By Rev. Dr. Brian K. Gigee, Lead Pastor at New Life Lutheran Church
“WHEN PAIN IS MY FRIEND”
Welcome back to “Faith Matters!” I’m pleased to be able to pen some thoughts each week for those who live in what I call from time to time the south metro Houston tri-county world… a glimpse and slice of the most cosmopolitan city in the western hemisphere… where people have all kinds of thoughts and practices regarding faith. And they should. Diversity reigns here and with that diversity comes a myriad of ways to think, feel and believe… for in a world such as ours, faith matters… and everyone believes in something… and within that faith from time to time comes pain.
Everyone experiences pain. Some pain is avoidable. Some pain is not. Sometimes pain comes without an invite or proper pre- notification and more than any of us like to admit… we are the cause of pain, both to ourselves and those around us. You don’t have to ask very many people to find out that pain hurts. It can hurt for a brief moment and then there is pain that never goes away. Pain is part of life and pain has become my friend… but it’s not been an easy journey… nor simple.
Pick a rose and you might prick your finger. Ride a bike and you might skin your knee. Carve a pumpkin carelessly and you can slice a finger. Climb a tree and you might fall only to break your arm. You get the picture and you get that this kind of pain lasts but a while.
Yet, there is a deeper pain that comes our way because of love and relationships. Note: Frustration and expectation are always equal. Grandparents die. Children disappoint. People lose their job. Couples divorce, disappointing their families and friends as well as themselves when owning up to broken promises. Or sometimes a person will refuse ‘rehab’ and ‘sobriety’ because they have become comfortable with the pain of alcoholism or drug addiction while being fearful of the unknown pain they will experience getting well… which then amplifies the pain experienced by the people who love that person who doesn’t want to walk that new road. As, Mike Yaconelli once said, “Life is messy” and I say with the messiness comes the pain … reminding us we’re alive!
Recently, I asked a young man I know, “tell me what you think about this… pain is my friend!” He gave me a puzzled look as he knew my asking was deliberate because I know some of the pain he has experienced. “Well,” he replied, “the fire I have experienced has strengthened my life’s mettle and has helped me realize that life is always hard and still there’s life beyond the pain.” That’s a pretty good handle on pain from a young man, huh?
As I said, coming to terms with ‘pain’ in my life has not been an easy journey nor simple. I finally took the clue from Jesus when he said, “trials and tribulation you shall have.” (John 16:33). Not trials and tribulation I ‘might’ have or ‘maybe’ have… or ‘avoid’ by being a good boy and saying my prayers… but that I WOULD have them no matter what and if I’m to live in this life, I will learn pain is unavoidable. You go, Jesus! Afterall, if we are honest with ourselves, most of us will admit life’s true moments where valuable lessons have been learned and insight has been gained have come not from our triumphs but from our mistakes and those painful moments that remind us life is real!
Pain is my friend… but NOT my best friend… just a friend I choose not to ignore when it comes. May pain be your friend, too! Brian
|Rev. Dr. Brian K. Gigee is long-time resident of Pearland and the|
pastor at New Life Lutheran Church at 3521 E. Orange St. Comments and
questions can be sent to [email protected]