Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

A priest I know and respect said we should thank God for our pain.

A hard lesson to hear when experiencing any type of emotional devastation.

Sure, spiritually we believe in growth and the hardship which promotes it.

And sure, we theoretically believe it’s supposed to make us better human beings. It’s supposed to teach us deeper degrees of empathy and compassion.

It’s supposed to provide us our purpose and calling – the areas we are meant to learn and go out and invest in others to lessen their own suffering.

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The hard part is saying thank you for the pain at the exact moment you feel you can’t escape it. 

The same moment you have simultaneously been praying for it to end. 

Praying for the divine intervention to end the suffering faster.

Of course, it’s incredibly easy to look back once things are better to applaud God for giving us these lessons of impossible pain.

To acknowledge our faith and to believe absolutely every single ding and dent just made our emotional and spiritual armor stronger.

I felt like a stubborn child the moment I heard I should thank God for my pain.

I don’t want to – is all I could muster.

After all, I have been praying for what seems like an earth-born eternity. 

To have it all behind me. Not partial. All.

But I respect ‘Father Hope’ as I like to refer to him. And I said the prayer. It crept out of my mouth. Well, it limped really. And in truth, it just wasn’t that believable. I didn’t want to utter those words.

I was mad at God.

Why did the pain have to last for so long? Why did it have to creep into so many parts of my life? Why did it take so long for full resolution? Why couldn’t I have learned everything He wanted me to learn by now? Why did my children have to suffer from my mistakes?

Why wasn’t this wrapped up neatly with a big spiritual bow by now?

I uttered a few more thank you’s. Realizing that I needed to say it until it was believable. Until I truly meant it. 

And shockingly, it finally did leave my lips in a solidly believable prayer.

I thought about this again and again over the next few days.

I thanked God again and again.

It wasn’t long before something unexpected happened.

There was a shift. An emotional and a spiritual shift.

You see, when you are thanking God for pain you are no longer resisting the pain. You are no longer fighting it. You are no longer denying it.

You are surrendering to it.

You are accepting it.

And with this comes an emotional clarity.

A conversation with God that acknowledges it’s no use anguishing any longer. This is what He intended for you. You can fight the pain or…

Thank God for the pain and accept it.

Forward movement rarely happens without acceptance and clarity.

Down deep, I sensed the lesson I was supposed to learn throughout this painful experience only I resisted it.

I rationalized that I was trying to take the bad and turn it into something good. After all, I write on the topics of divorce, relationships, and more. I try to elevate awareness of financial and emotional abuse in divorce. I try to educate about the inequities of the legal system.

I try and provide an ear for those who feel isolated in these experiences.

But there was something I didn’t want to do. A topic I touched on but kept resisting. An area that was uglier than I really wanted to delve completely into. A voice that I didn’t want to be the poster child for. Yet, one which keeps surfacing in my life.

The one topic when I write about I hear from people all over the country.

Because there is no true support system for those who experience it.

When I thanked God for the pain I ultimately realized I could no longer deny why he sent it to me.

Until then, it would never be wrapped up neatly with a big spiritual bow.

Nor would I adequately be able to invest in others to lessen their own suffering.

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