Thankful for Pain

My friend Michelle says, “Every test is a testimony and every mess is a ministry.”

If indeed that is true, many of my fellow Boomer Babes have as many testimonies and ministries as we have grey hairs!

During this season of Thanksgiving, there will be no dearth of articles popping up in virtually every print and online publication discussing the topic of “giving thanks.” We’ll be encouraged to give thanks for the many blessings we’ve received…thanks for all the good things we’ve been given. However, I’d like to pose a different angle for our thanksgiving this season.

Let’s give thanks for our pain and our troubles.

Let’s give thanks for the anguish that has sharpened our senses and made us more sensitive to the pain of others.

Let’s give thanks for the years of trial and tribulation that have softened the rough edges of our heart, bringing us wisdom and knowledge and the life-changing realization that God is in control.

Let’s give thanks for the tests that have given us amazing testimonies and the messes that have opened the doors for life-transforming ministries. For it is through the tests and messes, through the troubles of life we come to understand the true meaning of God’s love and restoration.

Scripture says in Psalm 71:20-21,

20. Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.

21. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.

Ah…comfort! The blessed assurance that comfort will once again wrap itself around us like grandma’s hand crocheted blanket, enveloping us in all that is warm and safe and familiar.

Okay, lest you think someone has kidnapped “the real Allison,” let me stop waxing poetic and say for the record that I find it really hard to give thanks for the messes that frequently spill over into my life. It’s difficult to give thanks when the tests break your heart—making it hard sometimes to even breathe. Yet as Christians we are called to a higher level of understanding why some things happen in our life.

It’s about gaining wisdom and knowledge. God wants us not only to wake up and smell the Starbucks, but to learn from our mistakes—to gain wisdom, knowledge and insight from our life journey. Doesn’t it make sense then, to extend thanksgiving to God for the journey he has allowed us to live? No matter how difficult? No matter how painful?
I love what Scripture says in Proverbs 2:1-11

1. My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,

2. turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,

3. and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,

4. and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,

5. then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

6. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

7. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,

8. for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

9. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.

10. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

11. Discretion will protect you,and understanding will guard you.

Wow. Doesn’t that make you want to do the right thing? Live a good life? Walk the talk? Sure it does. But that’s easier said than done. Living a life that is pleasing to God is important to me—I know it’s important to you, too. But I continually fall by the wayside and often my good intentions become not-so-good contentions. That’s what having an inherent sinful nature is all about…the inner struggle to do the right thing—in spite of the pain and anguish.

That’s why I’ve chosen to spend this thanksgiving season as a time to look at all of my tests and messes, and instead of throwing a pity-party or getting depressed or angry…to give God the glory and thanks for allowing me to experience the pain. For without the pain I would not be where I am today. Without traveling the roads that often brought me to my knees in desperation and exhaustion, I would not have the strength of courage to go another mile—and another—and another.

Dear Boomer Babe Sisters, please join me this season by pulling back the dark ugly curtain that has been covering the tests and messes of life we’d just as soon forget. Haul out the dusty boxes in the attic of our mind that are hiding all the garbage of our past mistakes and give God thanks for the experiences—no matter how painful. Focusing not on the anguish—but on the wisdom we have gained as a result of the journey.

Scripture says in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I’m not a theologian—nor am I a learned Bible teacher. I’m just a Boomer Babe striving to make sense of my life in this world—like you. I’d like to think the older I get the wiser I do get, and yet times of trial and tribulation are still difficult to understand and process. I don’t have the answers—but I know who does. I’m just thankful that through it all, one thing remains the same, Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. On that I can rest.

And because of that knowledge—because I trust that God is indeed in control, that he holds me in the palm of his hand, I choose this season to thank him for the journey—to thank him for the pain. To thank him for the tests that have given me a testimony and the messes that have given me a ministry. I invite you to join me.

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