I HAVE AN ETERNITY AHEAD OF ME
MOVING BEYOND PAIN
You’ve been hurt and it has effected you in ways that you don’t even realize. The pain may have changed you dramatically and traumatically because your response to pain is automatically triggered. The event has left little markers in indelible ink to remind you subconsciously of the pain and changed your life in some way or ways, forever. Now, maybe you take the trash out at 8:00 p.m. instead of 11:00 p.m. You wash your hands over and over again, not knowing why. You don’t trust the opposite sex. You stay away from family or friends and keep to yourself. You stay away from children and you begin to hoard things in your house. You hate going to work and can’t seem to hold down a job. Learning seems like a bore and you want to drop out of school.
Perhaps, eating has become a way of life for you. You may be someone who is afraid to eat or you not only eat to live, you live to eat. Oh, there may be numerous reasons why you eat too much, don’t eat, or throw up, but, they all stem from pain. You say you want to be happy, but, you just can’t seem to get there. You watch a once confident person become anxious, depressed, lonely, moody, impatient, angry, violent, or even addicted or suicidal.
You’ve been diagnosed with a chronic or terminal disease. You say, “The heck with it, I’m going to die anyway!” So, you just give up. Maybe you keep smoking or don’t take your medication and treatment. You’ll just help the process along.
All of these situations and scenarios sound pretty hopeless and permanent, but, are they? Of course, you’re waiting for me to tell you to give your pain to God, Jesus will make it all better, and God will wipe all of your tears away. Although those things are true, I’m not going to tell you that, not just yet. Those things may sound simple to you, but, unless you’ve tried Jesus and God, you know it’s not that simple. God requires much more of you.
Your pain also is rooted in pride, lacking acceptance and endurance, and based on a false reality you have created for yourself. Why you? Why not you? It happened. God allowed it, but, He never left you alone. If He was there, how could He watch you be hurt? How could He watch His Son be beaten, spat upon, ridiculed, falsely accused, tortured, and crucified? And yet, it too, happened for a reason.
The difference between God watching you go through pain and watching His Son, is what happened afterward. You see, Christ rose from the dead with all power in His hands, having conquered the world, saved us by completing His mission to die for our sins, defeated death, defeated Satan, and set the captives in hell free, but, you are still carrying around your pain and in bondage. God is still watching and He hasn’t given up on you. Have you given up on yourself?
Most of us don’t realize that in being a Believer, “belief” covers all, that is, everything in our lives. We must believe that God is able to affect and deliver us from all things.
Sometimes the body stores up pain like it stores up fat, because, WE don’t want to forget about our pain. In some way we are FEEDING off of the pain to comfort ourselves or justify our behavior. We have a VICTIM MENTALITY that thrives on remembering the pain we endured. So, either consciously or subconsciously, we harvest our pain and store it within.
However, we can’t store pain without it infesting the rest of our body. It will be manifested in some way, usually, in some type of negative behavior or illness, because pain is a result of a negative impact upon us.
So, how do we find our pain? How do we know we don’t need it to strengthen us and protect us in certain situations? Pain has been known to do that in very positive ways. Are there different types of pain or just different types of reactions to pain? I’ve think we’ve hit the nail on the head. Our REACTION to pain is what determines its lasting effect and the ways in which we use it.
By simply remembering pain, I am allowing myself to retain useful information for decision-making. By storing pain or holding it within as a part of my feelings, I am making it a part of me and my behavior. It begins to determine, not only my decisions, but it takes over the way that I function, knowingly and unknowingly, within my life. I may unwillingly be a captive in bondage to pain.
Pain will hide itself and bury itself deeply within you to prevent being rooted out. Not knowing why you feel the way that you do, you may try to self-medicate, become addicted to prescribed medications, or develop new behaviors or latent behaviors may even be awakened, become active or magnified. Most of us have come into contact with angry people who have no patience for others, bully people and lash out with profanity, hateful and angry words. These are people who have never learned to deal with their pain. They’ve buried it deep within themselves. These are people who have no peace. These are unprotected people who aren’t wearing the Armour of God. These are people who reject peace and in doing so, reject Christ, who is our Peace. Thus, they reject God.
What is abundant life without Peace? There is no abundant life without God. We need to know where our pain lies, how it is affecting us, and how to root it out.
Yes, when we are in trouble, Jesus is there to fix it. God will wipe all tears away. But, then what? What has it done to change you if you’re still holding on to your pain and use it to go gossip or bad mouth someone else to make yourself feel better? What if you use your pain to hate all people of color because you had one person of color hurt you? Maybe you grew up poor or struggling, or you lost your job because the factory closed down, so, now, you want to blame someone for your pain and the best person to blame is someone who is not like you. Yes, we need to know where our pain lies, how it is affecting us, and how to root it out, or, someone will come along and fill us with all kinds of lies and hatred and make us believe we’re the only ones who are right and entitled to live and prosper.
Pain is part of the entourage of pride, thus, it never travels alone. We all know that misery love company. Pride breeds pain, fear, mistrust, lies, deceit, violence and murder; for it is a sickness. This is why God refers to humbling ourselves and healing the land. WE ARE IN PAIN as a people, as a nation, and as a world.
