The Pain of Progress

This week our youngest had major surgery to reconstruct her hips. I have been saying that she is being given hips that won’t lie. That’s the hope anyway!

As she has been coming out of the anesthesia and working toward pain management and her normal personality, I am struck by the pain in her progress. Of course, she would prefer to never experience pain – and as her father, I wish she would never experience it either! But this pain, on purpose and intentional, is headed somewhere. It is bringing her to healing, functionality, better mobility and flourishing. These few days of major discomfort and the weeks of struggle ahead are all ushering something so much better.

I am stuck that our sanctification works much the same way. Our becoming more like Christ, slaying the dragon of self and living for Jesus’ purpose and glory. It is not easy and we could often categorize it as pain or suffering. But just like Adia’s recovery, this pain is part of the progress.

We run after too much that we assume is “pain” free and that never gets us to where we desire to be. On the flip side, we fight against purposeful discomfort because frankly, we are comfortable in our mess, our inability to flourish. Jesus means to end all that and bring you somewhere worthwhile. To the place your identity in him secures, promises, and provides.

Maybe we should lean into trusting his strength and process. After all, he is tremendously good and he loves you. I know it won’t be easy, but it will be good.

I am praying for you as you face the pain in the progress.

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (ESV)

Weep With Me

Yesterday I preached on Exodus 5, the struggle is real but God is still good. Life can be hard, difficulty will come. But we have hope in Christ and a place to turn in our pain. We can raise a lament knowing we will be heard and cared for.

Here is a timely new song from Rend Collective that sings of this truth.

You are not alone. Jesus promised to be with you and he is, and he has a community for you. Find it and hold fast to it.

The painful in between

“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:30

“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 21:3-6

From the hope of finished work on the cross for those that believe – the covering of sin and reconciliation to our creator. It leads to the gift of the Holy Spirit that indwells giving peace beyond understanding. But… we still wake in a broken world and come face to face with our own brokenness when hate and violence play out not as the dramas that entertain us but the real life news we hear.

Perhaps showing our attempts to be gods, we make the news a political issue; ‘we could fix this if…’ but the reality is that we can’t fix it. We exist in the painful in between. We grieve. We weep. We long to see things made right. And we hold onto the hope that we have. The hope that it is true that Jesus will wipe away every tear and death shall be no more. The hope of “It is done!”

As we wait, we live to bring peace among our neighbors and serve those that need serving. We work to end the violence because we know the One that will end it once for all. And we trust in God and his keeping. We trust that good is on its way for his glory and our comfort. Pray with one another. Love those that are hurting. Worship. And weep.