As most of you know, I am now five days out from surgery. I’m still getting better and stronger each day. But do you know what I have had every day since surgery? Pain. Surgery hurts. I mean, they give you pain medicine and stuff, but it still hurts. But it’s better to have this pain of healing than to have pain because my body is still broken or getting sicker.
The weird thing is we all understand this process. And yet, in our spiritual lives, we want to avoid all pain. We want to take some kind of life anesthetic. We build lives according what will cause the least pain, but not according to what will help us heal. I personally want to be willing to go through whatever pain God has in store that will make me into who He wants me to be. It may not be fun, but it is good.
I have been thinking about Mary. How the birth of Christ was the fulfillment of the promise of redemption for all mankind and yet it was also another fulfillment of the disciplining of Eve: “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children” (Gen. 3:16a ESV). The birth of Christ was like every other birth in the history of the world. It was dirty, bloody, and full of pain. But in that moment was birthed hope for all. Mary’s pain enabled the rescue of mankind.
These thoughts have brought to mind my friend Matt Chandler, his family, and our friends at the Village Church. If you don’t know yet, Matt has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, has had surgery to remove most of it, and is approaching his first round of chemo/radiation. Matt is one of the most powerful preachers I know. His family is a loving example of Christ in their world. And the church is one of the strongest churches around. And yet, they are going through great pain. Every person there is suffering through this time, especially Matt and his family. Even those of us connected from afar are aching alongside them.
Looking at the story of Mary, I begin to wonder what glory God has planned to be birthed through their suffering. How does He plan to glorify Himself through their story? Because He does. And as much as my heart aches for them, I can’t help but get excited about what God might be birthing through this. What will begin this Christmas because of their pain? May I be willing to walk the path that births the most glory for Christ in this world.