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Pain: Don’t Like it but Don’t Avoid it

May 29, 2012

You’d love to become a leader but inevitably people will criticize you.

You’d love to speak the truth to a friend but you know it would be a hard conversation.

You’d love to take a bold step but it’s risky.

You’d love an authentic relationship but transparency might include rejection.

The real problem is you don’t like pain. Neither do I.

We’re in good company. Jesus didn’t like pain. (See Matt. 26:36-39)

Even though he didn’t like pain, Jesus didn’t avoid it. In fact, Jesus would get angry when someone tried to prevent his pain. Angry! Why?

Here’s an example:

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” – Mark 8:31-33

Like you and I, Peter viewed pain as hurtful, a setback, and something to be avoided.

But Jesus sees pain differently. He views pain as a planned pathway leading to God’s desired future. He knew avoiding the pain would void his mission. The disciple’s efforts to stop the pain could’ve tragically prevented Jesus from going to the cross!

Jesus saw how pain tends to pave the way for God’s glory:

– Lazarus’ resurrection from the tomb followed a death, burial, and mourning.

– The leper’s life-saving healing followed a leprosy diagnosis and then isolation.

– The blind man’s glorious healing was preceded by a lifetime of visual darkness.

– The resurrection followed the cross.

Jesus didn’t want to be rejected, betrayed, or killed. But he knew God’s road to the resurrection required all of them. On the other side of Christ’s pain, God had a seat waiting near him.

Pain is a common ingredient found in miracles. Even though Jesus didn’t like pain, he passionately protected it.

The only thing worse than pain is missing out on God’s mission.

You don’t have to like pain but it’s tragic to avoid it.


From → Theology

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