There’s a certain kind of pain that is welcomed. I wouldn’t go a far to say it’s enjoyed, but it’s the kind that doesn’t dredge up feelings of hopelessness or feeling helpless. It almost can make you feel powerful and confident. That pain is the kind that you have to endure through because your mind and eyes are fixed on a reward that you cannot see, feel, or touch yet. It’s something just out of reach but it’s still based in and driven by a force that you know and and are so passionate about that you cannot stop pushing through that pain to experience that reward.
This pain welcomes clinched teeth, white knuckles, bearing down and pressing in. It’s sweat, and work. and heartbreak and triumph all wrapped into a throbbing headache. Despite what we see constantly in the media, it’s not just grinding our way through a necessary evil, it’s making a choice to choose the harder thing when the easier thing is so much… well, easier!
When I think about this pain a word that comes to mind is broken. Immediately that word can give off the feeling of defeat or it all being over. I think of a horse that has to be broken of it’s own will be used for a greater purpose. I think of a star athlete who has all the talent in the world but still has to endure the breaking from coaches to refine techniques that prevent injury and bring out the greater version of what they think is already the best. I think of myself in my 13th hour of pregnancy pushing and pushing and ripping my body apart and having to mentally pull it back together every 10 seconds for the next push. It’s easy to picture why someone would push through pain for their own gain, but to me it’s far more powerful pushing through pain for the sake of others.
As much as women are warriors for childbirth, we still have the reward of seeing our child and that pain ending.
But then I think of Jesus. I think of him at the point at which he knew that he was sacrificing his life for people who would and had rejected him yet continued to endure the daily mental anguish of being misunderstood and unseen by the people the walked the closest with. I think of him enduring what to me would be crippling depression at the thought of having to die for people who hate you. I think of the gruesomeness of the cross and the choice he was making to have his body ripped apart relentlessly for no immediate reward other than to do the will of the one who sent him.
Jesus, so compelled by his love for the Father that he would endure much more than he would or could ever be paid back for by the likes of us. We think we are so good at relationships, restoration, knowing when to let people go, knowing when to walk away, we think we have so many answers but we are so often just completely wrapped up and driven with the passion we have to serve ourselves.
Brokenness, true brokenness, is not proud and does not benefit our immediate desire. Brokenness is enduring the pain and choosing the pain not for you or your benefit, but for the purpose of the one who sent you. This is why our brokenness before God matters. He can heal, restore and do incredible things when we accept him. When we choose to be broken from perceiving our will as the most important and instead live our lives as broken vessels, we can be used for a greater purpose. He will take what we know are just filthy rags and make them beautiful adornments that bring glory to the Father and even still more joy to us even though we don’t deserve it.
When all we have to give is our pain, he is faithful to use it for his glory.