Thanks For Pain

Gratitude Chronicles Part II

Since November is the month when we celebrate Thanksgiving in America, it’s a really good month for me to consider all the many ways I can be grateful. This year I want to work a little harder, and dig a little deeper, in exploring gratitude. With that in mind I’ve been thinking about my gratitude for pain. Yes, I know the bible says “in everything give thanks” and it does not say “for everything give thanks.” In other words, God doesn’t ask me to thank Him for the hard things in life. However, I think when I dig a little deeper I can actually thank Him for pain. Of course pain hurts! Short-lived pain is no fun, chronic-pain is life-altering and debilitating, and all of it is the exact opposite of enjoyable. But without pain, I wouldn’t understand the high of relief, of peace, or being attentive to areas of my body, my soul, or my life that require my attention and care. St. Augustine in his book Confessions put it this way:

“What is it, therefore, that goes on within the soul, since it takes greater delight if things that it loves are found or restored to it than if it had always possessed them? Everywhere a greater joy is preceded by greater suffering.”

Therefore, as much as pain is painful, I am grateful for pain that drives me to my knees and to my God, that makes me wake up to realities bigger than myself, that makes me attend to the things that must be healed, and makes me that much more satisfied and filled with joy when God removes the pain. How amazing heaven is going to be when the tears we have shed, the losses we have faced, the mourning and pain we have endured are replaced with a new order where “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev. 21:4)

About Andy Lewis

Andy is an author, pastor, and musician who lives in Santa Cruz California. Currently he serves as lead pastor at Faith Community Church in Santa Cruz
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