Last night I was listening to a story about all kinds of pain - spiritual, emotional, and physical. In the course of the story, the person speaking made the statement, "Our pain makes room for God."
Wow. In all my experiences, with all kinds of pain, I have always thought of pain as limiting. What does my pain keep from happening? What do I have to learn to say no to because of pain? How have my painful experiences prevented me from being in situations that would be even more painful? For me, pain has always been about limits. My physical pain has been protective and instructive, teaching me how to say no, preventing me from overextending myself. My emotional pain has been a leash, holding me back from unhealthy relationships but also holding me back from vulnerability.
Last night I realized that pain is often about creating, not about limiting. Pain creates voids in our lives. It pokes holes in our well-being that need filling. Each of those painful holes is room where we need God to work in our lives. We can't fill those holes on our own. Money, popularity, romance, and achievement will never adequately fill those holes. They can't be filled with anything but God.
Do we learn limits as God works to fill our holes? Yes. Does God use painful things to protect us? Yes. But, the pain isn't about the limit or the protection. It's about the space, its about making room. Room for God.
Where has pain been making room for God in your life?
Romans 8: 18
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.