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What’s all this about Pain and is God Planning?

This article isn’t meant to be a trigger for you, nor is it meant to encourage you to seek pain thinking that is the way to find God’s plan for your life. Rather, it’s an exploration into your power as an alchemist. Turning your pain into strength and to perceive the presence of pain differently, – in a way that can empower you, and prepare you for future obstacles. So how does pain relate to the idea that God is planning something greater for our lives? Imagine if there was never pain. If we lived a life perfect and pain-free. Would you truly know or experience what it means to be joyful? Would your eyes twinkle as much when you meet someone that truly loves and appreciates you? Would you melt inside when you find someone that you really love and appreciate too? A sincere smile stands on the experience of what it means to truly frown. A true cry of joy stands on what it means to weep from the bottom of the heart. The truth is: pain or no pain, joy, or sadness, discomfort, or ease,  – the duality gives meaning and appreciation to the other. Without pain, we wouldn’t know or experience the full value of joy and happiness. They both play a vital role in the experience of life.

Let’s start with the definition of physical pain according to Google:

“…Pain is a signal in your nervous system that something may be wrong. It is an unpleasant feeling, like a prick, tingle, sting, burn, or an ache. Pain may be sharp or dull.”

Now let’s apply that information from an emotional standpoint. Circumstances (whether in our control or not), people, environments, negative self-talk, trauma, betrayal etc. are all ways we can feel pain emotionally, and are just as real and striking as physical pain. It may feel like a sting to the heart when someone you’ve trusted betrays you. A burn in the stomach when something or someone devalues you. An ache to your mind when past trauma overwhelms your thoughts. A prick to the eyes, causing tears to rapidly flow, or just an unpleasant feeling overall within your body.

Bottom line is, pain is never a constant state. It’s a season. A season that you can overcome and outlast. If someone hurts you, the pain of that encounter teaches you what or who isn’t good for your life or mental health. Life experiences are tools that you gain to prepare you for the future, equipping you and even qualifying you to help someone else dealing with a similar situation. I know someone personally that was physically and sexually abused. While it was important for that person to seek professional help to heal, they also became an advocate for themselves and for others. Helping children and people who have been abused in the worst ways, to get through and to know that they weren’t alone. That experience allowed them to understand the signs and red flags of a predator, and in turn they were able to teach and protect thousands of other people in the world! They dug deep into the alchemist within themselves and turned a terrible experience into a life of strength and resilience, reaching so many in the world, and most importantly themselves.

They are the epitome of a true warrior continually healing, forgiving, increasing their self-love and self-worth, and are taking that power and releasing it into the world for change. We all have that warrior within us!

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jerimiah 29:11 (NIV)

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)

“Not only so, but we also glory in our suffering because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character hope.” Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)

Pain can be transformative in many ways. One way is: Imagine you’re meant to be on a path that is good, – living your life to its full potential. This path is beautiful, clear skies, beautiful trees, plants, wonderful scenery, etc. While you are walking  this open path you breathe in fresh air, then suddenly a wrong path is taken. You trusted the wrong person, decided not to live out your greatest expression, are constantly thinking bad about yourself, are making poor decisions, compromising yourself, start ignoring your intuition, begin devaluing who you are, engage in negative self-talk, and are overall not seeing your greatness. Just one of the ills mentioned can lead you down a road of confusion. A path closed-in. With thorns now cutting you, bricks hitting you left and right, – you’re in a place of darkness, with no light, cloudy skies, and are surrounded by smoke, making it difficult to breathe as if you are suffocating. All the while, that road of darkness was meant to show you to STOP. Turn from this path! It isn’t meant for you! That is why it doesn’t feel good. Why it keeps letting you down. That is why you cannot breathe or why whatever you are doing doesn’t fulfill you. These are clear indicators that your current situation isn’t meant for you. Those negative thoughts you have about yourself aren’t true and are not meant for you. This isn’t the road meant to lift you up, and that is why it brings you down. That isn’t the path to bring you joy. That is why it isn’t joyful. Turn from it and walk towards your true path of goodness and happiness.

Shine on the path you’re meant to walk.

Another way to view pain is,  although it was a painful experience, you have now gained wisdom and discernment from it. You may not have been at a level where you understood the full capacity of things, and that can then lead you to make some poor decisions. Those poor decisions however when learned from, are true life lessons. Lessons that can elevate you to a higher level of understanding, based off of your pain. Life lessons that can now guide and protect you with wisdom that you can also use to share and protect others. Life lessons that you take and keep with you forever. Passing it down to others because you went through it, you overcame it, and you learned from it! God has a plan and wisdom beyond our human understanding. Let us take that knowing and apply it to the idea of pain. The presence of pain can be more than just painful, but can used as a tool for the transformation of the self.

So, if something “bad” happens, was it truly bad, or was that just the way you chose to perceive it? Was it painful because you continually held onto it? Yes there are things that happen that are not ideal, but do we have to carry them around with us, in the same state we found them? Leaving them in pain, and never transforming challenges into strength? There is an entire world out there that only few have explored. A mental world. A world where we go through pain, that doesn’t have to define us. A world where we can recognize that God has a bigger plan for us and pain is experienced only for a season. A mental world where we have the strength and capacity to take something painful and come out of it triumphant! A world where the presence of pain means there is better on the opposite side of it.

This can also be applied on a community level. In Binghamton for instance, we suffer from a lack of affordable housing and the opportunity for a quality life for many. Over 250 students in the Binghamton city school district alone are experiencing homelessness. Many kids are misplaced, causing them to jump from school to school, disrupting their education. As a result, we as a county have some of the lowest test scores in the state of New York. Certain parts of the town are severely impoverished and are missing the vibrance and cleanliness of what anyone would consider a liveable place. Shelters are at full capacity, so now the town’s hotels are full of families with nowhere else to go. People need jobs with a liveable wage. We need to invest in the community and the people who are striving and taking action to make it better. The signs of depression and drug use of our residents are everywhere. We need more outlets and ways to create positive spaces for children and adults alike. The list goes on with the problems we face, but there is something greater on the other side of this. God is planning, and so are community members and local entrepreneurs who really care for this community. With resilience, people coming together, community meetings, creating positive spaces, getting involved, caring about solutions, great ideas being manifested and never giving up. We can out last this season of pain in this city and any pain we may be experiencing within ourselves. We can take any challenges and transform them into strengths that will help us grow as individuals which in turn will reflect as change in our community as a whole.


“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jerimiah 29:11 (NIV)

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