When the Pain is a Person

“O Lord, you teach us by inflicting pain, you smite so that you may heal, and you kill us so that we may not die away from you.” _Augustine

Have you ever had a pain that was a person?

I’ll never forget one particular person who was a royal pain.  (There’s actually been several over the years, but I’ll stick with just this one.)

The fellow would have made both Aristotle and Copernicus mad.  Aristotle thought the earth was at the center of the universe and Copernicus thought it was the sun.  This “Pain” knew the truth, he was at the center of the universe (at least his universe) and he expected me to adjust the orbit my life on a moment’s notice to accommodate his wishes and demands.

I remember when things changed.

It was on the occasion I mentally threw up my hands and complained loudly to God.  (Have you ever thought loudly?)  I cried, what have I done to deserve this man in my life!?

That’s when I sensed God saying, “This man is not your punishment, he’s your assignment.” 

That changed everything.

I moved from doing just enough to get him out the door or off the phone so that I could get back to what I was doing to responding in a way that would help him change and grow.  I moved him and me from the center of the universe and moved God’s plan for his life to the center. 

Our relationship changed completely.  He was still a pain and nuisance sometimes, but things slowly got better and eventually the expression “No pain, no gain” played out in both our favor and I gained a good friend and partner in ministry.

Over the years I’ve been reminded of that important life-lesson many times.  There’s a lot of “Pains” out there.  Trigger alert: Sometimes we are all pains. 

But before you write them off, consider that you may be the key to them becoming what God intends them to be.

In other words, they may not be a punishment but an assignment. 

The ONE THING for today: Assignments are often painful, but when completed its amazing how the pain turns into gain.