Advent: Peace in Pain

Can you discover peace in the midst of excruciating pain?

I’ve been pondering physical pain a great deal lately as I anticipate childbirth. I’ve had moments where I wonder what I was thinking and that I can’t possibly follow through on this plan. Of course, that’s not an option, so I’ve turned to educating myself. After asking my midwife a question, her response was, “Well, I think childbirth is always painful for everyone.”

Man, that’s unfortunate.

But Billy and I attended childbirth class to learn about what to expect (theoretically) and to try to be as prepared as possible. There was a lot less frenzy and wild, banshee screaming than what you see on TV, which was good news. Still, Billy finished the day feeling somewhat overwhelmed at how much pain I might experience, but I came away profoundly at peace.

Why? Because at the end of the seaon of pain, there was a always a crying, squirming, live little baby. And the parents couldn’t have been happier. There was purpose in the pain. It wasn’t pain for pain’s sake.

How often do we focus on the pain in our lives without considering what God is actively doing during that suffering? How frequently do I let physical or emotional pain consume me, rather than trusting the process to birth something good and delightful in the end?

In this season of Advent and celebrating the birth of the Savior, there is always the reminder that Jesus was the Savior because of the forthcoming cross. Imagine Jesus’ thoughts in life, knowing that it would end in agonizing pain, yet with tremendous purpose. I’m not suggesting that this knowledge makes pain any less painful or more desirable, and we are reminded of that when Jesus prays for the cup to be taken from him if there’s another way. Still, the knowledge of God’s bigger story and the purpose in our suffering has the potential to fill our hearts with peace in the meantime.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” -2 Corinthians 4:17

Where have you experienced God’s greater purposes emerging from painful situations? How has God been glorified though suffering in your story?

Continue in this Advent series: Joy Down in My Heart... Where?

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