On my way to a business meeting this week I had an interesting conversation with a client about pain. Not just the pain caused by a headache or a paper cut, but the kind of pain that shakes the core of your being. The kind of pain that captures your attention and your heart so intensely that you can’t breathe. The kind of pain that despite your greatest efforts follows you everywhere you go. The kind of pain that exhausts you, discourages you and drains you.
This pain is buried underneath the fake smiles and our polite hellos. Deep inside are inward scars that no one can see, secret pain that no one knows you deal with.
My client is a handsome, young man who is passionate about empowering others. Raised in the North West by his grandmother, he had to deal with the pain of not being wanted by his parents who went their separate ways and remarried, consequentially leaving him with his grandmother. I can only imagine what that kind of rejection does to a man’s spirit and sense of significance.
From an early age, he had to get used to second hand clothing because of lack of finances. By God’s grace, he got a sponsor that took him to varsity and now he’s running his own company.
As we spoke, I thought about the pain I have had to endure in my own life.
“Nono, in life, we need pain,” he said.
His words spoke directly to me.
“Without pain, we wouldn’t be the people we are today. We wouldn’t be as successful yet humble; we wouldn’t be so driven yet grounded; we wouldn’t be so confident yet so compassionate. Most importantly, we wouldn’t have a revelation of how good God is…”
He was right. My conviction of the greatness of God stems primarily from what I have seen Him do in my life in my darkest hour. While I know that God is good all the time, there is nothing that can compare with the goodness of God in a time when you feel weak, beaten and worthless. As I processed his words, I immediately made peace with past hurts.
While we know that there is purpose in pain, it is easy to forget that in the hour of need. When your entire being aches, it is difficult to rationalize that there’s a lesson to be learnt.
But we can’t escape the fact that we need pain to grow.
While it hurts, we must endure suffering. Regardless of the pressure, we need to remember that pain comes to educate us, to improve us, it comes to toughen us up, to make us wiser, better and stronger.
I read somewhere that pain is not holding us back. It is calling us to be free from whatever is holding us back.
“Rejoice in your trials!” we’re told again and again in the Bible. Oh, but it’s so hard!
Nonetheless, we trust in the One who holds our whole world in His hands.
So remember, when it all gets too much, there’s purpose in your pain. Moreover, pain doesn’t last, it is temporal. It is there so that one day, when we look back we can see how far we have come. We can rest assured that indeed, God is great.
Don’t be scared of painful lessons, don’t be too quick to give up and quit, don’t assume the world and everyone in it is against you- realize that it’s just a small but crucial process of life as you become all you were created to be.
As you heal, wear your scars well, wear them with pride so that others can learn and be inspired. Wear your pain the way a beautiful woman wears stilettos- with class- no matter how much it hurts, all you see is the beauty of it.
Wear your painful lessons with a smile because pain won’t last, but it will certainly shape your character and at the end of that pain you must be better, not bitter.
Cry if you must, but don’t give up. In good times enjoy, in difficult times, endure.