Have you ever had a bruise that has taken a while to heal? A spot that remains tender, even though time has past. A sore spot that may not call attention to itself at all times, but it makes itself known if accidentally bumped or poked or pulled?
The bruises we come by are not just physical. Bruises can come in many forms mental bruises, emotional bruises, financial bruises and relational bruises. All bruises take time to heal and mend.
This morning I met with a dear friend for coffee. We were chatting and having a grand time. A point in our conversation caused me to bump into one of my emotional bruises, one I acquired within the past couple of years, and my eyes just starting filling with tears.
In an instant my heart cried out, “Ouch! That still hurts!”
I thought I had come to a place where this bruise was no longer going to draw tears, but I was sorely wrong this morning as my vision blurred and tears stained my cheeks. It still hurts.
This wound is something I have been living with for a while now, it hurt quite a bit at first. I have tried my best to not dwell on it, to learn from it, and to see how God’s love has been covering my bruises all long.
The sting of pain in my heart, provokes thoughts of regret in my mind; “I wish I had…” and “I wish I hadn’t…” speedily follow the cry of my heart. Those can be tough thoughts to take captive.
I am so grateful that this twinge of pain came while sitting across from one of my greatest confidants. Someone who could grab the reigns of the conversation, to help bring that runaway wagon train of thoughts to a halt. My friend was able to offer me a perspective not nearly as dismal as what I was feeling in my pain, but most of all she was there to sit with me in my muck and offer to pray for me.
Praising through the Pain
Pain so often leads us to complain, to focus on our dissatisfaction, our annoyances, our grievances and our sufferings. Believe me, I have walked down the path of complaint many, many times. It is a dismal and uninviting path to be on.
I so deeply desire that the pain in my life would not prevent me from being aware of God’s goodness, which I want to experience in its fullness each day. I want to learn how to praise God through the pain.
I would much rather the focus be on who God is and how great His love is, than focus on how I am hurting.
“But as for me, afflicted and in pain –
may your salvation, God, protect me.
I will praise God’s name in song and
glorify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the Lord more than an ox,
more than a bull with its horns and hooves.”
Psalm 69:29-31 (NIV)
To say I am a novice at praising through pain is probably a gross understatement. I wish I had ample advice to give and many success stories to back it up. But a glowing testimony, I do not have. I am more likely to break down and cry, than to be poised in praise.
A seed of desire has been planted in me to learn how to be quicker to turn to praising God. I know that God is a gracious caretaker of the seeds that are planted. So I trust that there are great things that will grow from this.
My dear reader, I do not know what bruises you have on your body or in your heart. I pray that God would heal the hurt and comfort you with His great love each day, especially when life bumps those bruises and we cry out, “ouch, that still hurts!”
You are a beautiful treasure and a precious gift. The bruises you have do not diminish your value or your worth one bit. Those experiences that you have lived through give you enduring wisdom and a tenderness of heart that can be a source of great compassion for others in similar situations.
Thank You for being a healer and comforter through all of our pain and bruises. Please help us to learn to praise You even when we are in pain. May our praises bring You pleasure. Please use our bruises to grant us wisdom and a tender compassion towards others.
Remind us that our value and our worth is determined by Your love for us, that we are not devalued in any way by the bumps & bruises we acquire on our life’s journey.
In the praiseworthy name of Jesus, amen.