I’ve been appropriately hemmed in between two messages of late. And much like the body weight needed to balance a seesaw, these two are also designed to bring me into alignment, they are pain and healing. When we’ve experienced both we are able to move throughout life with wisdom and strength. When we lack one or the other, we can remain juvenile and weak; for which there is no need for courage.

Here are a few things I was reminded over the past few weeks that I extend to you in an offering of love.

While visiting a church recently the preacher, popular Christian hip hop recording artist Lecrae, shared an excellent message with those in attendance. He talked about the different kinds of storms we will all experience in life, and how we need to respond to those storms. These storms are; those we bring upon ourselves as a result of poor choices, those others bring into our life as a result of their poor choices, and of course the those we all experience because we live in a fallen world. I am paraphrasing his outline here for brevity of course.

While all of the above are true, the storm summary was designed to lay a foundation for a deeper message that we can all relate to. A message about perspective. We all like to think our storms are bigger, harder, and well, more special than someone else’s. Even in our pain we want to feel “special.” As if it would help us feel better. That desire feeds our ability to make excuses to run away from our storms, rather than face them.

The storms we face; are the opportunities for us to experience pain and suffering. That’s what we are avoiding… PAIN.

In his talk, Lecrae, was able to relate in the most human way to the listeners when he said, “you’re right, I’ve never experienced your exact same circumstances, just like I’ve never experienced the circumstances that Joseph faced, or David faced, your right; the circumstances are different but guess what – SAME GOD.” Don’t miss that; different storms but SAME GOD.

We all want someone to go through our pain with us; but no one can do that, they can’t ever feel exactly how we feel, that’s why we can be so thankful that Jesus can walk through our pain with us. Because the God who redeemed all things did it by facing His own pain. Once we learn to lean on Him for courage to face our pain we can get through to the other side and experience healing.

While reading, The Good and Beautiful God, by James Bryan Smith, book one in a spiritual formation series that I have returned to on many occasions, I came to this passage.

“All of us have to face pain and difficulty, sometimes even tragedy. As we come to know and draw close to the God Jesus knows, we find a new kind of strength to deal with our struggles. If we do not know God as our Abba Father, then we will never have the courage to face our problems. But as we come to know the Good and beautiful God that Jesus knows, our struggles take on a whole new meaning. If God is truly good and looking out for our good, then we can come to him with complete honesty. We can practice honesty when we pray – bearing our soul and confronting those hurts that make us doubt God’s goodness by handing them over to him for healing.” (pg. 64)

When we allow healing to take place we can see God’s redemptive work in our lives. If we’ve never experienced pain there would be nothing to redeem. If we never allow the process of healing to take place we block God’s desire to show us His redemptive work in our lives.

When we are open to receive God’s healing in our lives we are courageously suffering so that our pain has a purpose. Wether the pain is physical or emotional the same truth applies.

I was once told that even broken bones when healed properly can become stronger than they were before the break. This means that healed brokenness can make us stronger. I offer you this tough truth as a companion, whose no stranger to seeing God redeem both physical and emotional pain through the healing process. I can also share that this is an excessively hard road to travel, and requires much courage.

Quite possibly this is why I share a reflection on courage with you regularly, because life is hard, my life is hard, and we all need encouragement to take the courageous way with Jesus. So, this week I leave you with this somber but powerful reminder; Jesus redeemed more through 3 days of pain, than He did in 3 years of ministry, with 3 decades of preparation.

Let us not forget that to follow the Jesus way you must be strong and courageous my friend,