PEOPLE WHO PASS ALONG HATRED, PASS ALONG PAIN AND INSECURITY.
To strengthen ourselves and our nations, we need to find our pain and root it out. We must root out those using pain and fear to prosper and elevate themselves and those who stand by and do nothing to stop it in order to further their agenda. Their pride tells them that they need their pain to define who they are; to unite together as one. But, that is where they are wrong. Pain takes away your identity and divides to the point of dividing one within themselves.
Hidden within pain is a ticking time bomb, which will eventually explode. Those looking to pain and fear to unite people to their cause will see it blow up in their faces. Pain and fear are unstable compounds and Satan holds the detonator.
When you were hurt, you were not in control of the pain that controlled someone else. You could not predict when the bomb would go off and you would become the victim. However, you can be in control of the pain that you carry within you. You can root it out and prevent Satan from setting it off.
What will it take for you to let go of your pain and feel comfortable without it? Has your pain brought shame and guilt along with it, also? Are you too ashamed to acknowledge your pain? –Too ashamed to let somebody else know it’s there? Perhaps you feel your quirky little habits don’t bother you and shouldn’t bother anyone else. These habits, negative, addictive or compulsive behaviors help you cope and that’s enough. You’re satisfied with coping, that is, until the time bomb goes off and you have no control over your pain. It’s too late to take it back, because, you’ve hurt yourself or someone else.
Maybe, you’ve joined people who think like you think and who make you feel that it’s alright to think that way. Maybe you actually believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion, no matter who it hurts, even if their opinion is based upon lies and hatred. Maybe you believe these people are good people obeying God. Maybe you don’t know that they are acting out of their pain. Maybe you don’t know what “good” is.
It seems that most of the world doesn’t mind being controlled by pain and fear, but, as a true Believer seeking abundant and eternal life, are you “of” the world? Then, you know that there is another way. Now, I can tell you that you know the Way; that Way is Jesus.
Still, it’s not that simple. If you’re going to follow Jesus into abundant and eternal life, then, you must let go of your pain and not look back. You can no longer trust it to tell you how to act and what to do or even how to feel. You can’t use it to hurt others, to discriminate, judge and justify hate. These things are only of the world and not of the Kingdom of God where you want to go.
Those people telling you that you can love and obey God, hold on to your pain and fear and still be hateful, prejudice, selfish, greedy, violent, profane, and immoral in any way don’t know Jesus and wouldn’t like Him if they did. Jesus preached accepting and loving all people of every race, ethnicity, creed, religion, and nation. One day, if these people full of pain and fear don’t turn from their wicked ways, they will stand face to face with God and find out that all of the time that they claimed to know God, God never knew them or claimed them as one of His children.
There is no abundant or eternal life for those who thrive on, loving and worship pain, hate, and fear, only more pain, hate, and fear that ends in nothingness.
Our relationship with God is first and foremost of importance in our abundant lives. God will leave no stone unturned to root out the darkness within us and purge us of unholiness and unrighteousness. Following Christ involves surrendering every area and facet of our lives in order to keep from sin and becoming blind to the danger that awaits if we withhold our feelings and pain to be examined by God’s Holy Spirit. God cannot teach us and guide us if we are unwilling students, resisting new ideas and change. Need I remind you that in doing so, we kick against the goad, the authority of God?
Our resistance, our dependency upon our pride and pain to dictate our lives will land us at the crossroad of acceptance and endurance as individuals and as nations. Until we decide to accept those events in our lives, in our ancestry, and in our history that have made us into what God created us to be, we will remain in pain and in fear, slaves to victim mentality, slaves to hatred, selfish, violence, abuse and greed. We will remain in sickness–unhealed.
God is waiting for you to take the first step in a multitude of steps for others toward restoration, moving beyond self-preservation to truly living an abundant life and healing the land; leaving behind the fear of being vulnerable and too proud to face what is keeping you in bondage. Trust him. He will continue to keep you from this point forward as you delve into your feelings and behaviors.
Jesus was not sent to perform miracles, suffer the cross and rise from the dead to make God look good. It was for YOU! What Jesus suffered changed not only His life, but, our lives, also. Today can be a new afterward and a new beginning for you. Yes, Jesus died to save mankind from sin, but part of that saving involves EMPOWERING mankind! DO YOU WANT TO BE EMPOWERED?! Do you want to move beyond your pain and be who God created you to be? You too can rise from the wages of sin, which is death. You too can conquer the pain, pride, fear, sin, and darkness of this world. You too can defeat Satan and the darkness seeking to keep you in bondage to pride and pain, and to destroy mankind. Exposing and surrendering your pain and pride is part of dying to our flesh, humbling ourselves and turning from our wicked ways.
When Abraham left behind the land which he knew and where he grew up, surrounded by friends and family, he had no way of knowing exactly what was in store for him. Yet, he had his belief. He believed God and God counted it as righteousness. You already know what lies beyond your pain–God’s promise and your abundant life. God is asking you to change your reaction to your pain and instead, wear His WHOLE Armour. God is asking you to bear the Fruit of His Holy Spirit. God wants to take you out of your old life to a new life like Abraham, but, first…God is asking you to “believe.”
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;