In my experience as a pastor, I have an opportunity to meet with people from all walks of life. Many times, these people are coming to me with problems, or they have recognized their need for some insight on the progress of their life in a counseling setting. Through these interactions I get to peer through an invisible doorway and observe the struggles, personal convictions, and non-negotiable beliefs that each person clings to.
I love meeting with people who don’t believe the way I do. It helps to challenge me, and help me to grow in the faith that I have discovered. The faith that I claim is one that is defined by joy, redemption and sacrifice. I know I can rely on my Heavenly Father at all times, because He has proven faithful. There are many people I talk to, however, that would disagree with me about the basic pillars of my faith. Why is this? Why can’t people see the abundance that is found in Jesus?
Well, it occurred to me, as I reflected on my various meetings that many people are guided by their pain. Their beliefs, convictions, and even the lifestyles they lead are often a direct result of the pain their have experienced in their past. Many can’t call God father, because of the unforgettable abuse of their childhood. Many reject their own marriages because of past rape or abandonment. Many question who they are because of past rejection. The examples could go on and on….
What kind of life are we leading that is guided by pain? This life is often defined by fear, addiction, depression, unhealthy physical habits, promiscuity, and “attention-craving” behavior. Ultimately, people that follow this unhealthy guide simply desire to fill this void that has been cause by the slow erosion of their soul. I can’t say I blame them. There really is no hope with this type of life.
The fact is…like it or not…. Jesus directly responds to this agenda of pain. The Bible says that a life lived with Jesus is one that is defined by abundance. Pain can be neutralized through the acceptance of the pain and suffering Jesus experienced. Odd huh? Well….it’s the truth.