gave his life working on the restoration of Haiti. He was murdered this February while serving orphans in Haiti. In the midst of building an orphanage He was robbed and shot. His death tore my heart in many places.  I wept and wept. Why do I share this with you? We live in a world that is filled with pain, suffering, wrongful death, sickness, disease, hatred, abuse, abandonment, and sorrow. In the midst of it all you may wonder how someone can say that God is good. How can we say God is love? If He is so good and loving, then why is our world filled with so much darkness.

It all started with one man, Adam. God made man in His image. He placed man on earth and said, “This is your dominion, rule and reign,” Genesis 1. Adam had everything he needed. God gave him beautiful landscape, all the food he could eat, a lovely wife, and complete communion with Him. He also gave Adam the ability to choose for himself what he wanted to do. Fast forward. Eve is deceived by the crafty serpent and Adam sinned. This is where death, destruction, sickness, and darkness entered our world, Genesis 3. Not only that, Adam surrendered authority and dominion to the devil. If you believe in God, you must believe in the devil. Evil exists and he propagates it. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy, John 10:10. He hates people. He hates love. He loves it when people blame God for his activities. He sows hatred, division, strife, death, and evil in our world.

Did God leave us helpless? Absolutely not. Jesus came, lived a perfect life, and died on a cross to restore us to right relationship with God and take back the authority Adam gave to evil. Jesus fixed the problem, we don’t always see the evidence of His work. He took back authority and dominion for those who believe in Him. Jesus provides hope and healing for those who lean on Him, and He cheated our worst enemy, death. Those who believe in Him will inherit everlasting life, John 3: 16. He handed over the authority He took back to every believer. He paid for it all. Jesus is the solution.

So, why doesn’t God rid the world of all evil? Loaded question. I will give you my understanding, but recommend you ask Him yourself. I believe that love involves freedom. God gives us the freedom to choose Him. If He was the only option, then there would be no choice. I believe God is already victorious and though our world looks dark, He continues to work through His children to bring peace, love, joy, healing, and heaven to earth. I believe and know He will make all the wrongs right. I believe that if we trust God we will see that the end of the story is better than any of the suffering we have witnessed. I believe that God is good and though He is blamed for evil, nothing in His nature is evil. I have seen Him turn tragedy into triumph, victims into victors, and the worst of situations into something beautiful. We (humans) still have the ability to choose evil. God won’t force us to love. So, when you fill a planet with people who can choose evil, there will be evil.

How do I deal? Good question. Prayer is powerful. Since God gave people dominion on this planet, He moves when we pray and ask for help. I hate to admit it but until heaven, there will be evil in the world. I’ve found no greater solution than prayer. I pray. You pray. We pray, and we ask God for help.

Final thoughts. I’m not a person typing to you who hasn’t suffered. One day maybe I will share my story in its entirety. I know what it’s like to endure physical and great emotional pain. I have had more than one near death experience. I have seen God do amazing things because someone prayed. I have seen Him heal the sick, bring life to dead situations, and so much more….You are loved my friends. No matter what you have faced in life or will face, God LOVES you! He is your best advocate. Praying you are blessed this week, beyond measure.