Partners in Pain


by Herbert Mtowo

Ruth,Naomi and Orpah


Life has its ups and downs that’s for sure. Sometimes we can go months or years without too many major complications in our lives but eventually we all experience loss, grief, pain, or upset of some sort.I have known pain of loss,deaths,poor health,the pain of being scandalized,and I have known that pain in this journey of life. It’s not fun! Life IS full of challenges, pain, sorrow, and exhaustion. We are fighting off tigers and staring down mice all the time. In reality, I believe there is as much joy in the world as there is pain–sometimes it is just easier to see the pain.

Pain is often disruptive, uncomfortable, challenging and destructive at times, yet it is the most important pillar of personal growth.Pain is part of our life cycles as much as it is part of nature’s cycle. We need to be able to accept and deal with pain to improve ourselves and our lives. Often, this is easier said than done.

Do we welcome pain in our lives? Yes and no. The need to grow, reinvent or progress doesn’t come without challenges. It is in these challenges that we recognize we have to leave the designated comfort zone. We know change has to happen, yet we are reluctant to it because of the strangeness, unknown, discomfort or pain we are experiencing.

Change is therefore motivated by pain – not the pain we are facing when we transition to change, but the pain of staying in the same situation, accepting, knowing we cannot move forward. We don’t want things to stay the same, clearly. But which one of these pains will be less bearable?

The lesson we should all partake in life is to not resist change. As one personal development coach says, “The pain of changing now will always be less than the pain of staying the same”. It’s better to be proactive, then, and seek change before it finds us.

Such is the story of the trio, when their husbands died, Naomi, Ruth and Orpah became partners in pain. Unless you’ve been there, you can’t relate to it. It’s a fellowship that transcends age, race, background and status; it brings the oddest people together. When you’re hurting, don’t look for validation from those who haven’t walked in your shoes. People can’t give you what they don’t have. Often the best they have to offer is the kind of optimism that’s glib and quickly becomes annoying.

Until you can start to make sense of your pain and see the greater good in it, you’ll feel like a victim. But once you see God’s grace at work, and His purpose in it all, you can begin to move ahead…to marry…to have another baby…to get another job… to dream another dream…to live again. Spurgeon wrote: ‘Just as old soldiers compare stories and scars, when we arrive at our heavenly home we’ll tell of the faithfulness of God who brought us through. I wouldn’t like to be pointed out as the only one who never experienced sorrow or feel like a stranger in the midst of that sacred fellowship. Therefore, be content to share in the battle, for soon we will wear the crown.’

Giving up a familiar situation, quitting a safe-perceived but unrewarding job, breaking up a relationship that doesn’t work anymore is painful and launches our minds in a post-mortem “what ifs”. It is natural to feel that change is painful as it involves the loss of a current situation. The truth is that not changing is even more painful.

“Life is about growing. If you don’t change, you don’t grow. If you don’t grow, be prepared to feel massive amounts of pain. You see, life wants the best for us. It wants us to be the best we can be”, writes personal development coach, Dean Cunningham, in his book “Pure Wisdom”. In other words, life wants us to change and to experience the painful transition to change.

Most of us will yearn (even secretly) to change. This is either because we are already in a situation we don’t like or we want to improve aspects of our lives for the better. “If there’s no pain, there’s no impetus to change”, explains Cunningham. Although overcoming a personal challenge is frightening and uncomfortable, instead of treating it like an enemy, embrace it like a friend. It’s a golden opportunity to uncover deep, self-limiting beliefs and replace them with new self-empowering beliefs

When it feels as if all Hell has broken loose in your life, remember, Satan hasn’t snatched the steering wheel from God. No, God’s got it all worked out. Victory is born out of struggle. Be encouraged! God often accomplishes more through our pain than He does through our successes. So, hold on to His unchanging hand!

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