As I have done in previous Lents I am sharing a daily reflection as part of my Lenten discipline. This year I am using the “Wilderness Wanderings” theme compiled by the “Lent Photo a Day” group. The word appointed for today is “Pain.”
I am lucky and fortunate to be able to say that I have never really had much in the way of pain. Seeing that today’s word is pain, I am almost ashamed to admit that I don’t have much experience with it myself. At the same time, I’m grateful for that. But also acknowledge that for many others, pain is a constant reality.
I have seen this for some in my family as they try to mask it and deal with it quietly. I have seen this by others in how they try not to draw attention to themselves or to put on a brave or happy face. I have seen this after the fact in classmates who ended up being hurt or driven to the unthinkable because of the pains of depression and mental illness.
For me as a Christian, I believe we are called to love and accompany our friends, family, neighbors, and strangers who live in pain (known and unknown). I also believe that we are called to share our own pains and burdens with others. Yesterday I mentioned the quote from Martin Luther based on Galatians 2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” This is why we lift up each other in prayer, and hopefully more so, be present with one another showing and bearing the love of God in Christ.
For me as a Lutheran, I acknowledge that pain is a part of life. I am not saying it should be, but to deny it’s reality is to deny the reality of our earthly life. At the same time, there is no way on earth that I am going to try and justify pain and suffering as something good. Others have tried this before, and some have said that “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” My faith isn’t built on this. My faith is built on an idea that we have a God who walks with us, is present with us, and wants to be in relationship with us.
I believe that we are called to be in relationship with God and with each other. And perhaps if there can be one good thing from pain is that it creates an opportunity (and need) for us to be in relationship with each other. I am not saying that justifies it… just that it might provide some sense of a silver lining. What do you think?
Image Credit: “pain’s enduring gift“