Afraid of More Pain
No more pain!
Not too long ago, I tanked emotionally. I was overcome with terror that I would be hurt yet again. (Have you ever crossed your arms, dug in your heels, and determined, “No more! I’ve been hurt enough, and I will NOT allow it to happen ever again.”)
That was me. There I stood defiantly... until I thought of Jesus; and my defensive self crumpled at His feet. How could I cling to self-protection in light of His courageous, selfless example?
While Jesus lived on this earth, He could so many times have said, “Forget the cross! I’ve been through enough pain. I’ve been misunderstood, rejected by my own family, hungry, and homeless. I’ve been separated from my loving Father for long enough. I ....”
Of course He didn’t say this. Although we are given a glimpse into His infinite pain the evening He was arrested and nailed to that wooden torture device. He cried out, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me....”
But He didn’t stop there: “...nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Jesus had entered the wasteland of this world with the express purpose of sacrificing His life so that we might have life (Ps. 106:43, John 6:33). In light of His surrender, how could I not trust God with my pain, too?
And again, because the flesh doesn’t die easy....
But a few nights later, I was again feeling sorry for myself, when I received a text from my mom. She’d been reading Genesis 45, and was struck with how “...it was God—Joseph said—who did all the things in his life.”
That’s precisely my problem! I thought. God is the One who’s allowing this pain. Why? Haven’t I gone through enough?
I turned to Genesis 45, and noticed verse five:
“...it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.”
That’s it, I thought with despair and disgust. God’s giving me extra doses of pain so I can be an instrument to “save” others. “I don’t want to save other lives, God,” I said in a moment of brutal honesty. “I just want what I want!”
That's when God brought to mind the mocking words of the people at the foot of the cross, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save!”
What incredible beauty. Jesus embraced His Father’s will knowing it led to the cross, when He could have chosen to save Himself!
In light of this breath-taking God, I actually found myself wanting to continue to press into my “cross,” trusting that it will result in deeper intimacy with Him, and genuine life for me and others.
What about you? Are your feet planted defiantly, or are you fixing your eyes on Jesus as you move toward your “cross”?