In my last post, Surviving Childhood: From Weeping to Refreshment, I wrote about some of the difficulties of growing up in a broken home, but also how I was able to turn those years of weeping into rejoicing and blessing. I gave a few steps to take for you to do the same thing. I didn’t say it but those steps are work – emotional, spiritual, relational work. This work is pain redemption.
Let me share two thoughts on pain redeemed.
1. The Pearl of Great Price
Matthew 13 is a collection of stories and illustrations Jesus used to shed light on the Kingdom of God; a key work during his time on earth. Here is one of those parables:
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” -Matthew 13:44-46 NLT
The Kingdom of God is built on story after story of redemption. All of us have a story (probably multiple stories) of walking through a Valley of Weeping. Deep within your story…deep within you is something of unbelievable worth. God is working to redeem your story of pain and heartache into a masterpiece.
Within you is a jewel of unimaginable value. It is the pearl of great price. Can you point to it? Can you see how God has taken you through the valley (maybe even walk-ing through it now) to a place of refreshing and importance?
2. Pain Redeemed vs Pain Removed
I recently listened to two different interviews with author Phillip Yancey. I was introduced to Yancey during college. One of my classes required reading his book, Disappointment with God – one his more popular books. Since then he has written several other books including, What’s so Amazing About Grace, The Jesus I Never Knew.
His most recent book is Where the Light Fell: A Memoir. Yancey shares his story of growing up in a dysfunctional, single family home (his father died when he was very young) in the South. His childhood, more than mine, was a story of pain.
At the end of one of the interviews I listened to, Yancey made this statement,
“Pain redeemed is better than pain removed.”
When I experience pain, all I want is for it to be taken away. I want pain removed. In a physical sense, I want to be able to take two Advil to relieve my headache. God wants more than that for me in my life. He wants to take my pain and turn it into something beautiful. He wants me to discover that pearl of great price.
In Phillip Yancey’s case, the years of pain he endured was redeemed into a healthy family, a writing career and helping others walk through the same types of struggles he faced. This type of redemption is available to all of us.
Your Pain Redeemed
As I look back on my own life, I am increasingly grateful for the valleys I’ve walked through. Whether of my own making, the choices of others or simply the way life unfolds, I have seen the value of my pain redeemed for greater purposes in my life and the lives of those I encounter.
Where have you seen your pain redeemed? Now, consider how that helps you with the pain you are encountering today. Can you see how it can lead to a new pearl of great price?