I was a bit frustrated in the last post. Who wouldn't be? The world is full of struggles that God just seems to allow. ISIS, Ferguson, friends dying, people lacking simple things like food, housing, relationships.
What I realized yesterday, as I walked to buy a spice cake to make for my sister, as each step sent me to Jesus in prayer, is that he has been with me, every step.
With a fast paced life and a quicker mind that just races through ideas, I am often trying to be better, to improve, to be good. For instance, I want to incorporate spiritual disciplines. Quiet time daily turns into a snooze alarm. Gathering for worship is boring sometimes, and I am easily distracted. Prayer time is fleeting moments in the car. Reading my Bible consists mostly of preparation for teaching or refuting a claim in a sermon. Sabbath is difficult because when I rest, I sleep. Fasting is less about God than maybe dropping a little weight as a pay off.
My pain sucks, I won't lie or down play it, but there is the gift in it, probably because God will use everything for my good, NOT because being in pain is good. My pain is just another symptom of the brokenness of this world. But the gift is a deep sense of gratitude and gentleness. I am more able to spend time with God, listen to the Spirit because I have been slowed down.
I am able to be gentle with struggling coworkers because my pain allows me to stop, to really listen, to care, to pray.
I am able to be gentler with my patients as I identify with the stress of captivity.
I am able to focus on gratitude for the amazing life, friends, family, pups, home, careers, & talents I have been given, even in my pain. My pain doesn't own those things. My God does. My God. He who walks with me in my pain. He who gives me peace in the midst of it all. In every step.