When Blessings Hurt
“If God would concede me His omnipotence for 24 hours, you would see how many changes I would make in the world. But if He gave me His wisdom too, I would leave things as they are.” – J.M.L. Monsabre
I believe I can say with certainty that life’s hurts and pains are universally despised on all levels. There is simply nothing enjoyable about pain, whether it be in our lives or in the lives of those around us, we pretty much deplore hurting. Deep within us there is this drive for self-preservation that aims to escape all forms of discomfort. However, we cannot look past the fact that pain can be a motivator. It can drive us to do extraordinary things, that under normal circumstances would be far outside our scope of possibility. We long for sunny skies and peaceful lives full of blessings, forgetting the fact that being confortable is the greatest inhibitor of progression. When one entertains this notion, a profound question soon presents itself, “Is it possible for life’s blessings to hurt?” We are faced with a world around us that is hurting every single day, but is it possible that out of that throbbing joy can arise? We have been taught time and time again by TV preachers and smiling motivational speakers that “Everyday is a Friday!” but what happens when reality strikes, and it’s actually a dreadful Monday morning? The sad truth is the smile, and jargon are intended to make a dime and infect the mind with an unrealistic reality of the depravity of life. It is possible for life’s hurts to become our blessings if we allow our blessings to hurt.
The greatest irony of love, in my opinion, is that we exchange roses to express this love. A rose is certainly a beautiful flower, but it has a message that I believe is overlooked. Roses possess thorns, and having been on the wrong side of a thorn a time or two, let me tell you, they hurt. Society, and culture have somehow tricked us into believing that the blessing of love is some fairy experience void of the reality of hurt, and pain. Many times, the deepest scars you bear were made by those you love the most. There is pain involved in love, but that never seems to deter us from walking right into it. The reason is that we are willing to endure the pain to enjoy the gain. Love can hurt many times, and those we love us can hurt us, but we are prepared to search for love because we know that the blessings that come from love are well worth the hurt it may cause.
“So often the providences of God seem to run completely counter to his promises…”
– Alan Redpath
I am very fortunate in that I will never have to endure the excruciating process of childbirth. While I do not understand, and never want to learn, childbirth from the prospect of a woman, there is one ubiquitous fact that triumphs all, it hurts. In some twisted tale of self-inflicted pain the very same woman who explains the exasperating pain of labor will in a single breath later exclaim her desire for another child. What could possibly cause someone to choose pain willingly? The answer is clear; there is a blessing that comes out of the pain that makes it all worthwhile. Much like childbirth, in our lives there are times of pain that we endure that bring forth something we cannot put words on. Life has a way of taking us into circumstances that result in a blessing we could have never imagined in the midst of misfortune.
The reality of life is quite simple, we will all experience highs and lows. The actuality we face today is that your worst day is going to be someone else’s best. Think about this for a moment. Today, someone got married, and it is arguably the happiest day of their lives, they will look back on this day for the rest of their lives. Today’s date will forever be engrained in their minds as the day they “tied the knot.” Yet, on the flip-side, today someone died. Today somebody's mother, father, son, daughter, cousin, or distant friend came to the close of their life, and the unwritten chapters of potential life were slammed shut by an end that approached too quickly. I say all that to say this, never judge your trial by someone’s mountaintop. Social media has made this nearly impossible, because somehow we have fallen into a trap of constructing a false facade on social media where a mask of happiness is ever present. The standard by which you judge your lows should be on the unfaltering love of God. At the end of the day, when you are at your worst God is at his best. A present pain, while certainly real, exposes the idea of a better future. Your past and your present are context for your future. Never allow your past to confine you and define you but enable it to refine you. I am by no means suggesting that we should approach every set back in life with a false smile and aim to be unfazed with an unaffected attitude. If you are grieving, please, grieve. There is a reason it is a natural response. Culture has conditioned us into believing that grief is some taboo. Grief is a process that must be walked through and not walked around.
We read in Matthew chapter 14 the account of Jesus feeding the five-thousand. This was, by all means, a fantastic miracle, and from this account I believe we can learn a lot about the idea of a blessing that hurts. Verse 19 says, “And he (Jesus) commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.” The essential key to this concept is found in two simple words “and brake.” You see, before God could feed the multitude he first had to break the loaves and the fish. The literal prerequisite to the miracle was an action of breaking. So often in our lives God has grand plans, and designs a fantastic future for us, but before the miracle at the end of the road we must endure the pain of being broken. God must break you in order to make you.
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – C.S. Lewis
How can I say that there is a blessing to the hurts of life, simple actually. I know that the greatest blessing man has ever experienced is the direct result of unimaginable pain. Somewhere deep beneath the soil of the outskirts of Jerusalem there lies a path. This windblown, and dust covered path was the unlikely route that salvation made to pave a red carpet. The red carpet of salvation leading to everylasting life is not constructed of plush regal fibers, but it’s dyed red by the blood that was shed on this unimaginable day. That day it took a cat of nine-tails, three nails, and a torn veil to ensure that mercy would prevail.
My inability to construct an appropriate understanding of this moment is not due to the span history that separates me, because my mind can adequately paint a detailed picture of the day. My ineptitude is not the direct result of a lack of details, because I have those in abundance. My unfitness is simple, I cannot grasp the reality of the moment because I cannot understand the reality of love so profound it would take my sins to ensure I would I have the mere possibility of salvation. The greatest blessing man has ever experienced took place on a cross where the blood of perfection kissed the dirt of humanity.
If the story ended there then this entire article would mean nothing, but the fact of the matter is that it didn’t. Jesus was buried in a tomb, and with him all sense of hope and faith was laid to rest alongside him. But the grave could not hold him, and three days later he rose from the dead. The greatest fact that blessings can hurt is found right here. It is impossible for a dead man to live again if he does not first die. Yes, there are pains in life and life hurts but if you look through the pain you will see the light of a tomb. Life’s hurts are very very real, but so is the excitement of love and the sweetness of happiness. Work through the pain and find Jesus where you are, because that is where you are going to find the blessing within the hurt.
“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” – C.S. Lewis