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Power of Pain

Years ago our family lived in Munich, Germany and while there I ran my first marathon. Completing this distance was something I had dreamt about for a long time but always doubted my ability to run that far.

I had a love/hate relationship with the training. I enjoyed the challenge but often asked, “Why am I doing this to myself?”

Race day was no different. There were moments of highs and lows. One in particular was as I neared mile 18. My energy began to drop and I feared I was about to hit the infamous “wall” where the body threatens to shut down. My legs became heavy and it took more effort to move them.

As I came to the 18th mile marker the course tuned into a city park. It was there I saw a man holding a sign that read…

Where there is pain, there is life.

Yes the pain I felt at that moment was, well uh…a pain. But these words revitalized my spirit and showed me the power that can be found in discomfort.

One, I was accomplishing a goal I held for over 15 years. Big aspirations require hard work, struggles and moments of doubt. Goals teach us to push our limits. They take us out of our comfort zone and remove the unstable crutches we mistakenly depend upon. It is here that we are able to clearly see God’s hand holding us up and revealing to us what we are able to do.

Second, my pain reminded me that I was overcoming an obstacle. Two years prior I struggled to walk after having knee surgery to reconstruct my ACL. Now I was running and fulfilling a dream (well, some may not define my speed as actual running but that’s beside the point.) Hindrances are not pleasant and can be overwhelming but once you’ve passed them – whoa – what a rush of triumph. No interference that God allows in our life is unbreakable unless God is using it to redirect our course.

Third, the pain proved to me that my body and spirit were fully alive. The marathon didn’t just challenge me physically but also mentally and emotionally. Every part of my being felt the pain that day but every part also celebrated as I crossed the finish line. When we turn off part of ourselves in order to avoid pain or discomfort, it begins to atrophy. Before you know it you’re only partially alive and not experiencing the abundant life Jesus offers.

When you avoid discomfort, you avoid life. If Jesus had avoided the pain of the Cross we would have missed out on the gift eternal life and the power of the resurrection.

Pain is multi-tiered and the level I’ve discussed here is pain in its simplest form so I pray I haven’t hurt or offended anyone who is presently dealing with a deeper. My desire is only to encourage the avoidance of building a permanent boundary around our lives that prevents us from experiencing life and God abundantly.

Is pain or discomfort something you try to avoid?

What has God shown you in the midst of painful trials?







Reading your profound words here reminded me of a story a precious woman in Moldova once told me. I was staying in Tatyana's home for 2 weeks at the end of a 6 week journey in the tender country. One night, over a dinner of fresh tomatos, the most flavorful cheese ever and mini toast, Tatyana shared with me what life was like as a young Christian woman living under the rough hand of the USSR. Tatyana called her son-in-law who was living in the neighboring Romania and through the phone lines he translated an incredible story of Tatyana's joy in the midst of great pain and suffering. She showed me the scars on the palms of her hands where she literally smooth concrete by hand as her and friends laid foundation to a church they were building during the communist rule. The Soviets said her and her friends could build all they want but they couldn't use machinery of any kind. So on her hands and knees, she smoothed out the concrete floor. Her hands bled all over the floor. She described that time as some of the most painful times in her life. And there was a big BUT at the end. With a smile on her face and a tone of genuine love, she shared that those days were some of her closest days and richest times with her savior Jesus. I learned so much from that sweet woman. Her joy in pain showed Christ to me and the upside down kingdom he brings with him upon this world. Good stuff.

Thanks for the thought provoking post and thanks for stirring up memories of sweet Tatyana for me!

Carrie - THAT is an incredible story!! Thanks for sharing. It totally illustrates pains ability to remove the crutches that prevent us from feeling God's hands holding us up.

Love it!!

Carrie - THAT is an incredible story!! Thanks for sharing. It totally illustrates pains ability to remove the crutches that prevent us from feeling God's hands holding us up.

Love it!!

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Laurie is author of I Love Him, I Love Him Not, I Finally Love Him. She asks hard questions, and shares transparent, sometimes funny and sometimes embarrassing, stories all while seeking to find Jesus in daily life.